My Brother’s Keeper

My Brother’s Keeper

Life Happens … My mom has been deceased for almost 14 years now. And I still remember the day she died as if it were last week. I was twenty-eight, single, happy and loving my life. I had received my Master’s Degree a couple of years earlier and was settling into my dream job. In other words, I was well on my way. Then, like a flash of lighting and overnight my life changed – forever.

Over the years, I have not shared much about the impact of taking in my 12 year-old brother after our mom expired. One of my mom’s dying wishes was that I take in my youngest brother and raise him as my own when she passed away. The 6 to 7 years that my youngest brother lived with me was an integral part of my personal and spiritual growth. However, at the time I was going through this, I did not realize just how important my brother’s presence in my life was to my growth and livelihood.

After battling a terminal illness, my mom passed away while I was at work. I got the call on the morning of Wednesday, June 28, 2000. I remember this particular morning because for some reason I had a harder time than usual getting out of bed and starting my day. I had a subliminal feeling that something was being ripped or separated from me as I drifted in and out of sleepiness that morning. To this day, I believe that I somehow made a spiritual connection with my mother just prior to or right after her passing away. I originally had plans for the evening to attend a Phoenix Suns playoff game with my cousin. Life happened and instead we both headed out of Phoenix that night to start driving home to Alabama to bury my mom.


But God, I never asked for any of this! The days, weeks, and perhaps months that followed my mother’s death are all a blur to me. One thing that is forever embedded in my memory is the 26-hour round trip drive that would take me from Phoenix, Arizona to Mobile, Alabama, and back again. On the trip back to Phoenix, I had my 12 year-old brother and all of his earthly possessions in tow. My cousin and I shared the driving duties. When she drove, I slept, and when I drove, she slept. I remember my brother sleeping most of the time. During my drive shifts, I did a lot of meditating and praying. On one occasion, I remember telling God, “Lord, I never asked for any of this. I don’t know what your plan is for me. I have no idea what I’m about to do, trying to raise a 12-year-old boy to be a man, but I’m giving this all to you.” At that point, the burden of everything I was going through was simply too much for me to bear. As I drove, meditated and prayed I had to bite my lip sometimes to distract myself to keep from crying. I had an ache so deep in my heart and soul that it literally made my chest hurt. I cannot fully verbalize how I felt because it was something that I had never felt before and pray that I will never feel again.

Oftentimes, we are progressing along, well on our way, when out of nowhere something happens that knocks us off our feet. The lesson for me—and for us all —is to remember that regardless of what we go through in life, God is in control and He has promised to never leave nor forsake us.

All Things Work Together for Good. Once we arrived in Phoenix, everything fell into place. As the years progressed, my brother and I had many ups and some downs but through it all we leaned on and pulled from our faith in God. Many times during my journey raising my brother, I kept thinking that instead of moving closer to my purpose and where I wanted to be in life, I was in fact moving farther away from it. At times, I would become frustrated thinking that time and life was passing me by. Now, several years later, I am exactly where I desire to be and more importantly where God wants me to be. We must remember that God will never take us to a place where His grace is not sufficient for us. The challenge is for us to walk in obedience and know that God will lead us down a path that is far better for us than anything we can plan or conceive.

I am happy and at peace knowing that I fulfilled one of my mother’s dying wishes. I pray that she is proud of the man that my brother turned out to be. More importantly, I pray that God is pleased.

“Am I my brother’s keeper? YES!”


Terry Cato About Terry Cato

Terry Cato is a Talk Show Host, Author and relationship blogger. She is the Founder of Relationships 411, a blog community dedicated to healthy relationships and marriages. She is the Host of Real Talk w/Terry a Bay Area talk show focusing on relationship and lifestyle topics. Her memoir, “No Longer a Bridesmaid!” chronicles the 7 years she was single, celibate and believing God for a husband. Feel Free to Follow Terry on Twitter and visit her website for more information about the Author.


  1. Terry, I’m sure your mother and God are proud of you. I especially liked your point that if you like where you are right now, you can’t be angry or regret what you had to go through to get there. Sometimes people wish they could change one thing in their lives, but if they did they might not be where they are right now.

    I can relate to that feeling when you wake up and feel like something is different. I’ve experienced this too, and wondered if it was God communicating with me in a wordless way. Maybe it was.

    Thanks for sharing this.

  2. Thanks Cherie! God knows the desires of our heart and His way is the best way. I’ve learned in life that my steps are ordered and even though I don’t understand what God is doing all the time, I must trust that He has my best interest in mind. I’m glad you enjoyed the post.

  3. katherine says:

    Your Mom is very very proud of you, Shawnterry. Of that, I am positive. She surely smiles down on you and yours every single day. You are the embodiment of a blessing to your family. Thanks for sharing and BEING a living example of our Lord’s unyielding grace and mercy that sees us through ALL the challenges of life.

  4. Thanks Katherine! Without my faith and belief in Christ don’t know how I would have made it. Yes! His Grace and Mercy are sufficient.

  5. Lisa Lickel says:

    Such an inspiring story. Thank you for sharing and encouraging us.

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