My younger brother Terry and I sometimes greet each other with the words, “Strength and Honor.” It’s a line lifted directly from the movie “Gladiator.” Not a great movie and perhaps greeting each other this way is a bit hokey, but what appears on the surface to be just light-hearted bravado hides a much deeper significance.
We grew up in an alcoholic, abusive household with our other brother and two sisters. My mother had us one right after the other and by the time she was 22 she had five kids. In the days before disposable diapers, in a house with only cold running water, no bathtub, no bathroom facilities. It was a poor existence. We often felt winter’s bitter bite. My father did not try to save us. He did not come to the rescue. He was not true or strong or brave. In fact he did everything he could to abandon us and leave us at the mercy of our alcoholic mother. By the age of 36 he was dead. I’m not sure how much his disease killed him or how much it was him simply trying to escape the pain of existence.
I know Terry reads this blog. To him I say, strength and honor, brother.