Nothing can stop me from loving my brother. – Brandy Norwood
Normally, I try to report things in my world kind of as they happen. However, in the case of my brother and his dark awakening, I’ve been slow. It’s been painful to share given he’s been the person I loved most in my life. He’s been with me through an abused childhood that we share as a powerful bond. Hard thing is my little brother, middle of three of us Sheetz boys, is not always easy to love.
I’ve pretty much led a boy scout of a life. Not always. I am no saint. I experimented in school with drugs and booze, trying to see if I could master what my dad never could. Lucky for me, I was rescued by the love of a college sweetheart, a powerful Taurus, who would become my wife.
Later in life, after my divorce, I’m now protected by the good habits learned while married to a good woman for 18 years and most of all my own clear grasp that clean and sober is the only way to live a happy life. My brother’s harsh life has served as a cautionary tale for me. Share it with someone you love who is drinking and drugging. If one person avoids my brother’s fate it will be worth it and is why ultimately I share “Dark Awakening.”
Unlike me, my brother never stopped self-medicating with substance abuse very long his whole life, from teen onward. While we are together and with family he behaves clean and sober, if always with a beer in hand with a smoke. The times in between are where his troubles lie.
On or about September 11, 2013, in that dark and disastrous 9/11 energy field, I see now as I write, I got a message from my nephew in the early AM that my brother was in the ICU after emergency surgery in a Kenosha Wisconsin hospital for a bleeding ulcer. I raced in my rental car, soon as I had my flights and hit the road to Wisconsin and my sick brother.
When my brother’s emergency hit I was on extended assignment for my film business BuzzBroz.com. There are no major flights into or out of Sedona. So I drove two anxiety filled hours to the Hertz rental car store at the Phoenix airport to make my connection to Chicago then a drive from Chicago up to Kenosha.
As the Arizona mountains and cactus flew past the rental car’s windows my sad thoughts went back to July 31, 1990 and the pit of despair my brother fell into that harmed my family-life in a profound way. It was my daughter’s 8th birthday party. We celebrated my little girl’s big day in our new mansion in Lake Forest, all of us having a wonderful time in the abundance life was showering on me as the sole family breadwinner.
The phone rang as my daughter cut her birthday cake. My wife answered, happily nibbling on the cake knife’s frosting. Soon her face went white with shock. She handed me the phone and said loud enough for everyone at the party to hear, “Ken, it’s your father. He says your brother has lost his marbles and is coming to the party to kill all of us!” A silence fell over my daughter’s birthday party.
I took the call, and my father, who was estranged from me at that time, repeated exactly what my wife said; my kid brother was coming to kill me and my entire family. The fear in my father’s guilt-choked voice sounded real. So I took action to protect my family from a brother who had gone insane, according to dad. My brother had not been himself for a solid year. Calling at all hours of the night. Bringing a hooker to dinner. So this dire warning fit.
After my call, the police sent quad cars to patrol near our home. My daughter’s party turned into a nightmare of fear my brother would appear any second with guns, knives or God know what.
My brother in-law grabbed a baseball bat from the garage and threatened to crack open my brother’s skull if he tried to mess with any of us. Worried how fast my baby’s birthday party was escalating to a killing-free-for-all, I asked my angry brother-in-law try to break my brother’s leg instead, please. That way we could pin him down for the police to deal with and not sink to his level. My brother-in-law, a dentist my mother-in-law constantly compared me to as my better, reluctantly agreed.
Meantime, my baby girl, my pride and joy’s sweet little faced turned from joy to fear and sorrow. “How could my brother do this shit to his sweet niece?” I wondered, infuriated.
The phone rang again and we all almost jumped out of our skin. I answered this time and the police reported that they had intercepted my brother at a Waukegan bar about half an hour north of Lake Forest. They said he was carrying no weapons except a legal sized jackknife and so no charges could be brought. My brother had told the cops he never made the horrible death threat my father claimed. My brother’s claim was that our father was angry over my brother taking his car without his permission and messing with us all. This was far more acceptable to my heart even though I did not completely believe my crazed brother. It was one crazy person, my dad’s word, against another his crazy son’s word.
The cops also said my brother was drunk and he needed a ride home back to Wisconsin to get my father’s car back. My wife stuck with me, afraid my brother might hurt me, and we left our son and daughter with my wife’s parents, who shot me again looks of disgust. This in-law duo had their own dark family issues I lovingly dealt with in the past. Now that it was their turn to return the favor I felt no love at all from them.
