Today’s post is a rather personal one. Today is my big little brother’s 33rd birthday. Except he will be 27 forever – he died of leukaemia nearly 6 years ago. And I mean ‘died’; I cannot stand the expression ‘passed away’. It sounds so random… ‘Oops, I just passed away there, sorry for that!’.
Every year I tell myself that this time, his birthday won’t hit me so bad. First of, he is dead ALL the time and this is just one day of forever. Second and even more importantly, today is a day to celebrate his birth! If it wasn’t for today, I wouldn’t have known what it’s like to be part of a brother-sister-connection. Sometimes my approach works and sometimes it doesn’t. And today it is difficult. I have not spoken a word until an hour ago when I went shopping and nearly started crying when I asked for bread. Before that, I cleaned my apartment like a mad woman, trying to keep myself busy. I have not called my Mum yet because I am scared that I will burst into tears – and I’m sure she feels terrible enough today as it is. So I turn to writing once again because it always helps me, even if no-one should read it.
When I was little, I had always wished for a big brother. Since I was the firstborn, this was kind of out of question. Well, then I wanted a little sister. I imagined a little sister to be a fantastic enhancement of my dolls. She would look very pretty AND she would talk! I was really looking forward to that sister and then I got… a little brother! And I never wanted it to be different again!
At first glance, we are very different – I started talking pretty early and then no-one could stop me; my brother was lazy and did not talk for a long time. When he finally started to talk he had his own language which only he and I understood. He said something like ‘brrrrlllmmmm’ and I said ‘Mum, he wants a drink!’ Maybe this is how my love for languages developed 😉 I was a rather cautious child; my brother jumped right into life. Or into the water even though he had not learned to swim yet and he nearly drowned. Therefore he had to wear water wings, and with them on his arms he tried his first header – which of course did not work and ended with a rather painful belly flop. When he was 6 and finally able to swim, he celebrated it in the icy Baltic sea – which led to pneumonia right in time for his first day at school! School was rather easy for me and I never really had to study a lot. My brother did not study either, he took me as an example, but therefore he had problems in school. And still he always did it somehow and always last-minute!
Still we had a very special relationship. Even though we fought and punched each other, when someone tried to hurt me or him, we would jump right in for each other. We somehow always looked after each other. I had smoked for three years already when I saw my brother smoking at the schoolyard – I nearly hit him in the face for that! I didn’t though because I would have had to throw away my own cigarette 😉 Once I wanted to go out in an admittedly very short skirt and he tried to force me to get changed – I laughed at him as much as he had laughed at me during the cigarette incident. Sometimes I even wanted to believe in telepathy; when something happened to one of us we always sensed it.
My sense of responsibility was different from his though, more extreme and rather unhealthy. I always tried to change things or people even when I was clearly not able to do so. My brother had some sort of healthier egoism when it came to people who were not good for him. I suppose this also came with his illness, you start sorting your life then. When I was at the height of my panic attacks, my brother was one of the few people who tried to understand. And he was already ill then; and I was so ashamed. While he went through chemo after chemo, I was absolutely healthy and still going through mortal fear all the time. He understood, the rest did not.
My brother did of course not have good features only. He was awkward, sometimes unbelievably stubborn and able to be a real arsehole. A human being. He is unique and for me personally the best thing that ever happened to me. He taught me the importance of making the best of all situations and to enjoy life.
Dragonflies play a big role for me ever since he is gone – this will be another story for another day. I have seen quite a few during the past few days. I don’t really believe that it was a sign, but they make me smile and pause for a moment and look at the sky. I don’t know if he is still somewhere, if the soul remains or if everything is just gone. But he is in me. I can still hear his laughter and when I feel lonely, I get me this laughter. Especially on a day like today. It is his birthday and even though I just hurt, I cherish this day because it brought me my big little brother.
Happy birthday, Erik!
Yours very quiet today.
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