Rethinking Who Shall Live and Who Shall Die

September 24th, 2012

The full version of this post is available on the Jewish parenting website, Click through to read the whole thing.

In 2006, my 35-year-old stepbrother was diagnosed with advanced metastatic prostate cancer. Jeremy faced his disease with tremendous grace and humor.

He died less than two years later.

His death was devastating for me. Although we had different biological parents, we became brother and sister when we were both just 2 years old. Only three months separated us, and some of my fondest childhood memories involve our make believe games and mischief together.



When Jer was hospitalized leading up to his diagnosis, I went to see him. For a few months prior to that, we had argued about something trivial. I wanted to tell him how silly the whole thing was and ask his forgiveness. Tearfully, I apologized.

With my arms around him, my voice shaking, I said, “I just need you to know this. I am me because you are you.”

“Me too,” he said, and gave me a squeeze.

This moment was bookended by another heart-to-heart exchange that happened right before he died. This time, Jeremy, frail and in pain, initiated the conversation.

He spoke slowly. “I want you to know what you have meant to me. When I think of you, I think of comfort, acceptance, and love.”

My grief was great when he died.

Read the rest here…

This entry was posted on Monday, September 24th, 2012 at 11:46 am and is filed under End of Life, Survivorship. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

3 Responses to “Rethinking Who Shall Live and Who Shall Die”

  1. Larua
    September 24, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    I have a sister-in-spirit of 39 years, and we too have been lucky enough to know the “I am me because you are you,” feeling. I am so sorry for your loss.

  2. September 25, 2012 at 5:46 pm

    I tried to leave a comment on the Kveller site, but was unsuccessful.

    Beautiful post Lani. Your poignant words and the death of your brother and your breast cancer moved me to tears. I hate the who will live and who will die part of the Rosh Hashanah service. Truth is, who lives and who dies is determined by randomness.

  3. September 28, 2012 at 7:28 pm


Leave a Reply

Allowed tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>