Two brothers sat in their parents’ bedroom, one on the floor, the other on the bed; brothers close in age, yet divided by hundreds of miles, and a lifetime of dissension. Arguments, jealously, and friction had stuffed any brotherly bond somewhere into the darkest recesses of their emotional closets.
Absence for them had not made their hearts grow fonder. But rather, had caused siblings to become acquaintances, divided by an arctic tundra of mutual silence. Too many “I’m sorrys” never said, resentments left to fester, and unresolved insecurities, caused the rift between brothers to grow with each passing year. But they now sat in their parents’ bedroom, brought together by the common bond of grief, and desire to help their father.
The contents of their mother’s overflowing “keepsake” drawer lay heaped around them. A lifetime of memories, or junk, depending on the person’s outlook; at this point the brothers leaned toward junk.
“Really Mom?” Aaron, the older brother piped up, “How many pair of old glasses did you need? Junk.” Aaron tossed five pair of old glasses into the discard pile, still shaking his head.
“She must have saved every box that jewelry came in,” younger brother Caleb added, “there’s four here and more in your stuff.” Caleb tossed them in the growing discard pile, “I wish we could just dump the whole drawer.”
“We can’t. It’s important to Dad,” Aaron answered tossing old cell manuals into the pile, “Seriously Mom, they’re useless,” He chided his mother as if she were sitting beside him.
“Aaron,” Caleb said, as he unfolded a note written on lined paper, “This is from you to Mom.” Caleb handed Aaron the handwritten note then continued sorting.
Aaron read the note silently, “Mom, I’m sorry I was bad today. I’m really sorry and I’ll try harder. I love you, Aaron,” He vaguely remembered the day, “I can’t believe she kept it.”
“There’s more,” Caleb announced, holding a small stack of envelopes, “it looks like she saved everything you ever sent her. Here’re a couple letters from camp, and some from when you were in Basic training.”
Caleb handed the stack to his brother, wondering why the drawer held nothing from him to their mother. His old insecurities clawed to the surface. She really did love Aaron more, he thought, clenching his jaw, probably threw out anything I gave her. Watching his brother read one note after another only served to feed his bitterness.
“Ya gonna spend all day reading those?” Caleb attacked.
“Hey, what’s your problem?”
“I don’t feel like watching you read those stupid things, that’s all” Caleb shot back.
“What the…Fine, I’ll read `em later.” Aaron’s voice was low, the hurt evident.
A cold silence fell over the room. Both brothers buried themselves into the task at hand, trying to ignore the other. But there was something in the room more powerful than the bitterness and hurt that ensnared the brothers--their mother’s undying love.
Aaron grabbed a stack of cards his mother had saved and began flipping them open. Birthday, Anniversary, Christmas, Mother’s Day; she saved them all. He read one card after another, all signed by people she loved and wanted to remember.
Aaron glanced up at his brother and smiled, “Caleb, you need to see these,” he held a stack of cards toward him.
“Throw `em out,” Caleb barely glanced at his brother’s extended hand.
“Just read `em would ya.”
“Whatever,” Caleb grabbed the cards and opened the first one-hesitated-then opened the others, all signed, “Love Caleb.”
“She loved us both Caleb,” Aaron stood up and walked to the bed, “there’s only a couple cards from me, but look at all the one’s from you.” He sat beside his brother.
“ But she’s always seemed so proud of you, always talked about you,” Caleb whispered.
“I was gone,” Aaron picked up a card and read the words Caleb had written, “I joined the Air-Force but you were here. I sent a few notes, but I called or text for holidays, you gave her cards. And she saved `em all.”
“Yeah, she did,” Caleb wiped a tear from his eye.
Neither son saw their father standing in the doorway, or the gentle smile on his aged face. A gentle breeze kissed his moist cheek, “God heard your prayers Sarah.”
Two brothers sat together on their parents’ bed amidst treasures of a mother’s eternal love, as the arctic tundra and their hardened hearts melted.
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