A year ago Ken, my brother, died. He was preceded by his wife, Audrey, who died shortly after falling from her high-lift wheel chair, having forgotten to fasten her seat belt. Ken busied himself in his church but loneliness soon overtook him. He slipped into dementia and soon died. It seems that their lives were so intertwined that for him, at least, there was little life apart from Audrey.
Ken came along about four years after me. I can remember him lying in his crib. I had a small rubber hatchet and I tried to chop him with it before mother intervened. I'm sure there are many more happier episodes to remember but that's the one that sticks. I never learned how to be a nurturing older brother. It wasn't a conscious decision. Our lives from the beginning seemed to run in different directions. We loved each other. That was clear, but we were never close. Four years.
Through the years we visited, mostly around holidays. Audrey was a hugely successful cook and brought her South Louisiana Cajun specialties to the Thanksgiving table often. When distance prevented more frequent visits we talked on the phone. After our parents died there was little to share but we talked a few times throughout the year. My life took me away and he remained in place.
I wish I could remember where I read it that as long as your name is remembered you are still alive. Sounds like magical thinking to me but I wish that talking about Ken would bring him back. Then all those names of all those loved ones, many gone before they should have, come to mind and my eyes cloud with tears. Ken - I miss you.