My brother was a year and nine months older than I was. According to my parents he was supposed to be my playmate and my protector. He considered me nothing more than his pesky younger sister whom he could blame whenever we got into trouble with the parents.
There were times his protective, big brother nature did prevail and he would rescue me from boyfriends who did not know how to take no for an answer, and I, in turn covered for him with our old-fashioned, unhip parents.
People often thought I was the oldest. He was always so youthful looking and so handsome. I looked mature at the age of twelve and never outgrew my bossiness.
He went off to Vietnam and I went to college and that was where our paths started to go separate ways. We both married within two years of each other.
His life was fraught with pain, the after effects of Agent Orange and PTSD. He went through three marriages and struggled to win back the affection of his two sons. My life was full with two divorces, a career, and three, amazing and forgiving children.
We resembled each other the most, even physically, so when he was diagnosed with Diabetes, I knew it would soon show up in my make up as well. His was more severe. Like my mother and my other three siblings, he went straight into pills and injections, but from the very start, he stubbornly refused to care for himself. He had always been thin, so maybe he thought it would not affect him as much.
He went into a diabetic coma and died on December 26, 2012. He was 64 years old and nine months old, and at the end of this month (October 2014), I will reach the same age - 64 years old and nine months. It still surprises me that he is gone. He was my protector, my front line between me and mortality.
I will officially become the oldest among my siblings, but I would rather have my brother.