One of us

My brother Greg

has died.

the telephone shrill

burst into our bedroom

me on my back groggy

leapt out leg over the edge

knew

have known for weeks

this was going to happen very soon

Young Boon’s wailing

“he won’t wake up”

sobbing “what should I do?”

and me, the only one she could reach

dumbfounded

for once

unable to offer advice

go in there and sit next to him,

i managed,

tell him you love him

he might be able to hear you.


The string of atoms

obligingly synchronized

the unique

him

gathered since his

springing into being

inside my mother

have now begun to scatter

to take on new identities

different bosses

to gather for and form up

and constitute.

My  heart pounds

his brain dead

his girls, 12 and 14 and 19

Michelle and Kristina and Jenn, numb

RIP Daddy, I love you, they write

while particles

which have existed

since unfathomable billions

morph

emotionless again.

Tom gave me a phone number

Lynn hung up on me

Anthony called

Christopher cried

Phillip thanked me for caring

Jaisan his first daughter, wise, graceful, spoke

Bernadette and I, we had a conversation

Mary left

I sit here

understanding just how much I can’t pick up the phone

and hear his voice.

Thursday he sounded so tired

so confused

he was driving his girls home from school (!)

when he should have been in bed

he soldiered on

like the failure of his organs

was a temporary

painful, inconvenience

i know he hoped

however well he hid it

that

someday

one of us

would  give him

one of our 23 kidneys

he’s our brother, after all

Easy to say,

I’m a Type A; he’s an O

we don’t all match

but now

there’s only 13 of us left

us kids

we let him go

let him

die

squandered that generous chance

which would have stretched us

stronger, closer

he’s silent

all I can do is make sure

in my heart

that it never happen again

Gregory Paul Hicks

let me say his name

All 14 of us, at our father's funeral

5 thoughts on “One of us

  1. Aggie Sanders

    Beautifully chosen words paint the picture that helps me understand, and I cry with you.

  2. Caitlin Hicks

    Thank you Natalie. We are back now and it’s just sinking in. I hope you will call on the girls and Young Boon often. I am a theatre artist myself (www.fatsalmon.ca) and I know how rich the experience is. Wish the girls could continue in it. I live too far to be able to help on a daily basis. The gathering of family, the funeral, the rosary – it was great to get together.

  3. Natalie Stevens

    Caitlin

    I am so sorry for your loss. I have been around Gregg and the girls for so many years now at CMT. He always wanted to be involved no matter what was going on health wise. He was a well known fixture around the theater
    and he will be missed so much. My prayers are with your family and with his beautiful girls.
    Natalie Stevens
    PA Board Member CMTSJ

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