Down the Road Alone

Utah HighwayI’m lucky. I’m surrounded by beauty and cradled in love. At night the only sound is…nothing. Maybe a whippoorwill or the soft hooting of an owl. The air I breathe smells of warmth and earth and on certain days an indefinable “green.” I have a partner who supports me, makes me laugh and forgives my irritable moments, indulges my silliness and my crazy, roving need to create Something. My time is my own. Our animal companion brims with joy and energy and I can feel his love for us in every wiggle and every wet slurp. I am healthy and strong. I think, “Life is beautiful.”

But then I remember that I am heading down an unfamiliar road. A road which we will all one day take. If we can, we take the journey for as long as possible with someone at our side, but at a certain point, we go on alone. And then I think, “Life is hard.”

I’m traveling that road with my beloved brother. My friend. This time, I am the companion and he will continue on alone. I will walk beside him for as long as I can, for as long as it takes. I don’t want him to go, but I can do nothing to keep him here.

During this time I will be mostly absent from this blog and from the connections I’ve made here. Undoubtedly, I will from time to time come around to my blogging friends to feel the warmth and companionship that has been a bright spot in the past hard, heartbreaking year.

There is a road, no simple highway,
Between the dawn and the dark of night,
And if you go no one may follow,
That path is for your steps alone.
– “Ripple,” The Grateful Dead

(The photograph above was taken during a road trip I took with my brother in September 2011. A lonely highway that crosses Utah, through a salt flat. Our trip followed a 10k race we’ve done together for the past three years. For a long time I have clung to the hope that somehow we will run our fourth race through the canyon this September. I will run anyway – with him as my invisible companion on the road.)

My brother & Me

My brother, Charles, and me after our second 10k; 2 months before his brain surgery.

57 thoughts on “Down the Road Alone

  1. inkspeare

    Blessings to you and your family, and hope that you and your brother find the comfort you need during this hard time. My heart is with you and hope that you make his journey one full of love and support, as I know you will. Blessed be you both.

  2. veganmonologue

    My thoughts are with you Annie. One of my students was diagnosed with GBM at the age of 8. It is something I wish would never happen to anyone at any age, ever. Take care.

  3. tearoomdelights

    I’m so glad for your brother that he has a sister like you by his side. You’ve written this beautifully, so simply and so clearly expressed. It’s obvious that your brother means a great deal to you, and this must be very painful for you. You may be absent from your blog but you’ll still be very much in the thoughts of your readers. Sending you love and hugs.

  4. erika

    LOVE Ripple. Love your sweet thoughtfulness. So sorry for the emotional road you are traveling. You aren’t alone completely though! We goodcleanfoodies are here, ready to help if you need anything. And you couldn’t find a more amazing, supportive, compassionate friend than Somer (spoken from experience,) Loads of love to you and a [BIG HUG].

    1. Amanda

      We’re definitely here, and we give you all the love you can handle. Good luck on the journey, and know we’ll be on the sidelines cheering you and your brother on.

  5. Kristy

    I actually have tears welling up in my eyes right now. I truly feel for you, Annie. I’m sending you huge hugs and wishing there was more I could do. You will be quite missed in your absence. Take care, my friend.

  6. Bridget

    My heart aches for you. I will send you loving vibes and virtual hugs. I wish I could do something but alas I can’t. Do remember to look after yourself.
    Bridget xx

  7. Shira

    Hugs sending your way from Vancouver Annie. I am sorry to hear you are going through such a painful experience. Blessings friend. xo

  8. Barb

    I’m so sorry you and your brother are going through this, but I’m sure he feels very fortunate to have you at his side.

  9. emmycooks

    I’m so sorry. I hope that you find some solace in knowing that we will all be thinking of you and your brother as you spend this time together.

  10. Márcia Gonçalves

    It’s good that your brother has a sister like you by his side, Annie.
    And don’t forget, your readers are here to give you all the comfort and support you need.

    I wish you and you’re brother all the best!

  11. annesturetucker

    As I read this, I look at my brother who is with me at the moment and I feel how much I love him! I can only imagine what it is like to be you In this situation. I am so sorry! Wonderful for your brother to have an amazing loving sister like you by his side!
    Sending you love, encouragement and support, sister friend!!