I hated to drag my wife from the party and wish I hadn’t. What a dumb thing to ask of her I see now. My brother was my mess to clean up. Ah, there’s the old enabling still in play. More accurately seen from 2014 my brother’s mess was HIS to clean up.
But this was 1990. Long before the tons of healing work I’ve done to recover from the many of the same child abuse issues, minus drugs and booze, plaguing my brother. I’d not yet had a stitch of therapy. Though my great success as a millionaire at only 38 years-old made me appear solid, I was in fact a mess on the inside. On this fateful birthday I was freaked out and not thinking clear. My brother and father when they teamed up like this, despite my great successes as Chicago’s #1 real estate broker according to many and some fans in the press, had a way of making me a helpless child again.
When I met my brother at the Waukegan bar where the cops had intercepted him, it was the first time in 2 years I’d seen him. The drinking and drugging and six months in prison had decimated his good looks. My love for him usually so strong, now a smoking crater in my heart, as this phantom of my brother staggered into my arms. He reeked of beer and cigarettes as he told his twisted side of the death threat story of our twisted father’s.
I am no fool. I only half believed my mess of a brother. I had seen how crazy he got on these binges many sad times. He may very well have said what he said to simply mess with our father, I rationalized, not imagining my brother could ever harm me or my family. Still I was disgusted at the mess he’d made of my daughter’s birthday party. Despite the disgust I felt at the awful way my poor brother acted, the past shared feelings of an abused childhood, the tears, my love for him got the better of me. So I offered to help him get home with our abusive dad’s car. At that moment in a way, I can see now I made a poor choice of my brother over my own new family. I simply couldn’t help myself and my wife was sad I was getting sucked into this mess.
I drove my dad’s beater car while my frightened wife followed in my racing green Jaguar. I’ll never forget the fear and confusion in her deep brown eyes flecked with gold as I watched her in my dad’s beater car’s review mirror, my ruined brother at my side taking solace in my rescue. I feel it’s where she lost her love for me. We’d end up divorced in 1992, but this was the fork in the road.
I shook off the thoughts of the birthday party from hell as I entered the northern suburbs of Phoenix, checking my review mirror to shift lanes to the Phoenix airport exit, on yet another rescue mission of my fragile, crazy brother.
This was my first time using that confusing and poorly laid out Phoenix airport. I realized in my haste that I accidentally chose to the bus for wrong terminal. The airport terminal bus driver, a man of eastern decent was making too busy making jokes, jokes none of which we white bread passengers found funny, to notice me trying to catch his attention. It was like he had a captive audience for his bad comedy routine and he was not present for his real job. Stupidly, I took his bad joke making thinking his humor made him kind. So I explained to the bus driver, “I got on the wrong bus for catching an American Airlines flight, sir. I am on a medical emergency to see a brother who might be dying of a bleeding ulcer, losing all the blood in his body and needing 11 bags of blood. I need to get to the right terminal, please.”
The bus driver’s reaction to my family emergency? He pulled to bus over to chat up a security guard buddy on the curb at the next stop, thus delaying me further. After his security guard pal reminded the joker Hertz driver that he had a nervous passenger waiting, the driver only offered to drive me to another terminal waiting area to catch another bus not the right terminal, mind you, just one along his route back to the parking lot.
Shocked at his glib shabby treatment, I again explained again how critical my brother’s condition was. I pleaded, “Call your supervisor. Just a short extra ride to the America Air terminal could mean me being able to say good-bye to a dying brother.”
Looking smug, relishing in my pain, the Hertz driver said with almost a giggle, “Not to worry, sir. The transfer bus is right behind me. See? You will catch your plane easily.”
Based on that promise I exited the Hertz bus in the 100 plus temp. But, you guessed it, the Hertz driver was a trickster and the bus behind him raced right past me. I waited a painful unnecessary 20 minutes for the transfer bus, trying to keep calm as I had visions of my brother dying without me at his side.
Drenched in sweat and badly dehydrating in the dry Phoenix air, I arrived at the American ticket counter to get my boarding pass. I explained to the young female AA agent about my medical emergency. The agent simply gave me my boarding pass and warned it was tight and they may close off the flight before I got to the gate, in which case I’d be wait listed to a later flight. “Please call the gate and tell them to hold the flight for me,” I asked.
“Sorry, sir. We can’t do that.” said the AA ticket agent, at least with some heart. No time to argue, off I ran for the gate.
To their credit the TSA people rushed me through upon hearing my brother’s plight. Shocker to see TSA behave more kindly than Hertz and AA personnel. I ran through the terminal for the gate, dodging passengers and baggage. As fate would have it, my gate was at the end of the big terminal.
