I wrote the following soonish after my last post, I didn’t feel ready to post it then but feel I want to now.
Yesterday my brother died. My older brother. There are lots of things I am thinking and I don’t really know where to start. I suppose firstly it is something that has been expected for a while, not because we’d had a ‘this long to live’ notice but because he has been slowly killing himself with alcohol for many years. He’d had warnings from doctors that he had to stop drinking and sometimes he would for a while but he always went back to it. When he was sober he was a nice person – no angel but nice. When he was drinking he could be violent and nasty or crying and begging forgiveness. I can’t deny he frightened me at times. I suppose for these reasons I am surprised at how much I am feeling it. That sounds really harsh but we haven’t been that close, for a start he was eight years older than me, we were very different people. I used to point out us two as an argument for nature over nurture (we were all adopted from birth from different biological parents).
I went to see my family yesterday, my other brother lives near my parents and was there and I wanted to be too. My parents tried so hard with him, though they could have given up on him, and were sometimes told to, they never did. They fought for him and fought with him, they were loving and strong. They were always hoping to find the miracle cure to stop him drinking but they knew underneath that unless he was 100% determined to stop for himself he wouldn’t. I think at times he was determined to stop but the addiction had such a hold on him that he went back to it. He’d have months of sobriety sometimes but he always returned to the drink.
What I wanted to say yesterday to my parents was that he couldn’t have had better, that they weren’t to blame and when they did blame themselves (which I think is bound to happen at some point – the feeling they should have done more) remember, he always knew they were there. They were the best. I did say this and I hope in the dark hours they will remember they gave him the best life he could have had.
I have many memories of my brother – some good and some not so good. I think my earliest memory of him specifically is when I was four and getting ready for my first day at school. He was helping me put my socks on at the top of the stairs and generally making sure I was ok. Both of my brothers had fun carrying me around by my ears (underneath them just in case you’re worrying – it actually didn’t hurt but I suspect it would now – don’t try it!) they enjoyed telling me I’d been run over by a steam roller because my nose was so squishy. When I was older he was around less because of the age difference. He did go through a faze of bringing home girlfriends and I went through a faze of agreeing to be a bridesmaid when he’d got carried away and proposed. He threw himself into everything he did with enthusiasm and that’s quite an endearing quality. He also had quite a short attention span so girlfriends and jobs never lasted for very long but he was always very quick at finding a new one (of both). Unfortunately I think his first love was alcohol and that’s what captured his attention most of all.
May he feel a peace now he could never feel on earth.
Now, a few months later, most of the time I’m fine but then reality hits. He wasn’t a daily presence in my life so I suppose not constantly feeling the loss is natural. His birthday is coming up and I can’t say I’m looking forward to it, especially as it’s mum’s birthday on the same day.
The closing lines from the family tribute I read at his funeral were
Our family was very important to A. He was most protective of us all. He was an extrovert, annoying, impetuous, loud – A was A, but we all loved him dearly and we will miss him.
And that sums him up.
If you feel inclined please pray for my family but especially for my mum and dad.