To Junior

As I write this I’m not sure if I’ll post or not, but if you’re reading this then I guess I have.

Yesterday I learnt my brother-in-law died. He’d had cancer for a number of years and had recently gone downhill quite fast, so while we knew it was coming this knowledge did nothing to lessen the shock, especially as he was a number of years younger than myself. We share the same name so when we first met I christened him Junior.

I can’t say I knew Junior well, we only met a couple of times because we live on either side of the Atlantic from each other, and his relationship with my sister was complex, but one thing I did know was their love for each other was never in any doubt. He was a strong man, loved the outdoors, and spent most of his life guiding people down the white water rapids of the Arkansas river in Colorado, which makes the fact that he was brought down so young particularly bitter. While he had his brash, outgoing side – playing lead guitar in the band with which my sister sang and my brother played keyboard – he was one of life’s thinkers and often needed time to himself. He was a wonderful father to his two sons.

My family are spread out across the globe, a fact that normally doesn’t bother me as it’s been this way for almost as long as I can remember, but it’s at times like these I wish we all lived closer. Shit, at times like these I wish we all lived in the same town, the same street, even. While the wonders of technology have made sure that families can stay in contact, you can’t Facetime a hug, or make drinks, hold a hand or catch someone as they are about to fall. I know my sister is surrounded by loving and supportive people, including my mother, brother and many, many friends. I know she’s a strong person, much stronger that I would have been having to face up to┬ámy soul-mate’s terminal decline, but it doesn’t stop me wishing I was there with her now. I love you, sister.

It’s a shame it takes an event as painful as this to make you reassess what’s important in life, but I guess that’s just a consequence of how we live nowadays. While I’ve never been shy of showing affection to my children, I think they both might be a little surprised just how many extra cuddles they get over the coming days.

If I have posted this and you have read this far, and there is a loved one you haven’t contacted, spoken to or held recently, why don’t you do something to change that. Pick up the phone or pay them a visit. Let them know how much you love them. Love is, after all, the most important thing.