My brother Andrew

I read this article last week in the Times that began:

In the world of social media, we are our own self-portraitists. Our digital identity is doctored to show the best version of our lives. (Maybe a more apt name for Facebook would have been “Best Face” book.) It’s not a new observation to point out the disparities between our online identities and our real selves, but for me, as a cancer patient, that gap has never felt larger.

If you had visited my Facebook profile last June, you would have found pictures of a smiling 22-year-old girl with long, wavy hair. She’s exploring the streets of Paris with a chubby King Charles spaniel named Chopin; eating tiramisù with her boyfriend Seamus at a cafe in the Marais district; having sunset picnics along the Seine with friends after work. This was a happy, successful, carefree person. On Facebook, aren’t we all?

What most of my Facebook friends couldn’t have known was that this young woman no longer existed.

The article went onto talk about how she eventually owned up online to her cancer and how supportive the online community became.

Last Friday at 1:00 I spoke to my younger brother Andrew, who lives in Boulder.   I told him I was planning a long layover in Denver so we could get together. I want to be sure he was available.   He said that would be great.  He had broken up with his girlfriend that morning, and would be really happy to see me.

I then went back to work.   Two hours later, my phone rang during a conference call I was on.  I saw it was my brother's phone, handed it to Stephie and asked her to answer it.   A couple of minutes later I was off my call, and Stephie was standing in the doorway in shock.  "George....Andrew has had a heart attack."

Several hours later I was in the Denver airport waiting for my mother.   Around 10 we were at my brother's bedside.   We have been here ever since.

I have learned more about my brother in the past few days than I ever would have been allowed to know.  So many friends - many claiming Andrew was their best friend, many not even knowing eachother - have gathered around us.  With love.  With such caring touch.  Many of his friends are caregivers, healers -his cranial sacral practitioner friend Lisa who had worked on Andrew, and he on her many times.   Lisa was the person Andrew called when he was feeling so sick. The person who began CPR right away, and if he survives, the one who will have saved his life.

I had been thinking alot recently about how much I crave community in the real world.  How much I need my family and friends to be a part of my real life.  I loathe birthday wishes on Facebook - they are ten steps beneath a Hallmark card.   I need real hugs.   Big loud dinner tables.  Conversations that interrupt each other.  I need every kid in the neighborhood running in the front door, out the back and all around.

I was not wanting to write anything here.  I appreciate wishes from afar, but I really need to feel the love.   I write here all the time, but rarely  know if anyone is even reading it.   I  know that all the relationships in your life go through phases.  Near and far.   Close and away.  That virtual relationships in the mix have meaning, too.   I write as personal as I can, but who am I writing for?

Right at this moment, I am just focusing on my brother in this room in Boulder.  He is laying, breathing - but no purposeful movement.  No perceivable brain function.   Miles Davis is playing.  The warm sun is filtering in. He is laying peacefully.  We don't give up hope - the science and the spiritual are both trying to bring him back.  His close friend Sharon Gannon flew in from Woodstock last night and brought a whole other energy with her that is so beautiful and comforting to all of us.   Jeni's Splendid are sending ice cream for the remarkable nurses today.

I invite you to follow me where I been writing on a blog we set up here:

Love and prayers are all welcome.

Love to all,


Boulder, CO   May 22,2012