Love is the most lasting of emotions.

Hello to you and I hope that you are enjoying your day. I am going to be a lot self-indulgent with my blog today. I hope my topic is something that most of you are yet to go through, losing a loved one. It was twenty-eight years ago today that my little brother passed and I still feel as if it is today. There is less than a year between us so we were best mates as well as siblings. I am going to be a little self-indulgent with today’s blog as I have never really spoken about how hard his death hit me. Many of the people I have met over the years have not realised that he had passed as I speak as if he is still here.

The family was involved in a very serious car accident and BJ clinically passed three times, he was kept alive on life support for over six months and when he was handed back to my parents, the medical team told Mother that she would be better off placing him in an institution. Mum decided that as he was that damaged what could I possibly do to him to make it any worst. Like any loving big sister, I dragged him around behind me to play games, if he could not sit in the trucks etc on his own I would rope him in and then scream the truck full speed around the backyard. Mother told me years later that one of the running games at the baby health clinic was to see who could guess what new game I was playing with Bobby, and just how bruised he would be.

That all changed the day I came home from school for the first time and my little brother said my name. Well it was not has a normal child of three and a half would talk but it was understandable. Mum had him back to the medical team ASAP and it was discovered that BJ had learned how to use the lobes of the brain that would normally lay dormant and whilst his speech was difficult because of the damage to his mouth, his thinking was above standard, for short periods of time. Of course, that meant nothing to me except I had someone who could now yell and scream with me. Like any siblings with a close age break, we were best of mates, yes we would fight but the moment the ‘grown-ups’ showed up it was the united front.

We were like twins, in fact, we were for five days (Bj’s birthday fell on the 10th, and mine was the 16th of the same month), so we always had the birthday party on the same day, we went everywhere together and we had all the same friends. Yes, this does mean that we broke the rules together, but I was the only one to get into trouble because of BJ’s brain damage, my parents deemed I should have taken better care of him. Now do not feel sorry for me, it was generally my idea and BJ always shared any bounty he got, so the belting was worth it.

My brother’s passing was totally unexpected, he had been for a full military medical so he could get a passport and travel visa to go to Russia (pre-wall coming down), and it came back that he was in great shape. We had been out picking up the Christmas present the night before, we grabbed some Chinese takeout and then went back to my place to wrap everything up. After we finished that we watched a movie until my husband got home, then BJ walked home (he lived down the end of the block) to Ma and Pa’s place. I had no idea that would be the last time I would ever see him or I may have said something like “I love you lots kiddo”. It was only after I lost him I realised that I had never said “I love you” to anyone (that is for another blog). It was my middle sister and grandfather who came to my workplace to break the news to me, and I will be perfectly honest I really am very patchy for the next few days, until the actual funeral on the twentieth of December, yep I certainly do not remember that Christmas.

I have never really got my head around the idea that he is no longer here, and I will often find myself talking to him (there have been times I would have sworn that he answered me), and I have visions of what his life would be like if he was here. I know that he would have loved his niece and nephew, and definitely taught them some of those horrible things we did to Mum and Dad, he would still be here so we could get up to no good, except now it would be ’causes’, off to the footy, gym and generally doing all the things that best mates do together.

Whilst I lost the physical aspect of my little brother and best mate, I have retained the love, laughter, and joy he brought into my life.  Yes, his passing has left me with a space in my heart that nothing can fill, but when the pain gets too much I haul out the memories and love that I have interwoven with my kid brother and remember all the wonderful things I have to comfort myself with.


Robert Michael Brayshaw. 10th April 1963 – 15th December 1989. 



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