I thank you so much dearhearts, for taking the time to write words, to hold out your hands, to wrap you arms around me after my post on my brother. Even to those who did not write ~ I felt so much the waves of love sent.
I wish to share with you the story of my brother. Last night I grieved his loss, today I celebrate his life.
My brother Clinton was my mother’s first born. He was born with brain damage due to complications at birth, as well as some degree of cerebral palsy. My mother left his violent father after my second brother, Brett was born. She left town, and moved hundreds of kilometres north. She met my father a year or so later, at a cattle sale.
Six weeks later, they were engaged (love at first sight) and my brothers grew up on my father’s cattle farm. My parents went on to have me and my two sisters. We grew up as one big happy family.
Yes, there were tough times, and we all learnt our lessons, but we never doubted the love and bond shared between us all.
Clinton had more challenges than the rest of us. He had severe learning disabilities which were not realised until he was 6.
My mother would read endlessly to him ~ to all of us.
And he did his best. He always did his best.
After school he was a grocery boy and later became a cowboy. He travelled, and he moved about to find his happiness.
And he did find his happiness.
He came to nest in a house filled with close friends, also with disabilities, and worked at an Endeavour farm ~ a producing farm that employed people with disabilities. My brother loved it there. At the age of 25, he was the most senior staff there, and had more vehicle licences than my dad ~ bobcat, tractor licences. He found his passion there on the land.
He had the most beautiful girlfriend ~ his coach actually…
My brother was an athlete. He was the Northern Queensland Disabled Sports Team captain. The best all~rounder in Queensland. He was ranked number two in high jump in Australia. He was looking to qualify for the 2000 Paralympics. Sometimes he would joke that he wished he was more disabled, so he could enter in more sports.
He met his biological father, Dave that year too. And Dave welcomed him and my brother with open arms. It was Clinton’s lifelong wish to meet his father, and he did. And it was wonderful, and they were friends, and he found peace in his life. He and my father healed all rifts they’d had during his teenage years.
My brother found peace ~ real peace ~ that year, and those few years that preceeded it. After so many challenges, he came to find acceptance in himself, and saw all the love that was open to him.
My brother was a fighter ~ he was a champion ~ he was a believer ~ and he was my big brother. He was the guy who would come home from the farm for a weekend just to re~tile my grandmother’s floor on her birthday. That was the last time I saw him, actually.
And when he said goodbye to drive back to the farm, he gave me a big big hug, and he smelled his smoky, rusty, musky self. And he tickled me, and he fixed his blue eyes on me and said quite firmly to me ~
“I’ll see you later, Bony.”
A week or so later, he was killed in a farm accident, on the farm that he loved.
That was seven years ago. I was 14, he was 25.
The only thing I remember from the funeral, is my mother seeing Dave, his father again after 20 odd years. And my mother sitting between my brother’s father, and our father, and holding both their hands as the two men sobbed. The tenderness in that moment will stay with me always.
And I am incredibly blessed to have had him in my life.
He taught me so many lessons of achieving, no matter what challenges faced us.
And most days I am grateful for everything ~ every perfect sublime piece of his life, and his death… he connects me with a deeper knowing… an understand that love is a vagabond traveller across barriers of love and death.
And some days, I’m just a sister who wants to hug her big brother again.
It is healing for me to share his story, to honour his life, to speak those words which revive memories.
I was thinking this morning about life, about death.
This day, two years ago, my city of Canberra was ravaged by a massive bushfire, killing four people, burning down 400 houses.
The CEO of MacDonalds, an Australian, passed away at the age of 44 yesterday.
And twenty eight years ago, the Grangeville train disaster occured.
We are still blinking our eyes, startled, comprehending the lives lost in a swirl of Mother Ocean.
And for each of these, there was memorial ceremonies.
Driving in to work, I wondered why it is we still had memorial ceremonies, even years after the event has occurred.
Maybe death helps us to reconnect with life itself.
Death shows us the divinity in life.
It whispers to us: the moments you have here are precious.
one of the girls from the SARK message board, tender ~ Tym, wrote exactly what I was feeling in response to my post about my brother.
She said ~
“It is in the presence of death that we mortal humans find we are more alive than we ever dreamed. It is both horrifying, and harrowing.
We learn not to take our precious moments for granted. We learn how to love with a kind of humility, knowing we have no power over death, we must strive to live more while we are able.
Love of life is a defiance to death. Love of life a beautiful way of behaving as though we are immortal. ”
Amen to that.
And amen, brother.
Love, lyrically, with laughter,