Friday, 20 April 2012
An Honest Friend
The events of recent weeks have been completely tumultuous - life-changing in all probability, I suspect.
The sudden death of my younger brother, Kevin, came like a bolt out of the blue - and since my last post on the blog site I have been to Canada (and back) - where family and friends said their final farewells to Kevin - following his fatal motorbike accident in Bolivia.
Yet what started as a terrible tragedy - turned out to be a hugely positive, uplifting experience - which is not at all what I imagined.
Because while there were tears of sadness, for sure - what shone through in the end were all the funny stories and happy memories - as people spoke from the heart of their friend and a life well-lived.
At the packed celebration of Kevin's life in Whistler - instead of a minute's silence we had a really noisy, raucous minute of applause - which went down an absolute storm with the Canadian audience - who clapped and cheered and hollered their enormous love and affection - for their fallen friend.
And now as the dust begins to settle - I know within myself that things have changed - quite possibly forever.
Now how things will change I'm not sure at the moment - all I can say is that this feels like one of life's great crossroads - so it's time to take stock and think before taking the next step.
Kevin was the youngest of our family of five boys - a grown man of course, a very experienced traveller - more able than me in all sorts of ways - well able to look after himself even in difficult situations.
Yet for all that there is still a huge sense of remorse at losing the 'baby' of the family - a strangely powerful and painful emotion - no doubt borne of the fact that Kevin's four 'big' brothers were all completely powerless to do anything - to save or help their younger sibling.
I suppose it's all part of the grieving process - of coming to terms with the loss of someone whose life ended so abruptly and unexpectedly - so very far away and all on his own - without that one final chance to say goodbye.
So if there's a lesson for me in these events it is to enjoy life's journey - to stop fretting about some goal or final destination - and make the most of what you've got now.
Because that's what Kevin was all about - and here's a poem from Robert Burns that describes my younger brother perfectly - in fact to a tee.
A Bottle and and Honest Friend - by Robert Burns
Here's, a bottle and an honest friend!
What wad ye wish for mair, man?
Wha kens, before his life may end,
What his share may be of care, man.
Then catch the moments as they fly,
And use them as ye ought, man:
Believe me, happiness is shy,
And comes not ay when sought, man.
My sincere thanks to all the readers who sent their condolences in recent days - your kind words were greatly appreciated.