Last week when I was in Austin, several words stood out in many of the conversations that I had… Icon. Treasure. Institution. Gift.
Words that were used to describe my brother Tom Spencer.
Sure, I could elaborate on the many places that through his efforts and leadership made Austin a better place to live, however I am going to take another route.
When JFK was assassinated, Tom, a grade school kid, wept on the bus. He already at a young age had a sense of the world and how that charismatic man had made the world a better place.
That desire to make the world a better place is something that Tom did in many little ways, not just on the public stage.
Our younger brother, Jeff, would have said Tom was a champion. Not just a hero in all their stories but someone who literally took his hand and walked him through scary places. Tom did that for the last time when Jeff died of cancer.
Tom was an exasperation to me. He was an unwelcome intruder of my perfect world when he was born. He teased me, taunted me, fought with me and finally somewhere along the line we became friends. He was a treasure that I had at last found and my gift.
Last month Tom suffered a massive stoke. The articulate man that we all knew is silenced for a while. He is struggling to regain the ability to express himself and let the world know that he is still here….
He is here and he needs your good will, kindness, prayers and what ever you call it to come back.
Here at Caring Bridge is a place where we can all find ways to help Tom return to self and to all of us.
On Mondays Tom's team of caregivers has a conference call with me to let me know what is happening in Tom's world. This past Monday we had good news on the physical therapy and a bit of a set back on speech therapy. Tom is doing his best to overcome all obstacles. Before the call was over I teased Tom to remind him my birthday was today and that all I wanted from him was to sing "Happy Birthday" to me....I got my wish! Best present ever!