Courage or Fear

Courage or fear? Strength or weakness? The difficult decision or the easy way out? Am I angry or am I saddened? These questions and many more have been spinning through my mind for the past week or so .

My brother,, let me correct that..My big brother Bill, made his transition to the other side last Sunday. He had been so sick for so many years, that it actually made one ache to watch him move. He was diagnosed with HepC in his early 50s, and it was thought that he had been infected for 30 years. When he was a very young man, maybe 15 or so, he had started his collection of tattoo art, and we know now that the care and cleanliness of the needles was pretty much non existent so many years go. And there came his introduction to the virus.

He was on the transplant list and actually called a couple of times but for one medical reason or another, he was always sent home. The doctors told him he was about one month away from death, and the talk of a living donor began to surface. It wasn't the prime choice for someone as sick as Bill, and it would be difficult to find someone with his rare blood type, but it sounded more appealing than the alternative. After a frustrating, lengthy search, it was looking like this was not meant to be...until the barriers that were blocking the way for my sister to donate 2/3rds of her liver were removed, and her pretesting that had been completed was found to have an error, the gates opened and a successful living transplant was completed in 2001. He had some very good quality of life until about 2 tears ago...and then the hepc was back and attacking the newly rejuvenated liver with a vengeance. Of course, we were devestated! How could this be happening? What would we do? As we began to realize that this was now out of our hands, it was my brother who comforted us and helped us to come to terms with what the future would bring.

So, the last couple of years have been at times, some of the happiest we had together as a family, and at times some of the saddest. My brother had always been open and honest about his future. He was proud, and dignified and had always said that when the time came that he could no longer take care of himself, that euthanasia was the way he would go. So on May 30th, he took all the morphine he had stashed and set into action what was inevitable in it's outcome. He gave up the good fight on June 1st, quietly passing over with the pride and dignity that was so much his character. His wife ws holding him,and his kids, and brother and sisters were there gathered around him to help him with his journey and to say goodbye to his physical being.

He was cremated and yesterday was his memorial service. No wake, no funeral. These were his decisions. He didn't want sadness, he wanted celebration.

But now, the activities of the past crazy, busy week have subsided and a quiet has settled in that at times is disarming. The questions that I began this blog with are rolling through my mind. At times I am so sad he is gone but so relieved that he hurts no more. At times I am so angry he didn't fight harder and stay around longer , but so happy he doesn't have to fight anymore and so happy that he loved us that much to save us from seeing him hurt anymore. There are times when I think he took the easy way out and times when i admirehow brave he was to know when enough was enough.

So my big brother has passed on, and his little sister sits on this physical side with the same dilemma. The Hepc virus is killing my liver,and I know my brother, Bill is looking over me and reminding me of the lessons we learned from him. William M. Bruckshaw, Jr. R.I.P 5/27/1947-06/01/2008




Hi Julie - I'm missing him so and typed in his name on the internet and up popped your blog. I hope you're doing okay and your mind is now at peace knowing that Billy is not dealing with the crap he had to deal with daily. The holidays are so different without him, even with family and friends around there is still so much "missing".

I know how hard life is for you, you deal with your own pain too! This fight is not easy.

I wish I had seen this blog earlier, there is no doubt in my mind that "fear" and "weakness" were never part of Billy's vocabularyor thoughts. He was the most courageous human being I've ever known. I watched him every day, I knew the pain he dealt with from various medication that kept him alive, and even more pain from bone deterioration. I would challenge anyone that would consider him as someone who "gave up" to just try for one week what he went through for ten years, and see just how much they would be able to take.

It helps to remember that Billy would expect nothing less from us than to live our lives and to be as happy as we can be. Remember him when he was healthy, remember the good times. I know that when I cry, it is a selfish thing. I cry because he was taken from me too soon, 28 years was not enough! But I am also thankful because we had more fun and shared more love than most people do in an entire lifetime . . . I cry when I think of how he struggled through his pain to spend another day with me. I cry for myself because I miss his wit, his smile and his arms around me. We will go on, for how much longer - who knows? I am not afraid of dying at all. I know he is waiting for me, I know how much I love him and accept the fact that he will always be in my heart even though I may live a very long time without him. Someday we will be together again.

Billy's passing has made me really look at life and death in a different light. He has taught me so much over the years and he continues to teach me. We did learn lessons from him, he was such a man! He made me strong, because he was strong.

His body was broken, but his spirit is indestructable. I am at peace knowing he is not in pain.

Happy Holidays!


 It's been almost a month since I had written this blog, and it's pretty amazing how my feelings have come and gone thru so many transitions.

 But I want to take care of some basics first> To everyone thank you so much for your kind thoughts. If you notice the one post by me where it says the stupid thing "of all the things I miss...", well, I had written a thank you much like the one here. I don't know what happened to it and I am so sorry if I seemed cavalier and unappreciative because of that.

And, Tuna, This is the first that I've seen that post from you. I'll be checking out that link. Thanks again.

well, that's it for now...catch you on the rebound...juliek

julie, honey, i had no idea...i am so sorry...i feel your is so difficult to lose an immediate family member...and it amazes me that you continue to be one of the brightest lights, and sweetest people on this site...i applaud you and your strength hun.... :)

i was reading the paper yesterday and came across an article by the American Liver Foundation - "Hepatitis C First Steps", of which has received several grants from the Roche Corporation. the ad was gemane to the American Liver Foundation "Chapter" in my area, however, i am providing the link here for you to check out the New England Chapter, which is closest to where you are. i hope it is of some value to you and a good resource to assist in fighting and winning this illness.


Tuna ><((((*> the other white meat! I am Keeper Of The Whip!

JulieK, I'm so sorry to hear of your loss. I know you're a fighting chickadee. Keep fighting. Bill's watching over you helping you along the way.

Be yourself...... Everyone else is taken!

of all the things i've lost, i miss my mind the most

Be strong Julie. In the end, only YOU will decide what the right way for YOU is- just like your brother did. I understand your feelings (was it the easy way out, or something really hard to do?) None of us really knows the answer. All you can do now is treasure the time you still have, and use it the best you can.


Wow Julie.. you're going through a lot.  I'm sorry all this has happened.  Please hang tight and take care of yourself.

I'm so sorry for your loss, Julie. I truly hope for the best for you and your family. It's always hard to deal with the loss of a loved one. I also agree with Tuna--fight your sickness. Your brother would want that for you.

I am so sorry Julie. All these feelings you are'll work your way through them in your own time.

I sat here reading and when I got to the part of everyone gathered around to be with him.....I just want to say that it was nice to read that and very nice of you to share something so precious and so private.

Get what good rest you can, keep your strength up, don't let him down. Hugs.



If I was standing on a fish, I'd slip and fall......

juliek, be the little sister that could fight it and win it. sounds like Bill would have encouraged you to do the same. do it for you, do it for your kids, your family, your friends....and because you can! Bill's willingness to throw in the towel should be incentive enough for you doll. do it. win it.

Tuna ><((((*> the other white meat! I am Keeper Of The Whip!

Man, I'm sorry to hear this. So, you have Hep C as well? If so, my dad had Hep C and he now tests negative every year. He was given Interferon which was physically Hell. He had to be on antidepressants and had tons of adverse reactions to the treatment. Bottom line though is he is cured. Maybe this won't be right for you. I don't know, I just wanted you to know there might be a choice. Take care of your self.  

"I'm just like you only shorter."


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