Today, July 5, 2020, is my beloved brother’s 50th birthday!
Longtime readers have learned a lot about Bill over the years. For folks new to this blog, my older brother is autistic, non-verbal, and a huge fan of Kit-Kats and Earth, Wind, and Fire. He was diagnosed with COVID-19 a few months ago.
Well, Bill kicked COVID-19’s ass ... but he has had serious complications since being diagnosed. Two brain hemorrhages and three surgeries later, he is still in hospital recovering. He’s getting stronger, and I was happy to hear from the nurse that his appetite is back.
I won’t be able to see Bill today.
I want to, more than anything.
Earlier this week I spent several hours mapping out the logistics of a visit. I was so excited by the idea of being able to hold him, hug him, fret over him until he got annoyed and told me to leave.
But toward the end of the week reality settled in. My sister and I need to stay healthy, and we simply can’t risk going to a hospital during a pandemic in a county where COVID-19 cases are surging.
I am not okay. This has all been extremely hard.
I’ve slept for hours, and I’m still exhausted.
I also feel like a total asshole for being depressed when I’m so fucking lucky, and I feel guilty for being so upset about not being able to see a loved one who survived … who is surviving … who, God willing, I will get to see soon.
Okay, so ...
Feel free to drop birthday wishes for Bill in the comment section, and I will share them with him.
If you are willing and able, please donate to the following in honor of Bill Merritt’s 50th Birthday ...
Bill is alive today because of the outstanding care provided by his residential staff. Please support Easterseals Midwest here.
Bill’s care in hospital, at home, and out in the community is made possible in large part by Medicaid. If you are a Missourian, vote Yes on 2 on Tuesday, August 4. Learn more and take action to support Medicaid expansion in Missouri here.
I am an organizer, so I know all too well the limits of policy when it comes to progressive change. That said, the 2020 general election is the most important political event of my lifetime. Everything that make my family possible is under threat, and while I organize for liberation at the grassroots, all y’all need to get your vote on in November.
Tuesday, November 3, 2020 - be there, do the right thing, go forth and make sure others to do the same.
Action St. Louis is building a movement to transform St. Louis – support their work to ensure our family lives in a region free of violence and oppression.
Finally, please dance and get your groove on to one of Bill’s favorite songs!
With love, Shark-Fu.