I think it’s fair to say that over the past 15 years, my brothers and I have drifted apart, and we are not as close as we once were.
We enjoyed a happy, if slightly unusual childhood, we all got on and all turned into reasonably well adjusted human beings. But things change, I moved to London, and we don’t see each other as often as we want.
This photo was taken when Regan married Lorna a few years ago. It was a great day of laughing, celebrating and general silliness.
Then something big happens. Like getting told you have Cancer. The first time round, in October 2013, everyone thought that it was just a lump (no pun intended) in the road. A small hiccup. Pick yourself up, dust yourself down, crack back on. Nothing to worry about. Modern medicine is great. That’s what was supposed to happen. The statistics are on my side. We had all the time in the world to see each other. During one of our visits, I was chatting to Callum asking what he was planning for his 40th birthday. I’d joked that I’d just like to be alive on my 40th. I didn’t actually mean it, I thought I would be around for decades. These things happen to “other people”.
In the last week, unbeknownst to me, Ross had been in cahoots with Callum and Regan, and at 10am on Friday morning after driving for over 200 miles, they arrived on my doorstep. They had come for the day to see me, because now it’s important. Now we don’t have the luxury of time on our hands. They were armed with meals, care packages, and stuff for the kids.
We chatted about this and that for a little while and then got on to the Big Stuff. Callum had a look at my MRI images, trying to see what the doctors had decided was suspicious, he may have been able to see something, but it gave him something solid to focus on. It was so hard telling them that this disease, that was supposed to be a minor glitch, was going to get the better of me, and there was nothing I could do about it. That was tough. Very tough.
So what do you do after that? Well you go to the pub next door, get sausage baguettes, get a hug off the land lord, and laugh about what we got up to as kids. Remind ourselves that we had years of shared, happy, history, that needs to be passed on to our kids. My kids might live ‘Down South’ but they still needs to have connections to their cousins ‘Up North’. Callum and Regan need to make sure that this happens.
A short while later, the school run is done and Imy and Felix are excited to see their Uncles and it’s not long before Top Trumps is being played, sweets are being eaten and the cheekiness starts. At this point, I start to snooze, but as everything seems to be under control, there is no issue and Callum tells me to carry on.
Before long, it’s time for them to say goodbye, so more hugs, and we wave them off.
It was great to see them. We talked more on that day than we had in years. It was good, I enjoyed it. I do love my brothers, I need them to know that. I’ll be looking forward to squeezing Max when I see him next week.
Hopefully once we’ve got some of the pain under control, I’ll be able to go on a visit to see them. Create some more shared, happy memories.