  12. Lidia

    Oh Annie. Big hug! You were the first person I thought about when I nominated people for the One Lovely Blog award. You’re such a kind and gentle soul. I can only think healing thoughts for your brother. Know people are thinking of you and wishing nothing but the best.

  13. veganbloggersunite

    Oh Annie. Big hug! You were the first person I thought about when I nominated people for the One Lovely Blog award. You\’re such a kind and gentle soul. I can only think healing thoughts for your brother. Know people are thinking of you and wishing nothing but the best.

  14. laurenlisang

    Thank you for sharing your journey with us, even these most difficult steps along the way. Sending prayers and love to you, your brother, and your entire family.

  15. Sophie33

    What a moving & touching post, dear Annie! We will think of you, your brother & your family! We still be here when you come back to us! Big hugs & kisses! xxx

  16. Rachel in Veganland

    Best of luck, Annie. Please know that all of us here on the blogosphere support and love you and are sending good energy your way. You are an amazing and strong woman, and I will await your return to your fantastic blog eagerly!

  17. Brittany

    This made my heart sink. You will be missed, but family most definitely comes first! Be with him for as long as you can. My thoughts and prayers are with you both!

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  19. Carolyn

    This is beautiful. I teach a restore yoga class Saturday mornings and we will dedicate it to you and your brother. We will close it with an om circle to send you our love.

  20. Cauldrons and Cupcakes

    Much love to you, Annie, and to your beautiful brother Charles. I’ll include you both in my daily healing meditations. Know that you are in the hearts, prayers and thoughts of many. Enjoy this special and precious time, and may you both be uplifted through love. {{{HUGS}}} xoxo

  21. biggsis

    I am so sorry that you and your brother are walking this road so early. Your ability to share this with others is really beautiful. You and your brother are in our thoughts and prayers.

  22. hannah

    I’m so sorry. I hope gratitude for his life and for your time together carries you and your family through with grace. I will be thinking of you, and of him, and wishing him peaceful and painless passage through the veil.

  23. Richgail Enriquez

    Sending you hugs and support. And big thanks for always being open and honest-no matter how hard times get. Your strength is such an inspiration to us your readers.

  24. formerfishtacofanatic

    I am so sorry. I found out this week that my grandfather has cancer and he has been keeping it a secret from for a long time. I’ve probably been the most emotional mess that I’ve ever been in my life. I can’t imagine how I would be if it was my sister. My thoughts and prayers and positive vibes are with you. You are an inspiration and I’m thinking of you.

  25. Katie Brick

    Thanks, Annie. I am sad to hear about Charles’ death.

    My mom sent along the link to your beautiful post, and has kept me somewhat apprised of how you and your family have supported Charles over the years – and I am sure how he has supported you, though she didn’t have insights about that. It’s a long way from the Berkshire pool and the West G school district but in some way Charles and the Oliverios are very much a part of my journey too — your parents have been friends of mine since long before we were born and were so kind when I had to move back home 20 years ago to rehab a knee injury. And they continue to be kind and provide (along with my mom) occasional updates on you “kids,” whose ages are so close to me and my siblings.

    So thanks for this post, for your love of Charles that it communicates, and may you and his spirit have a great run in September and always. — Katie Brick, Chicago

  26. S.

    Hope youre having all the fun you deserve!

    Annie, I changed my website URL so if you could change that in your ”other vegan” page as well, I would be delighted. It’s now! XO S.

    1. S.

      Ouch, didn’t mean fun right there… Got kind of lost in translation. What I was meant to say was: love but I somehow messed it up with fun. So sorry! Sending you loads of love and thoughts from Amsterdam. XO take care!

  27. morgancreations

    I’m so sorry! I had no idea and I was asking you for recipes for my Brother in Law, obviously going through some of the same stuff. You never let on how much you were hurting. I’m with you in spirit. I was wondering what happened to the blogs and I thought they might have been put in spam accidentally. We’ll be on the road with you!!! Love you both!

  28. 40 Fit In The Mitt

    Thinking about you today and how much you are missed around here. Hope your well and healing your heart. I lost my two brothers and it is something I deal with everyday. I hope you find comfort.

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