Cancer Found Billy
Scorpio. That is my birth sign. Said to be stubborn, vindictive, spiteful, unforgiving and revengeful, by any professional astrologist, Scorpios are mostly known for their sting. As I do find this a rather accurate account of my personality, I still have difficulty believing that I became this way due to the month of my birth. After all, my brothers share many of these same traits and they were both born in February.
Would I be this way if I had grown up differently, would my brothers? Do children born in February and November all have parents that screwed up? These are questions that constantly roam around in my mind. I’m sure my brother’s have these kinds of questions too, or had in Billy’s case. He died from cancer when he was 33 years old.
Billy was troubled by his upbringing. Of course the cruelty affected him in irreversible ways, but I think always being the poorest family in town affected him even more.
Billy was the over achiever of our family, Billy was actually the only achiever of our family. For as long as I can remember his two major goals in life were to become a millionaire by age 30 and to escape the beast whom Billy so affectionately referred to as white trash. In every instance of his very short but very successful life, then end product was always on his mind – this nearly always meant more money. The thought of having more and more money ruled his life and he had his first success at age 18. I am almost certain it was close to the actual day he turned 18 when my big brother escaped. Billy left the beast and never returned home again.
As heartbroken as I am that he is gone, in the six months that Billy lived with the sickness that would forever change the lives of all who knew him, my brother achieved a goal that had long been set for him by his sister. Along with a new perspective on what is truly important in life, cancer brought a certain contentment into my brothers life. A contentment he had never experienced before and I believe never would have had it not been for this rapid turn of events. Terminal cancer brought him happiness with his loving wife Barb who would have always done anything for Billy, for which he never appreciated until she became his care taker, his lover and his best friend.
Barb is a nurse and Billy hated do-gooders and especially couldn’t understand why his wife would want to work long hard hours for such a small amount of money. He just couldn’t understand.
Until he got sick.
Billy was at the mercy of nurses and he had the most wonderful nurses that could be had. Altruism was a sign of weakness to my brother, but it is this weakness that became his greatest strength as he allowed these kind and caring people to enter his world. He learned that to be a nurse was not about money, it was about people. Most of all Billy finally let Barb love him the way she always did anyway, but now he allowed his heart and body to experience it in a way he never could. And he loved her back…in a way that he never would.
In those last months of his life my brother finally felt love. I mean he really felt love. He allowed himself to give in to the weakness of being loved and being cared for. See, for me and Billy, giving in to love means opening yourself up for pain, and emotional pain is far more dangerous then the physical anguish caused by his cancer. And if cancer brought Billy this feeling – finally – after years of feeling unworthy, then I am happy for it.
Billy died a millionaire, Billy died free from the beast but most of all Billy died with love in his heart. Money could never buy this love and Billy knew it.
I have never felt this love. I came close once, but my lover was human and made mistakes and I couldn’t get over it. I have never allowed myself to fully give in to the vulnerability of love. I will always feel the void of that loss.
I was so close.