Tomorrow it is four weeks since my brother Geoff died, and it still seems surreal. I have thought often over these last few weeks about what I would write, if I did write, and then it would hit a nerve and I would back off. Why I think tonight is different I am not sure.
My brother was 3 years and 2 weeks older than me exactly, and he fought a very dignified battle with Motor Neurone Disease which he lost on October 15, aged 46. Which just happens to be my mother’s birthday. I know others may think I am romanticising the occurance but I am sure he chose the date, and the time to let go. I choose to think they are perhaps together now.
As the second child in our family, his death has devastated my older brother – far more than any of us anticipated, including my older brother. They shared a bedroom as lads, and many memories that as a younger sister I was either not around to witness or was too young to remember.
My father is silent about the impact on himself. I know he grieves, but he will not share it. That is his way.
To me, I have these vivid recollections of this wonderfully talented, funny and caring man, and then the startlingly painful realisation he is gone. If this hurts so much for me when I let myself think about it, I cannot imagine the anguish his partner is going through.
My brother was such a charismatic entity, even as a small boy. Everyone enjoyed him – adult and child. Everyone wanted to share his company. Though he was devilish in nature as a boy and teenager, I was always a willing victim to his amusements. There was the vastly unfair wrestling matches (“c’mon and wrestle – I’ll stay on my knees and keep one arm behind my back… for the first 10 seconds”), and his humourous experiments where we would pretend I was blind and he would provide directions… straight into walls. Yet I would line up again and again because he was fun, he was COOL and he was MY brother.
As a teenager, my brother introduced me to Led Zepplin, Slade and Deep Purple, not to mention Jim Beam and dope slightly later on. He partied hard in those days, worked as little as possible and strived exceptionally hard to live his dream as a song-writer and musician. He never met with commercial success, but his passion for music was the constant driver in his life. In his twenties, he played the (dodgy) pub circuit, performing his own music and so was often not paid much, considering himself lucky if the band broke even. Life was to be enjoyed, and it was around this time Geoff declared he would take what fun he could in life as he knew he would never reach 50. He steadily maintained this line throughout his life, even when he received his diagnosis – which he met with ‘knew I was bloody right’.
His fabulous sense of humour saw him through most of his battle, with only the final months beating him down. I miss him.