Panting and totally covered sweat, I nonetheless arrived at the gate 15 minutes before scheduled departure. The AA gate agent, a heavy-set blonde woman with ice-cold black eyes, said, “Sorry sir, we have closed the flight.”
I pointed dramatically saying, “There’s the plane. It’s still at the gate!” I looked at my watch. “There’s still 15 minutes until you are scheduled to depart. Call the pilot. He can re-extend the gangplank for me. I have a brother near death, bleeding ulcers, I need to be on this flight, please, ma’am.”
This was not my day. And so the AA gate agent coldly said, “Sorry, sir. I will not call the pilot for you. Against policy.”
Outraged she wouldn’t even make a try, I asked for her name. At that point the gate agent silently did a comedic about-face worthy of Peter Sellers and escaped into the gangplank without giving me the dignity of obtaining her name.
No agent to speak to or comfort me in an hour of family need, I walked to the window in despair and took this still photo of the plane. I also took a video as the plane just sat there for 15 minutes as I watched helplessly. I posted it to YouTube under the title “Heartless Hertz and American Airlines” It had 35,000 views before YouTube removed the video with no explanation. But I can guess the reason. These two giants are big sponsors on YouTube. My heartbreaking video where I was emotional about missing the flight was going viral. Sadly, it was a direct upload and is lost now forever.
I sat in shambles at the airport when my cell phone began to ring in my backpack. Thinking it might be more about the medical emergency I hastily dumped the entire backpack contents onto the floor and grabbed my phone.
Sure enough it was my brother’s son, my favorite and only nephew. He reported his father’s condition looked rocky but stable for the moment. The docs were saying my bother was not out of the woods yet as the two bleeding ulcers were huge. My nephew explained he’d made arrangements for me to take care of his dad’s apartment and would give me keys at the hospital.
I almost started to cry as I explained to my 28-year-old nephew, who was the host of my 1996 election show that would air on PBS, when he was only 11, his first paying job in life, that I had missed my flight due to not one but two heartless corporations. I would be lucky to be in Kenosha by 1AM and I told Joe to do what he felt right. But that if I made it on the next flight out, 5PM that AA had me on a wait list for, note wait list, no guarantees despite all that was going on, that I would grab a hotel for the night and get my brother’s keys the next day.
I made the 5 PM flight and was in Chicago and out of the Hertz store with wheels for the drive to Kenosha by 11:30 PM. I decided to go straight to the hospital and booked a room on my mobile app from Priceline. I made it to the hospital at 12:30 AM. Fortunately, my body was still on west coast time and I was not tired, having napped on the 3 hour flight without the once nice meals. Not even pretzels anymore!
When I entered the ICU I was struck by how badly bloated my brother looked. He was on full life support in an induced coma. They say that people in a coma can hear you and so I said, “Get well, little bro. Your big brother is here.”
Those of you who follow my work know I do planetary scale Reiki healing work called DreamShield. Now, I had a very personal Reiki healing to do. As I worked the Rieki I’d learned in LA I saw an angel join their energy to his. I was told my brother would recover fully and not to worry.
Texts and messages of support on FB balanced out the negative effects to Hertz and American Airlines. It was 2 AM when I collapsed into my bed at the hotel on the Kenosha harbor. The view of Lake Michigan was gorgeous for the ten seconds it took me to fall asleep.
The next day when I returned to the hospital my brother was off life support. Though he was still deep in drug induced coma my spirits brightened. My brother had dodged another bullet and was going to live. A personable young Indian doctor told me how the two large ulcers had been cauterized and that he was doing well, but that this was not the optimal surgery. Removing the affected intestines was the preferred surgery. But he explained that my brother had lost so much blood when he was brought in that they chose the least stressful surgery. Then his sweet face turned more serious and he said, “You brother is highly addicted to alcohol and is having such severe withdrawal systems he must be kept in this coma or he will burst his surgery. And if he drinks again the ulcers will kill him next time. This is his last ride on the recovery merry-go-round”
I nodded somberly, recalling how fast my brother had fallen after his summer awakening. “Drinking and awakening don’t mix,”I thought to myself. I could not picture my brother without a beer in one hand and a cigarette in the other. How he would ever never take a drink again was a mystery. I had donated 100 videos to a recovery radio station run by a human angel named Bradley Quick and learned some things about recovery. In 2011 I had been invited to Nashville to do a DreamShield meditation to end addiction in the world. But could I do for my brother, getting him to quit drinking and drugging, what I’d never been able along with Mom to get our dad to do.
