This is a good story.

I have a story to tell you.

It’s kind of two parts that eventually come together.

Here is the first part…

I have recently reconnected with an old friend from high school.

We weren’t particularly close friends back then. He’s two years younger than me, and actually better friends with my brother who was in his class.

But I went to a small high school that had about 600 kids total in it, so everyone knew just about everyone.

Like with most people from high school, I had no contact with him once I graduated until we became Facebook friends a couple years ago.

He’s married now, and he has three boys, and he lives down south.

But just as he was in high school, at least from what I see on his Facebook posts, he’s still a funny, down to earth, regular dude who also happens to have a very positive outlook on life.

Oh. And he loves bacon.

And just like the rest of us, he’s navigating the ups and downs of marriage and parenthood. Similar to me, he’s also gone through a bit of a transformation and has made exercise a part of his routine, and he has inspired many people with his outlook on life.

So once in a blue moon he’ll comment on a blog post I write.

In fact, he was the inspiration for the your husband wants respect post I wrote after he left a comment on my marriage is f*cking hard post.

Anyway, his name is Renick.  And a couple days ago Renick messaged me because he’s been throwing around the idea of starting his own blog.

Because, like I said, he’s got a good sense of humor and he’s not afraid to be vulnerable and he inspires people with his outlook on life and he’s a genuinely kind and likeable guy.

So I shared some of my thoughts with him.

Then I asked him if he’d like to have some help getting started with his blog by being a regular contributor here at Not Your Average Mom. Writing a weekly post from the male perspective.

He accepted the offer immediately.

‘m excited to announce that I will have a new contributor here!

I really think you are going to like him.

After Renick jumped on the bandwagon, we talked about some other stuff, and I told him once his website was set up, I’d share it with everyone.

And I also told him I had a story about him that I’d like to share, and that once his site was ready to go, I’d share it with him. And everyone.

I told him I didn’t think he was aware of this story at all.

He probably has no recollection of it, because like I said, we weren’t BFFs or anything in high school.

Which brings me to the second part of the story.

When I was in eighth grade, my mom had a “surprise” baby.

I was thirteen years old, and my younger brother. the one who graduated with Renick, was eleven.

My brother and I were both excited to have a baby brother.

He was born on December 2, 1982.

In the spring of 1984, when my baby brother was about 18 months old, he was diagnosed with leukemia.

Over the course of the next year, he underwent pretty intensive treatment. He got very sick at one point and had to have ileostomy surgery. That’s when they cut a hole in your abdomen and the lower part of your small intestine is brought through that opening, and you have a bag on the outside of your body that collects your poop.

So he had multiple rounds of chemo and also radiation and surgery and then he thankfully went into remission.

But he relapsed shortly after that, and the only remaining option at that point was a bone marrow transplant.

And so shortly before the summer of 1985 when my brother was two-and-a-half, my parents took him out to Seattle for a bone marrow transplant, and my other brother and I stayed back in CT. He was going to be out there for about four months.

During that time, we lived at a friend’s house for a month or so, and then when we started to drive her mom insane, we stayed at our house with my grandparents and then when they started to drive my brother and I insane, my dad came back to stay with us until the school year was over.

When school was done my dad, my brother and I all flew out to Seattle until my  baby brother was given the green light to come home.

He stayed in remission until October of that year when he relapsed again. And at that point, there was nothing that could be done except to wait.

On December 2, 1985 my baby brother turned 3.

And then two weeks later, on December 16, my baby brother died at home in my parents’ bed.

It was a really fucked up time for me.

For all of us.

It was so traumatic that my memories of that eighteen month period from the time my little brother was diagnosed to the time he died are very limited.

I’ve blocked a lot of what happened during that time period out.

And I’m left with very vivid memories of specific snapshots in time.

I remember the sound my dad made the moment my brother died. I will never ever forget it.

I remember sitting on the floor of my bedroom with my younger brother, and him looking at me at the moment we heard my father and him saying to me,

“He’s dead.”

I remember watching the mortician’s car pulling out of our driveway with my dead brother inside his car.

I remember not crying at the funeral and feeling terrible because of it.

And then, the next vivid memory I have was returning to school.

I don’t remember what day it was exactly, but I know it was before Christmas.

I remember because my parents had told us we could stay out of school until after vacation, but I remember just wanting to get back to something normal.

Even if it was only for a couple days.

And I remember entering the building and walking down the hallway, and the first person I saw was Renick.

Everyone knew what had happened.

When Renick saw me, he just stopped in the middle of the hallway.

And then he opened his arms.

I walked straight toward him, leaned into him, and he gave me a huge hug.

I stayed there until I was ready for him to let go.

He released me, and I walked one way and he walked the other way.

He didn’t say anything, and neither did I.

It was a pretty special moment for me. Literally unforgettable.

And it’s the first comforting memory I have from that period in my life.

Every single time I see anything from Renick on Facebook, that’s exactly what I think of.

Every time.

That hug in the high school hallway.

So there you go, Renick.

There’s the story I wanted to share with you.

Maybe I should have shared this with you earlier.

Years ago.

But I don’t think so.

I’ve got some weird Universe-type stuff going on with me these days, and I believe this was the time it was meant to be shared.

And even though I don’t know you really well, there has always been something very kind and gentle and comforting to me about you.

So I’m honored to have you here.

I look forward to working with you.

I look forward to getting to know you much better.

And I’m looking forward to everyone else getting to know you better too.

Please check out and like Renick’s Facebook page — The Renick Morris Project — and  bookmark renickmorris.com, where he’s going to talk about bacon, football, being a Dad, marriage, being awesome, growing up, lifting weights, getting healthy, making mistakes, failing and just enjoying the time we have here.

Because I think we could all use a little Renick in our lives.

 

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6 replies
  1. Beth
    Beth says:

    My first memory of returning to work after my dad died was a friend/co-worker seeing me as I walked through the door and giving me a hug. When I told his wife years later, she was shocked at his sensitivity. Ironically, today would have been my dad’s 71st birthday.

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