Broere - IMSM

You would have been 50 today

You would have been 50 today.

You and I would have joked about grey hair, colourful walking sticks and a return to simpler things. In your absence, MS already laid claim to these, and I am sure you would have given me endless tips on what kind of stickers would need to end up on the stick to ‘stay a rarity in world.’

But, when you were 35, without as much as a warning, a scythe and cloak announced your death. Like a lightning rod sliced through quiet moments, life’s selfish greed stepped in, and cut short your story as if that were to be the only remarkable meaning to your life. It became a narrative that only deserves to be told by those who saw your worth, and looked beyond life’s vanity and arrogance.

You would have been 50 today.

Acceptance only begins when all is said and done but the story of Mum, you, and I was still unfolding, yet now undone in more than the past and the present. Your future in Mum’s and my life erased by a yet to be revealed invisible chaos and hubris, unwilling to be woken up from the storm and dark days that were forced upon us.

Just like that. 


Like a word that lost its meaning, a bond that had a beginning offered no explanation why it needed to end. Like threatening thunder in grey skies, seeking answers scare us into tears, and the idea of using your name or life in vain is still unforgivable. Your life, gone, without warning. So, we wait. Perhaps, for an answer that lies beyond our pain, our comprehension. Tired as we are, we wait for closed books to open to read your version of the truth.

You would have been 50 today. 

You lived. 

We lived. 

We laughed. 

We loved. 

We love. 

Mum and I will never forget you were a soul too good for this world. It would have been a god-damn extraordinary 50 years if your heart and mind had been allowed to live.

You are 50 today. 

Thank you for the 35 years you shared with me. We never fought because we knew there wasn’t time, space, or reason to do so.

Thank you for being you. For being the best brother in the worst of times when, on the same day your brain tumour was treated, I was told I had MS. Yet, you comforted me.

Thank you for the hugs, the secrets we had to share, and the tears you cried when you said, “I am so proud of you. Where the hell did you find the strength to chase your dreams and move to Ireland?”

I needed you always. My big brother. My only sibling. My reason for marching on. I am now doing things you told me you wanted to do. You even got me as far as going to a U2 concert in my Dublin, with your Belgian U2 fan club mates. I did so twice and had the time of my life, even though I hated Bono (I just wished he’d stop playing God).

I still need you today. That is why you are 50 today. 

You live, I live, I keep you alive in all that I am and do.

Or, like U2’s One song:

“One love.
One blood
One life
You got to do what you should
One life
With each other
One life
But we’re not the same
We get to carry each other
Carry each other.”

(By the way, I prefer Adam Lambert’s version of One).

Just like you, I don’t believe in heaven or hell, but I still cannot wait to meet up with you if remotely possible. I know we will debate about just about anything, and go from library to library to fall silent and read for hours.

I’m sure we would also talk about why insidious disdain would later steal more than just your life, something you would have prevented if you had the chance. I wish you were still here. Alive. Without the pain.

Still, happy birthday, big brother. Unwittingly, we do still carry each other. I hope there’s a guide up in the sky who takes you from world to world, on the sounds of who else, U2. And if so, please give Mum and me a sign, just one word or move, to let us live in your reality once again. 

Love you forever,
Your sis.

For more: My Brother’s Silence


Badge winner Best Blog Post 2018 Ireland Blog Awards by Ashville Media)2018 Winner Best Blog Post with ‘3443 Needles’, Blog Awards Ireland, Ashville Media Group, Dublin, Ireland

◾ Everyday Health: Top 10 MS Blogs to Follow in 2020
◾ Feedspot: Top 50 MS Blogs to follow in 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017
MyTherapy: Multiple Sclerosis Blogs: 10 of the Best in 2019
Everyday Health: Top 10 MS Blog of 2018
MyTherapy: Best MS Blog for Simplicity 2018
◾ Ireland Blog Awards: Finalist 2014, 2015, 2017



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