Homeward bound: I thank you and I miss you

I had a brother. I could not imagine my life without him. He was the mentor and model of my childhood. He taught me everything I needed to know in my earlier years, things that I still remember today: how to play games, try different experiences without fearing, look far away to face the unknown, negotiate softly, listen to music, impress a girl and even how to turn something unpleasant into a pleasure.

I learned from him what courage is, how to overcome any weaknesses and how to stop sharing my tears in public. He was the closest friend I ever had, always next to my parents and me.

Christmas was his favourite moment of the year. Sharing these words around Christmas, in his loving memory, may make him a little happy wherever he is, perhaps light-years away.

I only regret that I could not be with him before leaving. I wanted to remind him how much I loved and appreciated him. I took it for granted that he had to be next to me, watching and helping me. He left some years ago but he is still alive in my memories and everything surrounding me.

He was not strong at school, but he knew better than me how to deal with bullying, things normally happening at school. He protected me until one day when he told me: “It’s time to learn how to be on your own now”.

We were brothers, but business was always business. I also learned that from him. Our first deal was for me to help him with homework while he helped me understand how to craft things around the house. He was gifted and always had original ideas to make things simpler and make them work. Even my father and grandfather looked at him with admiration when he came up with simpler solutions to fix complicated domestic things.

Given his talent for tools and crafts he chose to become a precision turner. And he managed to leave the village and move to a big city where, in three years, he became what he wanted. He used to come back home for school breaks and I remember all my family waiting for him and saying: “We will fix that as soon as your brother gets home. He will, for sure, find a solution”. I admired him for his magic hands and ideas. I could not be like him, and he could not be like me, but we manage to do many things together in perfect harmony.

My brother in 1974

My brother in 1974

Every time when he came back home for holidays, I was looking forward to getting all kinds of news from the whole world. He shared what was new in his adoptive city, so to me he was the messenger of a world behind the horizons.

We often did not need words to communicate. We were able to read our minds quickly and make the next steps together safely without detailing any plans. He was an amazing playmate. He always let me, his younger brother, win, so he gave me the chance to taste the victory joy and pleasure, which I always shared with him.

Years passed by. We got married, so we left our home place. Each of us got his own family. I knew he was always there for me. Always ready to listen to me. Someone to share my dreams with, but also my failures and joys. Someone ready to give me the most valuable piece of advice whenever I needed.

Memories are the food of the present to treasure the past and the energy needed to face the future. I treasure all the memories with my brother as long as I live to remember him the way he was: kind, faithful, honest, modest, with a sharp sense of humour, generous and spontaneous.

I was not next to him when he passed away. I hope he remembered how much I loved him and how thankful I am for everything he meant to me, the elder brother who showed me how to shape my path in life.

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