Island Blog – Talk to Me and Brother Days

I must have said this a gazillion times over the years of my almost half century of marriage, yelled it, screamed it, thought it, dreamed it. All I achieved was indigestion and a sore neck. Don’t bother, that’s what I say and did say to myself but myself kept hoping for a breakthrough.

Now I am widowing my way through hours and days, through dark and light times, through back-lit frustration and regret, sadness and happy memories, I still can feel my gut clench, as if those iron fists are just waiting for permission for this clenching thing. They have no moral standards, these iron fists, no emotional intelligence, I know that and if I am able to pause my racetrack of thoughts I can swerve away, refuse to engage with such thoughtless metal. It doesn’t always work.

And then he came, my brother. I haven’t seen him for so very long and even then it was never just us, or not for longer than a walk through the wolds of Norfolk, the trees, across fields that go on all the way up to the horizon. For five days he was mine, just him and just me. Big sister always teaseable, slightly younger brother, big man, good man, the best. For a few days prior to his arrival I freaked out over food. After all I cook pasta and eat salad day after day and with added bits to lift the whole plate out of the ordinary, so the thought of presenting (omg) and arranging delicious food on a plate, such as pork chops that aren’t as tough as his walking boots, and beans with something, al dente of course and potatoes, oh lordy, I haven’t bought them in a very long time. The whole thing indigested me big time. I called our sister, a professional and hugely talented chef and she flapped me down like she would a plane coming in to land too fast. I slowed my heartbeat. This was not about what I cooked, nor how clean my house was, she said. This visit was about him and me, as rare as an original Picasso and equally easy to destroy with the fire of fret. So, to hell with that. Thank you Fifi.

Every single minute of each day was an adventure. Just as I sat my old ass down for a rest, his bright light was shining on the next opportunity. I loved it and it reminded me of what I had forgotten, the times with him so very long ago, his wicked humour, the way he finds something in anything and everything to celebrate and to investigate, his kindness, his interest in things other people ignore, his curiosity and the way he picks up on something I say and steps alongside to understand more. We laughed our way through rain, tussocks and hummocks (he actually said, and over his shoulder, Remind me never to invite you stalking with me, as I fell over again in the bog) and I watched him across the table drinking tea and munching on a biscuit and I drew that picture into my very self. We may never, and probably won’t, have this again. But I don’t mind that because such is more than a stepping stone for me, and maybe for him. As I fight the awful and dreadful lonely moments, the fear of ageing alone, of sickness, debility, all that shit, I will remember that time, every single moment we shared.

The early morning he left, in the dark, I was surprisingly emotional. I haven’t cried one tear since my husband died. I was choked and so was he. He talked to me and I to him. The day he left was not easy but I know that everything passes and so it should. Instead of holding on (so not my thing) I let go and hold to the memory and that memory will feed my soul and calm my gut for a long time to come. When I was unhappy back in time, I brought adventures into my mind and lived there until the pain passed, which it always did. I would laugh again with someone over something, find myself on the Tapselteerie track with a few dogs, more children and a walker I didn’t know but who made us all laugh despite the rain. I flew with the geese, swam with an otter while she showed how she could tackle a whole ocean effortlessly. I will do the same with my brother days. I know he is gone. I know I face alone but I have the gift of his visit, our time together, the laughing, the jokes, the sharing, the family bond. I am rich beyond all worldly wealth. My brother showed me how a man can communicate and that I can feel hope for the women of the world. For me he was the fresh spirit that frees the one bottled too long. (not my words)

2 thoughts on “Island Blog – Talk to Me and Brother Days

  1. I could feel the LOVE, Judy! This brought tears of joy for you to my eyes and at the same time a sadness in myself for my only sibling, my brother, passed away 2 years ago at a “young” age. What a true gift that you can hold onto and treasure forever! ~ Susan

  2. What a delight! I too have a precious brother who I seldom see in the flesh, but he is always in my heart and at the end of the phone!

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