June 2015 Editor's Letter

Happy June, BuckHaven

Men, men, men.

Brothers, fathers, uncles, grandfathers, husbands, boyfriends, friends who are boys. Sons.

I love them all.

I have four brothers. Three now. We lost one to AIDS in the 90s, when so many families lost men.

My brothers teased me, coddled me and ignored me. They pushed me out of their rooms when their friends came over. Then, they pulled me into their laps and wrapped their arms around me at the end of the day. When they went away to college, I would sit on the porch steps waiting for them to pull into the driveway, running to them for a homecoming hug.

During this past year, my mother’s Parkinson’s enveloped her and consumed her. My brothers, sister and I became caregivers, her tight team of guardians. We were a board of directors, working together to guide her (and each other) through months of doctor appointments, a maze of medication changes, and storms of emotions that could have easily ripped us apart.

Instead, her life’s challenges brought us together. I began to see my brothers as intelligent, thoughtful, thorough and assertive men. They each filled an important role on our care team. One excelled at organizing finances and corresponding with lawyers and banks, reassuring mom that everything was taken care of. He was an absolute champion. One was a guardian angel, pulling mom out of despair and pain with the sound of his voice and confident (but never condescending) bedside visits and late-night phone conversations. One brought sweets and thoughtful photos of family, keeping her grounded with stories of grandchildren, northern Michigan and music. These men were a finely tuned trio that kept our mom humming with quiet efficiency, hard work and ever-present warmth. I now know these men will always be my team. They more than just brothers. They are men of action. And, luckily, still the best huggers on God’s green earth.

This month, hug your brother, father, son, partner, champion every day.