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My brother Simon

by alex brownbill

My older brother passed earlier this year. Nothing hits you quite as hard as someone close you to dying. This is greatly heightened if that death is unexpected. I feel that it is also true that you often don’t really discover the person until they’re gone. The perspectives from friends, family and work colleagues are suddenly available to you all at once in a way that cannot be replicated otherwise. The perspective of him you held becomes a thread in the tapestry of their life. Your certainty of his character is altered and augmented by 300 others. He wasn’t as quiet and reserved as you thought. He loved the ocean much more than you knew. He was revered and feared by his sub-contractors. He was the best in the business of building commercial properties. He was deeper in to the black hole of depression than most realised.

The hole that is left where he once stood is large and layered. No more boss, no more business partner. No more son, no more father. No more husband, no more brother. The hole is permanent, and this is one of the most difficult things to comprehend. For those whom he touched, learning to navigate the hole is the practise of a lifetime. It will always be a reminder of what could have been.

The confidence that life is “just where it should be” is often an illusion; one easily shattered and at times where life is suddenly stripped back to the very raw and real, it becomes clear what really matters. Family, connection and purpose. The rest fades away to insignificance.

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