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 my 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.


22 thoughts on “To Junior

  1. So sorry for your loss, Dylan. Thinking of you and your family at this time. I too have relatives all over the place and there are one or two I haven’t spoken with in a while, but the older we all get, the more important family becomes as we start to lose people. And it’s not entirely blood that makes a family, it’s shared memories. Keep them and share them well. All the very best X

  2. So sorry to hear this, Dylan, thinking of you and your sister. I’m glad she has a strong support network and I’m sure your beautiful words will comfort her. My brother lives in Australia, and while I’m glad that our generation have the opportunity to move away from our roots, I miss him. Thanks for such a moving post.

  3. Food for thought Dylan. Firstly though, my condolences.

    I don’t come from a close family, or even any family, being an only child. I think our opportunities to seek life outside our immediate environment are almost mandatory, and I have enjoyed my independent life. I look at my Spanish neighbours where three generations and three separate families spend virtually all day together, and seem none the worse for it.

    I couldn’t have done it with my family, but the environments are very different. I think the value in close, ie literally close, family is for older people who remain valued and not chucked out past their sell by date.

    Apologise if it’s slightly off topic, but I was addressing the geographical closeness or not of families. I have an uncle I never met (australia), his children ie my cousins, and other relatively close ones I’ve not met. It’s good that your sister does have lots of real people around her. And knows she has you there for her too.

  4. Dylan, I am so sorry to hear of your family’s loss. Your post is one that we can all benefit from reading, a reminder as to what is truly important. Sending you hugs & hoping you find peace in your heart.

  5. Your post moved me too, Dylan, and I’m so sorry for your loss and your sadness. It’s easy to take those who are close to us (emotionally even if not physically) and those we love, for granted. We imagine they will always be there. Death forces us to acknowledge they won’t, and the sense of loss you’re feeling for yourself and especially for your sister is every reason for more cuddles in your home. I imagine the blogosphere will be full of cyber-hugs this afternoon for you too, Dylan.

  6. Thank you for sharing your memories and thoughts with us. I’m sorry for the loss of your brother-in-law. I too have a family separated by long distances and miss the random opportunities that arise from physical togetherness. Your advice rings true, every moment has to count.

  7. My thoughts are with your sister, her children and your family, Dylan.
    My own family is scattered wide, my friends geographically distant. When they hurt, that distance seems too far.

  8. So sorry for your trouble, Dylan. My family is spread very thin across the globe too. It’s at times like this that you realise how strong the link is, even when it’s an invisible one.

  9. Sorry for your loss. I watched my best friend lose his dad to cancer years ago – tough to be a part of. I also know what you mean about missing loved ones. My brother lives in the Czech Republic and we Skype often, but it really isn’t the same. Hang in there.

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