I went quiet for awhile on social media over the last couple of months, and the truth is, it's because of a sad and tough thing.
In May I lost my big brother, Ian. A couple of weeks after I started a new full time job. Bad timing for everything. Bad bad timing. Could there possibly have been a good time? Of course not. No. But it should have been later. Much much later.
Ian was only 11 months older than me, we lived in different cities, different provinces, thousands of miles apart. But I always knew he was THERE. Living his life. Being Ian. I felt his presence as I feel my distant family's presence every day and in many ways.
He was sick in his last year. But I kind of didn't want to admit how sick. And I don't think he did either. In October he moved from his hometown, Vancouver BC and went to Winnipeg, where he'd finished his law degree many years ago, and where my big sister and her family and my parents live. He meant to take his Masters in Law in Winnipeg, and he wanted to travel. He got accepted into the Masters program and that made him happy. But he was getting sicker.
He got worse. And still, I didn't know quite how bad things were from my safe distance. And then in May I got a call. Come home. Ian is in the hospital. My younger brother in Ottawa and I both flew out the next morning.
After that things went pretty blurry. He was indeed very very sick. I arrived in time to see him in the hospital while he was still lucid. He still wanted a shot at getting better, but things looked so terribly grim.
I got a chance to say some things I wanted to say, but he slipped quickly and I didn't get a chance to say them all. His hospital stay was horrific, and it made my family furious and sad. But I got to see him and talk to him, and for that, I am very very grateful. Over a long few days, he slipped into a coma. I had to fly home, return to work and then a few days later I got a text from my mom. Call me, she wrote. And of course. I knew.
It wasn't a pleasant death for my brother. He fought valiantly, and he fought hard, but his body was working against him. I don't think he went very willingly. He was stubborn and he had things he wanted to do. Travel. Get that Master's degree.
I miss him. I miss him being in the world. I didn't see him often enough, but I always knew he was there. Out there. Being Ian.
Brilliant. Funny. Curious. Weird. Eccentric. Full of life and piss and vinegar. Bouncing though life like Tigger, I often called him Eeyore. Because. Ian.
He was my brother. We loved each other as brother and sister's do, and we knew each of us was out there. Doing our thing. If things were going well for him, I cheered for him on the sidelines, when things were rough for him, my heart ached. And I knew he did the same for me.
He lived for 50 years. It was a life. But not long enough. He loved. He had girlfriends, a wife. That didn't last but I truly thought his true happiness was around the corner. I was waiting for him to find what or who he deserved.
He touched people. So. Many. People. After he was gone, so many came forward and told my family what he had meant to them. And I know he would have been surprised. At the impressions he made and the way he made people feel. He was unassuming and modest. And he was just being Ian.
After his death, my sister discovered that he kept everything that people ever sent him. Letters. Cards. Notes. Tickets to special events. He kept them all. And my sister returned them. Little gifts for many people in his life, a look back at times and memories frozen long ago.
He was many things. He had many talents. And GOD he could write. Brilliant. Scathing. Hilarious. I think that was on his list. No, it was on his list. Writing. And there are pieces of it out there. Pieces of him he's left behind. Words. Impressions. Feelings. And many many other gifts he gave, without even knowing he gave them. Over the last months, I've laughed and I've cried and I've been shocked by his absence. It has put many things into perspective and I've even seen sides of him I didn't get to see when he was living. I miss him.
Uncle. Friend. Cousin. Son. Brother. Boyfriend. Grandson. Co-worker. Mentor. Lawyer. Manager. Team mate. Ex.