April 28, 2010

Solving the Puzzle

When my brother was sick for the second time, and it didn't seem we'd have much longer with him, I spent a few weeks back home. For a while, he was up and about, but eventually it became difficult for him to leave his bed. He was still awake and alert some of the time, so we would hang out in his room, talking, reading, or watching TV. Even if he was snoozing or we weren't sure how much he was taking in, we'd sit and talk just to be near him and so he wouldn't feel isolated.

During this time, my aunt came to visit. My mom, my aunt, and I were hanging out with my brother in his room reading the newspaper, sharing the stories, especially the baseball news. He hadn't been very talkative that morning but we just kept on talking, hoping that at least the sounds of our voices would be comforting. At one point, he closed his eyes. We didn't know if he was sleeping or just blocking out some of the world for a little bit.

We started to do the crossword puzzle. My family likes to do the Sunday crossword puzzle together. We find that we can usually finish most puzzles if we work together. Usually one person starts it and another will pick it up and make some progress. Eventually it gets done. This time, we were doing the puzzle out loud. I think I was writing and reading the clues. I was filling in the ones I knew and my mom and her sister were filling in what I couldn't get. I don't remember the clue, but I was stumped and read it out loud. Without missing a beat, my brother said the answer. And of course, he was right. It was probably some obscure baseball trivia, but it could have been anything. He was smart like that.

Not sure why I'm writing about this now, but I think about this day a lot. We saw a glimpse of my brother still left despite the fact that his brain was betraying him. Sometimes I feel this way about Moe - like I catch little glimpses of his brilliance even when his senses or motor planning or who knows what is making him behave in funny ways. This time, though, it's in reverse, and we have his whole life to figure it out.

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