For the past several weeks, my Mom's older brother has been very ill, and after a lot of debate, she finally decided to fly to Kerala, India to see him today. The reason for the back and forth is because she undergoes injections once a week to treat her many allergies, which include dust and other airborne allergens. My Uncle has the same type of condition, and never had injections or any other similar treatment; this most likely contributed to his current condition. Mom told me that when she visited him last fall, both of them coughed so much that they sometimes did so in unison; one of their hired drivers even commented on this during a day trip he accompanied them on. Now, my Uncle is in the hospital, and my Mom is risking some of the progress she has made with her health so far to visit him in India, especially during the monsoon season. I know that she must go see him now, in spite of the obstacles.
Mom has always told me that her older brother helped and guided her when their own parents were unable to do so. He has a wonderful combination of compassion and intelligence, which my Mom and so many other people admire and respect him for. When they were younger, my Mom and her older brother were lucky enough to live together when they had to move to their uncle's house. Living in that environment was very difficult, but they relied on each other for support, love and friendship, especially during their darkest days. Mom remembers him walking hand in hand with her to church when she was three and a half years old, playing hide and seek in a rubber tree forest when she was six, and standing up to their father when she wanted to become a nurse (rather than a nun or a wife) at the age of seventeen. My Uncle is more than just her older brother; he is her hero, advocate, and dearest friend. I really admire their relationship, because it is special and beautiful.
My Uncle has always had a talent for writing, which is where I think I got my interest from. There is definitely something to be said about hereditary influences, especially since I don't know him as well as I would like to. The few times I have been lucky enough to visit him were great, because he is one of a handful of relatives from my parents' generation who speaks English very well. When I met him as an adult, I noticed how his eyes would light up every time he talked about my Mom, or was in her presence. They have had some ups and downs of course, but the love and respect they have for one another is stronger and more deep-rooted. Thousands of miles have kept them physically apart for long periods of time, but their relationship remains in tact. So while I am a little concerned about my Mom going to India because of her health issues, I know that there is no way she can stay away from her brother during his present crisis. He is a lovely human being with a great intellect, who also happens to be one of my Mom's greatest influences. For that, and so many other things, I am forever grateful.