Sunday, March 16, 2008

In honour of my brother

Tomorrow will be ten years since the fateful accident that took my brother and his wife.

Tomorrow I won't be writing here as I will be in hospital for the day. Time to have the stents removed that were placed inside 3 weeks ago.

Tomorrow is also St. Patrick's Day. That Day when Irish and wannabe's lift a pint and say a toast to the Patron Saint of Eire.

In the journey from slave to his exhalted position as the man who converted Ireland from paganism to christianity, many myths abound about St. Patrick's feats. Did he really clear Ireland of all venomous snakes, or is that just an analogy for his having converted so many Druids, who held snakes in great esteem, to Christianity? Did he really use the three leaf shamrock as a way to explain the Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit or is that just part of the folklore that became the legend centuries later?

No one can see the past that has long since departed, just as we can't touch the dead who have left this world. Like St. Patrick's life, in our world today, myths abound, misbeliefs pepper the landscape with tales of how life is tough, life isn't fair, life is not for the weak.

And through it all, it is up to each of us to find our own truth, to uncover the rainbow behind the clouds, pots of gold at the end of every trouble, and four leaf clovers nestled amongst the grass, hidden amongst their three-leafed brethren.

Like St. Patrick, my father wasn't born in Ireland. But he always thought of himself as Irish. Growing-up in our home, St. Patrick's Day was a sacred event. A day to celebrate, to laugh, to party.

Like my father, my brother loved St. Patrick's Day. Perhaps that's why it's fitting that in celebrating the Saint's day, I also celebrate my brother's life that ended too soon. A troubled man who fell hard upon the road of life, my brother was my idol when we were young. Five years older than me, the only boy amidst three girls, he made me laugh, he made me cry. He made me sit up and pay attention. He made me proud. He made me angry. He made me happy. He also drove me crazy. He had this irritating habit of always playing a song on the record player and saying, "Listen to this. Listen to this." and before I could even catch a note, he'd be onto another song, saying, "Listen to this."

It's how he lived his life. Always listening for the next note. Never still. Always interrupting. Disagreeing. Overpowering. Over-bearing. And he was my brother. And I loved him.

My brother loved music. Loved girls too. My girlfriends always wanted to hang out at my house, just in case the dark-haired George appeared. He had a hearty appetite for life. Great generosity of spirit, as well as a love of the spirits that eventually tore apart his peace of mind.

He was a powerful soul, my brother. Passionate, fiery, strong and kind, and in the same breath weak, and troubled and sometimes cruel. And I miss him.

When George and his wife, Ros, left this world ten years ago, they left behind two beautiful daughters, a family who loved them, friends who adored them. They also left a sea of turmoil and angst. In their passing, however, I believe there is only one thing they would have wanted to have left behind, love.

In honour of George, and Ros my sister-in-law, I celebrate their lives with a prayer for peace and harmony in my world today as I surrender, and fall in love with the world around me.

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