Wednesday, June 23, 2010

35 years + 6 days

That's how old I am today. It was my birthday last week. On Thursday, my day off! I don't think I've ever had so many "Happy Birthday"s via Facebook and email and SMS. Thanks everyone.

But it is tinged with a little sadness, I have to say. Besides the usual "Oh gawd, I'm getting old" grumpiness that accompanies the passing years, of course. (I mean, wow! 35! I've had this blog for five and a half years! This morning on the train I saw a lady attempt to stand up for another lady who honestly didn't look that old... How long will it be before people are standing up for me? Except for those very chivalrous few.)

Today I am as old as my eldest brother ever was.

He got to 35 years + 6 days before he was killed in a car accident on his way home from work one Friday evening. "Accident" is used lightly - the driver of the semi-trailer was off his nut on methamphetamines and drove along on the wrong side of the road for a good couple of hundred metres before squashing two cars and killing their drivers instantly. In a way it was lucky that both cars only contained one person - there was ample opportunity for him to kill many more people, as I found out during the court case a couple of years later (they charged him for murder, eventually settling for manslaughter), listening to the testimonies of the 60+ witnesses.

I went through this blog and realised that even though I'd mentioned him a couple of times I'd never really talked about the tragedy which devastated our family while at the same time brought us closer together. There was only one grandchild then. Only two of us were married. I was 23.

Of course my parents still feel his loss keenly. I don't think it's something a parent would ever get over. The rest of us keep busy (there have been 9 children added to the brood since then!) but I think he is always there in the back of our minds.

I think of him when I hear/read T.S. Eliot, reminded of his patience helping me study for my final high school English exams. I thought of him the other day at work when there was talk about the "Hall effect" - some electronics/physics thing which I know he would have had no trouble explaining to me. He would be absolutely amazed at the incredible technological advances over the past twelve years. He would be horrified at my love of Apple computers and products (but possibly would have been swayed - he loved his gadgets). It's so hard to imagine what things would be like now if he was still around.

So anyway. That's the story of my eldest brother Arthur. Just thought I'd share.


Bianca said...

Jen, Happy 35 and 6 days Birthday to you. I'm sorry it is such a sad day for you. It sounds like your brother was a top guy and a great big brother.


Jen said...

Thanks, Bianca!