Wednesday, September 10, 2014
John Richard Lightowlers - 25/02/1948 to 8/9/2014
My mind is spinning in on itself, memories crashing into each other like bumper cars made of great times but powered by grief.
My big brother has died.
He left us on Monday. He was alone but he should have been with me. Or Amy. Or Adam. Or Abbie.
But he wasn’t. He was in hospital, alone and scared.
He was beautiful, maddening, brilliant, evasive, wonderful, frustrating, kind, generous, warm, loving. He was always there and now he isn’t. I just turned around, and he was gone.
I always thought there would be more times, more beers, curries, rows, laughs. But there aren’t any more any things. There is just us, the left behind, wondering what happened.
All my life, from the moment I was born, he has been there. There’s a picture of him, looking nervous holding a screaming child, me, and that is how it stayed. Him holding me. He was the pathfinder, the louche smoker, the first drink with. I am Stones because he was Stones, never Beatles. The so many times my defender, and I was his excuse to escape from the monotony of a boarding school he’d begged my parents not to send me to; his little, sickly, brother. When they didn’t listen he appeared and I basked in his outsider reputation and like all younger siblings I emulated him and exaggerated it.
The days before constant communication we communicated every day and as the methods of communication increased we seemed to talk less. Our twenties were wild, I walked in his footsteps but when he turned into grow up street I just kept going. I’ll never know now what he felt. Did he feel that he had to be the adult? Maybe all he wanted was to explode but life has a habit of damping the fuse and blowing out the fires. One minute you’re fighting your way through a crowded bar, calling for service, shouting, laughing, carousing and you turn away for a moment and suddenly you have responsibilities. He had no problem bearing them for me but he would never let me carry his, ever.
I love you John. After Dad died I made a point of telling you that every time we spoke. I love you. In his last days Dad said look after your big brother, he’s lost his way. But you were in the fog already.
I never stopped wanting your approval, your assurance, and now you’ve gone. They say that you can choose your friends but you can’t choose your family.
If I had been able to choose I would have chosen you.
Love Nick x