I remember the moment my brother grew up. It took a second, like most monumental things do. Most of the time I can remember the moment later and pin-point the change, but this time was different, because I knew exactly what was going on.
Since my brother was about fifteen, he played in a ska band. This was back when ska was wildly popular, “underground” music. He was the drummer. The band leader was a guy named Kyle. He was probably the funniest person most people had ever met.
Can I think of one funny thing he said right now? Of course not.
Anyway, the bank rocked, it was really popular in the Valley and was gaining a following in LA and San Francisco. Then, Kyle got cancer and the cancer was not going to go away. Not long after this he died by suicide.
He left a young wife and legions of fans – not just of music but of him and his life. At the funeral, people lined up to speak and share about him. My brother was up front with the band. They played their last performance. After that my brother returned to the side of the church. As he was standing there, one of the musician’s mothers crumpled in her own grief. My brother caught her.
In my mind, he went from a boy to someone who could soothe another in his grief. This was a perfect time for him to withdraw, or stiffen up but he was brave. He wasn’t putting himself aside, he was working through his own emotion and was using the raw pain he felt to care for someone else. I had seen character in him before, but I had never seen real courage.