One year ago

One year ago, my brother left us.

One year ago. Today. Christmas Eve. That evening, as a family, we were in the hospice with him, and I drove away mid-evening to go home and get some food, and shortly after I got home, I got the call.

Many years ago, almost to the day, my mother and I left a ward in the Royal Hampshire County Hospital on the night of Christmas Day, 2000, we drove home, went to bed, and just after midnight, the telephone rang. I took that call. Boxing Day, 2000. That was the night that my father died.

Cancer is a fucker, and brain tumours are terrible, terrible things, and more research is needed, and more science is needed, but we’ve moved on so far already from 20 years past. That doesn’t make our family experience any better, it’s just a statement – please help to donate to good cancer charities that are funding science to help to improve these things.

Stu and I were never BEST friends, but especially after I left home for university, we were friends. Good friends. We’d bonded before that over video games (he was the one back in the 80s who had the TV in his room, and the SNES, and the PS1, and we played Metal Gear Solid and Super Mario Kart and all sorts sitting on his bed). When I went to university away from home for the first time and felt lonely, I wrote him letters, with song lyrics that spoke to me at the time. Looking back, firstly I can’t even imagine writing letters anymore (email, anyone?!) but, also, I remember when Pulp Fiction came out in the cinema and at the same time Pulp the indie band were becoming big, and they had the hit Common People, and Stu insisted the Pulp song was from the Pulp Fiction movie that he hadn’t seen… 🤣

The night before Stu got married, he and I were just at his place and we played video games and had a few beers and we were brothers and that just felt brilliant and all our teenage and pre-teen rivalries weren’t even relevant.

We bonded more with his children becoming part of my life, and me becoming closer to his inherited family, all of whom are the most wonderful people.

I’m writing this today, because I love him; and I miss him; and he was a stupid silly fun bloke who loved his family more than everything and anything else. And he was ridiculously clever and knew more about finance and insurance and basically anything technical that wasn’t to do with computers, than I will EVER know. Please forgive me this indulgence.

I love you Stu, and we all miss you, and this stupid biological nonsense is not fair to anyone, not least your incredible girls. You’ve left them such a fabulous platform and legacy and set of principles. You’ll never cease to be proud, my friend, and I’ll never cease to be your brother and to look after your girls.

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