If I should die before the rest of you,
Break not a flower nor inscribe a stone.
Nor, when I’m gone, speak in a Sunday voice,
But be the usual selves that I have known.
Weep if you must,
Parting is hell.
But life goes on,
So…….. sing as well.
Joyce Grenfell, actress and writer (1910 – 1979)
Today I am taking a moment to pause and reflect on the life of my brother Simon. My blog is usually a cheerful happy place, and one of celebration, but it is also my personal space to share things, so I hope you won’t mind that I have chosen to share some deeply personal images today.
My brother died suddenly from a heart attack on the 29th December, he was just 44. Because he lived close by I was able to quickly collect my mum and get to his home. When we arrived the paramedics were still there trying to save him, however when I saw him I felt an overpowering sensation that his soul was ‘lifting’ away. I was once a nurse and I have been with the dying, but I have never felt that sensation before. Perhaps that is where the notion of heaven being above originates from? I feel such sorrow that I was not able to say goodbye to him, although I did kiss him goodbye. Watching my poor mum bend to do the same was just dreadful, as the saying goes; ‘no parent should ever have to bury their child’.
The morning after he left us I couldn’t understand how the sun could still rise, it was such a beautiful sunrise as well, which seemed in stark contrast to the way I felt inside. I am also sat here wondering how 10 days could have gone by since that dreadful night. The only way I can make sense of this tragedy is to remember all that was good. The jokes and the laughter and his unique and charismatic ways. He will live on in our memories and always be a part of our lives. His 10 year old son will continue to be his greatest achievement and I will remember Simon each time I see a cheeky glint in his eye.
I was a nurse, my mum was a nurse, we so wish we could have saved him. Simon lived just a few minutes from a cardiology center of excellence with an amazing angioplasty facility, but coronary heart disease is a ‘silent killer’, and none of these things could save him. Please, if you have never had a cholesterol check, no matter what age you are, go and get one.