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 Born to Write
 A Blog by Author Amy Hill Hearth

Death of a Sibling

Dr. Jonathan D. Hill, the author's late brother.



His name was Jonathan. He was a cultural anthropologist, a musician, a free spirit. He was a father, husband, and friend.


He was my brother.


It started with a phone call on a Monday morning in July 2021. Jonathan was in the hospital. He'd had a seizure the night before. This, in itself, raised alarm bells. I knew he had no history of seizures, and yet he'd had one that was so severe that he fell and ripped apart his shoulder. At the hospital, a scan showed "something" in his brain. He would be having brain surgery that afternoon.


It was my sister who called me, and she spoke slowly and carefully. Still, three words - seizure, scan, surgery - felt like three quick slaps to my face.


The surgery went on for hours. When it was over, we would learn that "something" in his brain had a name: Glioblastoma, a malignant brain tumor. 


With optimal care, Jonathan's prognosis was 12-14 months. With no treatment, he could expect to live four months.


He decided to fight it. He lived for 23 months, almost twice as long as predicted. He went into a final decline last spring, and died June 24. 


All is quiet now. Those of us who loved him are bereft and exhausted. We are like survivors of a crash, stunned and awaiting rescue.