I had a lot of time to ponder these painful thoughts as I watched over my brother. I thought sadly how he had been planning to see me in Sedona for my birthday on September 21st, just two weeks from when all this was happening. My brother began awakening from the old world over the summer of 2013. At first it was exciting to hear him say how amazing it was for him. The new powers and energies he was feeling.
However, the stress of awakening on him became been enormous for his fragile nature of an abused childhood he had never dealt with, unlike me an explorer of many forms of therapy, from EMDR, to Anger Management, to psychotherapy, and finally spirit work . Without any of this grounding his awakening turned dark and set him self-medicating with God knows what. The more I talked to my brother on the phone, as we planned his trip to Sedona for my birthday, the more imbalanced he sounded, and the more anger crept into our talks. I called our mother to tell her of my worries that my brother was falling back into addictions that had ended him in jail in 1990. Next call I confronted my brother, who has an epic dark side when he’s drinking and drugging, that I could tell he was off the wagon and he hung up on me. When he missed our weekly calls twice and was not returning my calls, I worried more.
I recalled the brother who was so unpredictable as a kid, loving to me one moment as my closest pal, then laughing at me behind Dad’s leg as I was beaten to within inches of my life. My guess is my brother suffers from un-diagnosed bi-polar disorder like I believe our father did. It was a common bond with my Dad that I happily never shared.
To top off my brother’s dual nature is the fact he is a Gemini. Often I hear stories of terrible things my brother has been doing and, like my mom, because of his amazing sweet side and sadness, I tended to repress them in the past. Now, I was no longer fooling myself and I could feel something awful was going to happen to my brother, perhaps jail again as in 1990. Perhaps something worse with this new energy of the awakening distorted within.
So when my nephew called about the ulcers and the near death I was not surprised. I did not hesitate on coming. My guides said he needed my healing gifts if he was to live. Now, instead, of a birthday visit to Sedona, here I was on what would become a 1o day visit to help him heal from ulcers predicated by a stressful life under an abusive father, who passed in 2011 while I was in transit on a meditation to Nashville to combat addiction in Nashville. My brother and I had made peace with our father after a heart transplant literally changed him into a better person and gave him an extra 10 years of life.
But the wounds of a childhood of constant 24/7 abuse for 18 years of PST that he’d never faced and lost in booze in drugs were, I could see reading my brother’s comatose face as he moaned and groaned like a ghost, literally ripping him apart. I spoke words of encouragement to my unconscious brother to let go of the past, hoping in his dream like state my words my get past his barriers for dealing with his dark childhood.
My nephew joined the coma-watch after his work day ended. As we sat among the beeping monitors we talked about his father’s painful past. How this rage must be drained if he ever recovered. How meditation and lots of therapy had been my solution and would work for him. My nephew thinks I am little crazy, like my two absentee kids, with all my visions and meditations I do for healing the planet, like the big one that took me all the way to Antarctica for 12.12.12. Now, I could see hope and respect on his handsome young face.
My brother loved his beer but it gave him a headaches. Combined with Excedrin he took to relive those headache the doctor, who said Excedrin should be an illegal drug, explained it had burned two holes in my brother’s stomach. Once again, I saw the pattern of heartless corporations again at work, bleeding ulcers, brought to you by the makers of Excedrin and Miller Light Beer.
A doctor was working for a giant medical corporation called Aurora Healthcare. However, I read the energy of the ER staff. All angelic and caring luckily. My brother was in as good of hands as one can expect today. The virus of corporations hiring heartless workers had not spread here in this ER in Kenosha near the shores of Lake Michigan where my brother and I played each day as kids on the beach to escape our crazy home life.
My nephew said good night and I continued on watching over my coma-brother. Though he was off life support now, he was restless all day. Shortly after his son left my brother became highly agitated in his coma. I closed my Mac, where I was doing my best to continue doing my work for PhiSciences and the hit web series I’d created with Patrick Flanagan. The great scientist had been looking forward to meeting my brother in Sedona. I slowly walked over the ICU bed, where nearly a dozen IV bottles filled him with drugs to keep my brother under and healing the delicate surgery on his ulcers as if in a nightmare where you have that feeling some monster lurks in the dark. My brother was supper stressed looking, gagging suddenly.
Worried, I walked out to the nursing station and told the nurse that something was wrong with my brother. The sweet little nurse a stocky young woman, no taller than 5 feet, humored me and reluctantly came into Fred’s ICU. “Look up there, Mr. Sheetz, ” she said to me like she was talking to a ninny, “That’s a camera. We see all that’s going on. Relax.”
