Random Access Memory

A combination of having all my time taken up with work, end of year socialising, and an overseas visitor staying at my house, means I’ve had no time to write on my blog lately, so I just grabbed a moment this afternoon to go through my drafts, trying to locate a post that I could tinker with a bit and post.

I came across this one, which was almost complete and last updated in July 2012. I don’t know what stopped me from posting it at that time, but since I still think about my little brother every day – I decided to made a few small edits and post it today.


It still happens. A random line in a song, or a casual remark about anything at all, can change my mood from light to heavy, or start  tears welling in my eyes.

It would be impossible, on many of these occasions, even for someone who knows me well, to grasp what the tenuous connection is that my mind has conjured in less a fraction of a second, from something that has just been said or heard, to the fact that my younger brother has died. In the blink of the proverbial eye, I will have tracked, as though I had mapped it out with a piece of string and a pin, the indirect link from a casual remark, to the point on the map that says, “John is not here anymore.”

It’s a point that so much still comes back to.

Recently it was a Spandau Ballet song, Chant No.1. It was on in the background while I was working, and  suddenly a long forgotten memory floated up to my consciousness. I remembered that once, as a teenager, I sat in a cinema and heard this song playing as the credits rolled on a film. I had taken two of my younger brothers in to town on the bus, to see a kid’s film. This is the sort of thing you do when you are the oldest of 6 siblings. I had 4 younger brothers, but it would have been the youngest two,  John, and my youngest brother, P, that I took to town with me that day.

That is all I remember of that day: the final credits rolling, and the Spandau Ballet song playing. Who knows why that little 10-second snippet of my life stuck somewhere deep in the back of my brain, to rise up again some 25 or so years later?Perhaps it made me feel sophisticated and knowledgable around my little brothers, the fact that I recognised the song and even knew the words. Perhaps it was the rock music that played over the closing credits that I liked the best out of the whole outing.

In between the millions of distractions in my life I think frequently, and am reminded just as frequently, of my brother, who died 10 months ago. So it is with a tinge of sadness that I take note when someone lands on my blog after entering a search term like the one someone searched today, “my brother died early will I ever see him again?”.

Dear reader, I’m so sorry that your brother died.

In answer to your question, you will see him again, in your dreams, which will sometimes stay with you for a little while after you wake, causing you feel as if his presence is still around you. You’ll also see powerful images of him that will pop into your head suddenly and unexpectedly during your waking hours, often in the strangest, most incongruous places – such as when you are standing in the supermarket staring at the tinned tuna, or at the gym, staring at the weights you are pulling up and down. Suddenly you will almost see him sauntering towards you.

This happens to me quite often in those very places, despite the fact that he never came to our local supermarket with me, nor to the (ladies only) gym I attend. I suppose it’s because those are moments when my mind is not focussed on anything in particular, and while it’s in that open state, he comes wandering in.

But the answer is also, no. Although I’d be very willing for someone to correct me on this, everything seems to suggest that you and I will never see our brothers again the way we want to see them – corporeal, and alive.

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  1. My brother died 5 years ago, although I keep on hoping he might just walk in the room some day, it hasn’t happened yet. That sort of thing makes life sad sometimes.


  2. I hear you! I’m thinking of another post along these lines, because I just spent a week down near Wilson’s Prom, and the last time I holidayed there 4 years ago, he came with us, so it held a lot of random memory moments – the most ridiculous (to an outside observer) was that taking our rubbish to the rubbish dump made me cry, because I could clearly recall doing that last time when he was with us.



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