In The Guardian yesterday there was an article by Tom Connolly “We got it right. We’ve been good brothers”. It is a very moving account of his close relationship with his older brother, Pip who died at the age of 50 in 2010. Tom has realised that this year he reaches an age whereby he will be older than the last time he saw his brother. Having spent his whole life looking up to his brother and taking his advice on everything, he feels that he is entering unknown territory – how can he experience an age his brother never did? Who will tell him how to handle what life might throw at him.
Tom misses his brother terribly and he remembers a very moving moment they shared together when Pip knew he was dying. They held each other and reiterated their love for each other. Tom told his brother that he didn’t want Pip to die and couldn’t imagine life without him. Pip admitted that he could never have watched his little brother die and was relieved that it was this way around. They had the opportunity to say many of the things we never get around to saying to each other – always thinking that there will be time for that.
I remember when my brother was seriously ill in a London hospital and everything looked pretty hopeless. I remember travelling there from Bristol and knowing that I had to tell him I loved him. Coming from a family which wasn’t big on saying what we feel, I knew I had to overcome my reluctance because I might never have this opportunity again and I would forever regret not doing so. In fact, when I saw him lying in his hospital bed, so close to death, the words came easily. My brother recovered miraculously but I never regret that moment we shared in the private hospital room. Whatever happens in the future my brother knows that I love him.
Tom Connolly misses his brother so much that he has fantasised that somehow he will see his brother on his birthday and this led him to think about what he would say if he could have one more hour with his Pip. Thinking back to that conversation they had, Tom is lucky to realise that he doesn’t have anything unsaid that he needs to resolve with Pip. He would just like to look at him, hold him and walk with him. And perhaps to tell him one more time how much he is loved.