Monday, 24 October 2011

saying god bye

I said goodbye to my brother today, not in a terminal way, but in a, I don’t know when I will see him again sort of way. I should be used to saying good bye to him not knowing when I will see him again, because I have been doing it since he was a teenager. At a time when not every house had a telephone, and if they did it would only be used for transatlantic calls for special celebration days and bad news, my brother moved to America. He fell in love with an American girl in his class at school aged about 14, and followed her when her family took her back to Oregon and broke my father’s heart.

As some of you know my mother died when we were all young, Paul, the only boy, but not the youngest, was only four years old; but our dad was determined he would keep his four children together as a family and he worked hard to keep that pledge. We grew up a very close family because of it, and he felt all that hard work had been dashed when my brother decided to follow his heart and leave these shores.

The last time we were all together was in August at our father’s funeral, and I didn’t know then when I would see him again either when he returned home. That visit was bitter sweet, and as lovely as it was to see him the reason he was here was to share a tremendous sorrow that changed our world, which also served to reminded us all that we are now the older generation and we none of us know what our allotted amount of time will be. We are all hovering around the age our grandfather and uncle had been when struck down with heart attacks.

Then a friend with masses of spare air miles offered them up to enable him and his wife to attend our nephew’s wedding in Preston last weekend, and they spent a few days with us here in Cornwall afterwards. Even after all these years he still gets horribly home sick for England and a little bit of him would like to stay, also Lostwithiel has woven its magic in his heart.

There is three years difference between my brother and me and because he was the sibling I got on best with in the later part of our childhood, and despite how revolting he could be, that was the age gap I chose for my children. He has an American wife (his childhood sweetheart) and is the father of four sons and grandfather to three grandsons and that will keep him in the states, he is a loving, kind, thoughtful, funny, handsome, talented, and hardworking man (and he will laugh at me for saying it) and despite him having been gone all this time I miss him everyday he is not here.

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