Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Love Link

I recently posted a photo of my childhood home in Hull, Massachusetts, which was taken by eminent domain and burned to the ground to make way for a town sewage plant. Several people who loved that house as much as I did left comments. I also got this comment from a blogger friend, “I didn't realize that so many of your readers are your siblings. I'm a little jealous.”

“Well, there were 9 of us. So the odds of me getting some of my siblings to my blog are pretty good,” I told her. But the real reason more than half of my siblings and niece have been to my blog is probably because of something called “The LoveLink.” Let me explain…

After my brother Jimmy died unexpectedly 4 years ago, my brother Dan’s health, which was compromised by a liver disease, deteriorated rapidly. Because our family was still recovering from the shock of Jimmy’s death, a childhood friend of Dan’s flew with him back to Houston, where Danny had been living for the previous 22 years. He wanted to go home for “closure,” he told us.

He only got to spend part of one night in his own bed, before being transported to the hospital, where he remained for the next 2 weeks, until his death. Since it was looking pretty serious for Dan, one of us had fly to Houston to be with him. I volunteered. It wasn’t long before the doctor gave me Dan’s shocking prognosis and I called my sister, Kathy, to say, “Come now. I need you.”

In the weeks that my sister and I lived at Dan’s apartment, my mother came and left and my sister-in law, a hospice nurse, came just days before Dan passed. It was during this time that the LoveLink, an e-mail group consisting of mostly family members and a few Redman family fans, began. Each night, Kathy or I would type the day’s events and news about Dan to the group, who were hanging on our every word. It was actually called “The Sister Group” back then. I’m not sure why, because the brothers were online too. Maybe it was called “The Sister Group” because the sisters in my family are either more talkative than the brothers or they type faster.

After Dan died, I typed my last wrenching post to the group…For those of you who don’t already know, we lost our precious Dan today…and the e-mail group ended.

Just weeks after Dan died, the twin towers in New York came down. My niece, who also lived in Virginia, revived the e-mail group under the new name of VA/MA LoveLink so that we could keep each other updated on changing world events. Since that date, nearly 4 years ago, we haven’t missed a day posting something…political, personal, or comical… to each other on the LoveLink. Because Jim and Dan were online before they died, I can’t even bring myself delete my siblings e-mails, knowing how much Jim and Dan’s e-mails meant to me after the died, and fearing another loss.

I started blogging only recently, in March of 2004. I wanted my siblings to participate in my blog from day one, but it took time. Except for my sister, Kathy, who has her own blog, most didn’t completely understand the nature of blogging. I cut and pasted each day’s entry and sent it to the LoveLink… until slowly and occasionally some of them came to my site and even left comments.

It means the world to me when they do.

To read more of my family story you can go to my silver and gold website, which is dedicated to my brothers.

This post was originally published on on June 17, 2005.

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