It has been a weekend of partings. On Saturday, my brother left home to go to university. I can't help but remember how far he has come, as just three years ago his life hung in the balance. I watched him deteriorate over the weeks: he lost weight, and the ruddiness faded from his cheeks; he could barely walk because of the mystery pain in his back and leg. We went out for a meal to celebrate his 17th birthday. He should have been talking animatedly about the prospect of driving lessons, but instead he was struggling to hold back the tears. I was frightened as I've never before seen someone close looking so fragile and poorly, and I felt helpless. But he was the lucky one: they discovered the DVT in his leg before it was too late, and acted fast. Had it gone undetected for much longer then it could have gone to his heart or brain and we would have lost him. It was a horrible year for him, as they made the diagnosis of Crohn's disease and began the long treatment process until they had stabilised the condition.
A year later, he started his A-levels again, and this year he celebrated a pleasing string of results, that wasn't enough to get him to my city, but enabled him to take up an offer at his second university choice. He is healthy now, and can lead a fairly active lifestyle. I'm sure he will enjoy the student life, and hopefully he will apply himself well to his studies. It's scary to think that had his GP not acted as he did, Matt might not be here, and I'm not even exaggerating.
My other brother, Dave, has left school and begun his first year of A-levels at sixth-form college. He is studying maths, physics and philosophy, which is brave! I would find those subjects very daunting, but it shows where he differs academically to Matt and I, who both studied subjects that fall into the English, Humanities and Art categories. I think my parents are both beginning to realise that in two years they may have an empty nest on their hands, with the three of us setting off into the world, and their feelings about this are very mixed.
The day after Matt's departure, having spent a few days with my family, I returned home and was reunited with Spud, who remained behind in order to attend three interviews. This proved to be worthwhile, as he was offered a job: the job of the three that he wanted, and will benefit him the most. He has been looking for a job for sixteen months, so you can imagine our relief! There are still worries ahead and no doubt further challenges, but we have had so many prayers answered, and we are all slowly getting there.