Sunday night, as my brother was leaving, after we did our not-so-secret handshake (inspired by a photo of Grandma Rose from the early 60s), he said: thanks for the kidney. I said: thanks for the chocolate cake.
And that was that.
(a quick tangent - the chocolate cake was from vegan treats and was outrageously delicious)
It was the first time we'd seen each other since I left the hospital. It was also my birthday and father's day. To celebrate we had dinner up on my building's roof as the sun set.
My brother and I are exceedingly low key. There's almost no gushing or emotional monologues or mush. We've always been like that. It comes from him. I, if you haven't noticed, can be over the top in many ways. He's far more pragmatic.
As he first walked out of the elevator though, it was hard not to burst into tears.
He looked so good. The dark smudges that had permanently moved in under his eyes were gone. His eyes themselves were brighter. His skin had a healthy glow. He even seemed to be standing up taller.
As we sat upstairs, chatting away, every once in awhile the reality of what we'd just gone through sank in.
Less than 2 weeks after surgery, there we were, hanging out, my former kidney hard at work - not to mention doing an amazing job - beneath the gauze bandages traversing his abdomen.
When you sit back for a moment and think about it, it's amazing. Beyond amazing. Ridiculous. Impossible. Far-fetched to the point of fiction. Only it's real.
He handed me a snapshot of a sonogram. He'd asked for a copy for me the last time he'd been to the doctor. And there was Sidney in his new home.
The enormity of it all hasn't sunk in yet. I'm tired, more tired than I've ever been. There's much healing still to be done and my patience has left the building. It's not easy for me to take it easy. I get down on myself for not feeling better, being farther along the road to well.
But, I'll get there. And as I continue to feel better, the reality is starting to seep in that I did an amazing thing. That I'm stronger than I ever gave myself credit for. And that what I did changed my brother's life. In a truly profound way.