Saturday, December 20, 2014

My Star Brother.

"Janey, stop crying it's fine" you said as you carried me in your skinny 12 year old arms. Luckily I was small and not too heavy.
 I had banged my head and blood was seeping out of my forehead onto your grey school jumper. I had managed to crack my head on the school playground slabs. 

Instead of running to the school nurse as all six year old's are supposed to do, I belted it over the 'big' playground to find you, my big brother Jim. You would help.

You immediately hoisted me up, you knew how to carry me, you were the eldest and I was the youngest. You had hauled me on your hip for years.

 I could see the shock in your face as the blood dribbled over my eyebrows and into my eyes. You took your sleeve (who carries hankies?) and wiped my face with such tenderness. 

In seconds my legs were crab like round your waist and my arms locked around your neck. I could feel your heart banging in your chest as you sped up the hilly street towards my house and sat beside me as my mammy washed and looked at the cut on my head.

I still have the scar.

You had scars as well.

The ones on your torso when you got so overweight at twenty and one night slashed your own stomach. Nobody spoke about it. You had scars on your arms when you took to the needle to escape your own life when heroin magically melted away the crap in your existence. 

Then you got thin again and the scars of the years of being an addict took its toll like a map of fear on your skin. You became a problem, you were complicated, angry, confused and sometimes a right pain to be with, but I still loved you.

You got new scars, when the tests for HIV revealed you had more shit running in your veins than you thought was possible and then you got more scars when you developed cancer and a Hickman line protruded out of your collar bone. 

That bone I knew so well, the bone I would rest my head on as a kid when you picked me up.

Your life was full of scars and pain, yet you carried on. 
I remember coming to see you and discovering that all the posters and flyers from my Fringe shows were on your walls beside Oasis and Bryan Ferry. 

You told me I was 'Your Star Child' and sometimes you rubbed the thin line on my forehead and called me 'Your Scar Child'. We laughed and hugged.

I never got to say goodbye to you, you died a few years ago on New Year's Eve down in Colchester near your daughter.

You went suddenly and one of your extended family just put your death up as a Facebook Status and that's how I found out you had left us. 
But in my heart you always were the one that carried me Jim and now I carry you, inside my soul.

My Star Brother.

No comments: