I'd never seen my brother cry until our dad got sick. A flu bug, but it hit dad hard, laid him up for days.

My brother sat beside the bed and laid his hand on father's head and curled up with broad shoulders hunched.

Dad's breath was shallow, ragged, torn.

My brother's hands shook, that was all.

Later, when my brother left our dad, he came to me.

"He'll be okay." I smiled. "And so will you."

My brother's startled eyes met mine. I held him in my arms.

That was all it took to make my stalwart brother cry.