Poet pays tribute to sister's final days


January 15, 2002|By Debra Taylor Young | Debra Taylor Young,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

ON A SUNNY day in August 2000, Kathleen Adcock, author and Sykesville resident, lost her youngest sister, Maureen Rose (Fiore) Brothers, 45, to cancer.

The cancer had been diagnosed 10 weeks before her death.

Brothers' death followed eight years of misdiagnoses and an unnoticed family predisposition to colorectal cancer

Her grieving extended family spent the final weeks of her life struggling to help her fight the disease, comfort her and themselves, and ultimately deal with the grief of losing someone so dear, according to Adcock.

Adcock responded to her sister's death by channeling her emotions into her writing.

"The words and images seemed to pour from somewhere, as if she stood over my shoulder," said Adcock, who wrote a book of poems titled Maureen Rose, a tribute to her late sister.

The collection offers a glimpse into the final weeks of her sister's life, the medical and emotional challenges of critical illness, and the memories of a close family bound by traditions that included large reunions and holiday gatherings at Brothers' Finksburg home.

Adcock has eight other brothers and sisters. All but one live in the area. Their mother, Mary, 80, also lives nearby.

The many family occasions spent together often include up to 50 people.

Although their father died of complications from colon cancer, Brothers' symptoms of nausea, dizziness and occasional vomiting went undetected by doctors as signs of a genetic predisposition. She was treated with nausea pills.

When her symptoms became too difficult to ignore, doctors found the cancerous polyp. Brothers' cancer was diagnosed on Memorial Day 2000. Her cancer was inoperable. Adcock recalled that her sister immediately urged her siblings to be tested.

The testing revealed that four siblings had precancerous polyps, Adcock among them. All four underwent surgery to remove the polyps.

"Maureen saved our lives," Adcock said softly.

"I've been writing poetry since the age of 9," she said. "I've written the whole gamut that poets instinctively cover - life, death, love, joy, anger, grief and hope. But nothing could prepare me to write about the death of someone so close."

Brothers was the mother of two teen-age sons, Chris, 19, and Kevin, 17. Adcock said the extended family remains close to the boys and her sister's husband, Terry.

Brothers' work as a family services specialist at the Maryland School for the Deaf was important to her.

Adcock said her sister would be happy to know that all proceeds from her book go to the Maureen Brothers Student Assistance Fund, established to help the neediest families at the school for the deaf.

Before her sister's death, Adcock had written two poetry collections, and has been widely published in journals that include The Baltimore Review, The Beauty for Ashes Poetry Review, Dream International Quarterly and Psychopoetical.

She received many awards for her work. Her husband, Kenneth, contributes artwork and photographs to her collections.

Maureen Rose is available by calling 410-795-7957, or by e-mail at nebulatwo@starpower.net.

Business group to meet

South Carroll Business Association will meet at noon tomorrow at Salerno's Catering Hall at 1043 Liberty Road in Eldersburg.

The meeting will include networking, speakers and drawings.

Fees are $10 for members and $15 for nonmembers.

Information: Rebecca Gootee, 410-356-2046.

Women's self-defense

Morning Star Martial Arts is offering a self-defense seminar for women from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 10 at Sykesville Middle School on Springfield Avenue.

The seminar is for ages 13 and older, and will be taught by Peter Hiltz, a fourth-degree black belt.

Loose, comfortable clothing and a bag lunch are recommended. Fees are $45. Registration is required.

Information: 410-549-7437.

Debra Taylor Young's Southeast neighborhood column appears each Tuesday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.

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