Relax I could not and said, “Look at his breathing. He choking on his tongue. See how he’s straining to breathe? Can’t be good for the cauterization surgery.” I get amazingly calm in tough spots. A survival skill I had to develop when my father lost his marbles every few days. It was a bad sign I was so calm. Big trouble had to be on the way. My body knows these things before my brain.
My brother gagged on his tongue again as if on cue for the young nurse. The veins on his neck showed how difficult a time he was having getting air.
“Look at the oxygen levels, Mr. Sheetz. Your brother blood oxygen is 90%. That’s very good for someone in his condition of losing so much blood a few days ago.” the young nurse said.
“My brother is an amazing swimmer. He is simply breathing deep when he can in the coma and battling the tongue. Maybe you should have left him on full life support.” I said, surprised how clearly I could see this with no medical training while this nurse was in some kind of denial. I did not give a crap about her feelings. My brother’s life was at stake and his agitation was growing worse.
“OK. We will look into it, Mr. Sheetz.” the nurse said finally seeing how the situation looked worse by second. He was sweating now and pale as a ghost.
I stroked his forehead and said, “Take it easy, bro. They’re getting the doctor now. You gotta relax, buddy, or the surgery won’t hold.”
Just then the nurse and I noticed at the same time a tiny dot of blood on the sheet covering Fred, between his legs. The nurse pulled back the sheet… black clotted blood filled the entire bed area from lower torso to his toes!
“On my god!” I shouted. The words pouring out of me like a single word “OHMYGOD!”
“You have to leave the room, Mr. Sheetz!” said the nurse.
I agreed but watched on from the hall as every life support alarm on my brother blared now.
I couldn’t look. My brother was dying. I felt it so profoundly. I walked up the hall and called his son. “The surgery ruptured. Your father is in grave danger.”
“I just got home. Are you sure, Uncle Ken?” said my nephew, in shock having gone through near death with his father 2 days ago for the same ulcers.
As if on cue the PA blared. “Medical emergency room 116. Crash cart team room 116!”
“I’m on my way!” said my nephew, knowing his father’s ICU room number.
“Speed, Joe. If a cop pulls you over, make them escort you. He may not last much longer!”
As I ended the call I began seeing flashes of the good times my bother and I had shared as kids. How he reached his hand across the nightstand to comfort me as our drunken father stumbled through the house after waking us all with his rantings to God. How my brother ran for our father’s help when I fell through the ice in the forest behind our St. Francis backyard.
Then I realized the POVs of these memories were not mine but my brother’s. I spun and saw the glowing spirit of my little brother, age 8. “Get back in your body!” I commanded my brother’s confused little spirit. Weeping, I thrust out my hand. “Here! Take my hand. Let me lead you back.” The dazed spirit of my little brother took my hand and I walked it him up the long hallways and back to the ICU where his 59 year-old body lay near death.
A doctor walked up to me as I watched his little boy self’s spirit slip back into my brother’s body as he convulsed in racking seizures. The doctor looked like a cousin of Kevin Spacey and has the same no-nonsense manner. We eyed each other up in a nanosecond and knew we liked each other. “I’m Dr. Needle — yeah, don’t laugh — the surgeon on this case. You’re the patient’s brother?” To my handshake and nod Dr. Needle added. “Looks grim. Your brother’s odds of living are slim at best. Prepare yourself for him to go into cardiac arrest any second now from. He’s lost almost all the blood in his body. The cauterization I did Tuesday has all ruptured. He’s bled into his intestines and evacuated it out his anus in one gush. Do you give consent to revive him if he flatlines?”
“I give consent for you to do anything and everything to save my brother. I can’t think of a doctor with a better name to be his surgeon than Dr. Needle. You radiate competence. You’ll save my brother. I have 100% faith in you.” I said. I am a huge fan of book called BLINK. BLINK tells of how we form complete assessments of character in the time it takes to blink. It’s in second guessing ourselves that we go wrong.
Dr. Needle smiled at may calm nature and asked, “Would you like to be in the room while we try to stabilize him?”
“Yes.” I said without hesitation despite the horrors I knew I’d be in for.
“OK, wait here. I’ll give you the signal when you can come in.
Soon, Dr. Needle waved me into my brother’s, now crowded, ICU room. I’ve seen ER shows on TV. Now I realized what bad “acting” all that was. Here were a group of nurses, doctors and orderlies, some literally praying with folded hands and closed eyes, for my brother to survive.
TO BE CONTINUED…