Tonight DS wanted to read 'The BFG' at bed time...

(42 Posts)
tunnocksteacake Sun 30-Jun-13 20:25:16

...He's only four and was very tired so I thought this was a tad ambitious, but I got the hardback copy my mum and dad gave to me recently as part of a big box of my and my siblings' old books.

What I didn't realise is that written on the inside was a dedication:
'To X, get well soon, if not sooner!' Love from Mummy, Dad, Y and Z.'

I am Z. X was my 9 year old big brother. The BFG was published in 1982. By the end of that year, my big brother had died of a brain tumour. I was only 3.5, my other brother was 6.

I don't feel as though I have any right to be upset, but I am, dreadfully upset. Mostly for my Mum and Dad, but a bit for me too. All these years on there is still a hole in our family. And just now and again, it shows.

My dad wrote that message. It's the sort of message you'd write when you were confident the person you loved would get better. Early on, a book to read in hospital, during those initial days when the doctors are working out what's wrong. But he didn't get better. We lost him, and we moved to the other end of the country. I don't know if those two things are connected - I've asked very little about my brother's illness and death for fear of upsetting my parents.

But I have been told a lot of things about him. He loved chess, Star Wars and Lego, and being in the Scouts. He was a very early reader and when he was three he embarrassed my parents by pointing at the top shelf in the newsagent and saying in a loud voice 'Look! Playboy!' He'd never seen it before but obviously knew the words 'play' and 'boy' grin. All the pictures I've seen show such a happy boy, loving to his younger brother and sister. I think I remember him - it's hard to distinguish between genuine memory and what I've been told.

Of course I can't really imagine what my parents went through. How on earth they managed to hold things together for my brother and I. Two years later my younger brother was born and I remember that as a happy time - although obviously he couldn't and didn't replace my older brother.

I don't really know why I'm writing this. I just needed to I suppose. And I want to say to those of you who have lost dearly loved ones, especially children, I'm just so so sorry. So very very sorry. It is beyond unfair

FreshGarbage Sun 30-Jun-13 20:30:15

Thank you for sharing your heartfelt thoughts, brought a lump to my throat. Do you think you'll talk to your parents about your memories? X

Ah that is sad but it's lovely of you to still think about and miss your big brother. You are right, life can be so horribly cruel oftentimes. Sending you a hug x

LegoAcupuncture Sun 30-Jun-13 20:32:24

Oh Tea. Your post has brought a tear to my eye.

Of course you have every right to be upset, he was your brother. I cannot imagine how hard it must have been growing up without him.

He sounds like a lovely boy, I'm sure he would have been an amazing man had he survived.

Salbertina Sun 30-Jun-13 20:34:14

Oh Tunnock hmm i am so sorry about your brother and what a hole he must leave... Bittersweet, i guess to read that inscription, years on?

Oh that's so sad. Won't it be lovely if your DS develops a keen interest in reading like his uncle had?

Stumbleine Sun 30-Jun-13 20:34:31

I am sorry for your family's loss x

Oh Tunnocks, hugs for you.

I can't even imagine what you and your family went through but just wanted to say that the things you know, whether you actually remember them or have been told, are still memories. Your parents must have spoke about your brother for you to know these things which would have been difficult for them but the right thing to keep your brother's memory.

I don't know if you believe in any of this but perhaps your brother led DS to pick the BFG just to let you know he is watching over you all. His way of saying hello.

sewingandcakes Sun 30-Jun-13 20:36:02

That's very sad, I think you have every right to be upset, it was an unexpected reminder of a huge and traumatic event for you.

You said that you'd asked your parents very little about his death for fear of upsetting them; maybe you need to know how you all got through it as a family.

Hope you have someone to talk to.

everlong Sun 30-Jun-13 20:38:03

Oh sweetheart your post made me cry. I'm so sorry that you lost your big brother, he sounds gorgeous. Big squish for you x

HunterWellies Sun 30-Jun-13 20:38:26

Of course you are upset. It's like a little window back to that time isn't it? He would have been about the same age as my older brother, he loved all those things too.

I'm so sorry for your loss x

GwenCooper81 Sun 30-Jun-13 20:45:55

Oh how very sad. I'm crying reading your post. I'm so sorry for your families lose. I also wonder if your brother is watching and pointed your DC in the direction of that book. Huge heartfelt hugs x x x

tunnocksteacake Sun 30-Jun-13 20:46:19

Thanks everyone. Yes, I do think we need to talk about that horrid time, together, as a family. And I want to know more about my wonderful brother.

I have no doubt he would have been a terrific adult.

You know, I even found him online once. A class photo on Friends Reunited

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Sun 30-Jun-13 20:46:32

Oh Tunnock that's such a moving thing to happen to you right at bedtime too. It must have been like a flash into the past and now you're a parent you'll see it differently I suppose. Have a brew and a hug.

GW297 Sun 30-Jun-13 20:48:00

You have every right to be upset. Thinking of you.

tunnocksteacake Sun 30-Jun-13 20:48:05

The thought that my brother might be watching makes me cry. How I hope he is, especially over my dear little DS and DD

How sad, how moving, how lovey he is still part of your life.

I think your parents might be touched beyond measure to have you talk of him, so you can share him with your kids etc.


everlong Sun 30-Jun-13 20:52:55

tunnocks I always believe that those we love but aren't here physically are with us in some way or another flowers

TallulahBetty Sun 30-Jun-13 20:59:21

Wow, such a moving post. How lovely that your DS has your DB's book smile

Moche Sun 30-Jun-13 20:59:42

I second everlong. This is such a moving post. xx

Moche Sun 30-Jun-13 20:59:57


NotEnoughTime Sun 30-Jun-13 21:05:06

Tunnock, that is so sad my heart goes out to you.

I genuinely believe that your Big Brother is watching over you and your children, I bet he loves them very much.

Be kind to yourself tonight.

DownyEmerald Sun 30-Jun-13 21:07:24

Oh how sad, but how lovely that the inscription is there. Something to treasure.

And as a parent now, you must have a little glimpse of what your parents went though.

tunnocksteacake Sun 30-Jun-13 21:07:29

We have his early 1970s space Lego. It is awesome. DS adores it

tunnocksteacake Sun 30-Jun-13 21:17:05

Yes. Now I am a parent this hurts more.

And in the four years I've been a parent I've realised more and more how wonderful my parents are, and were when we were small. Not perfect, but wonderful.

And I try to give our two what my brother's and I had: a calm house at bedtime; magical Christmases; endless opportunities to learn without realising we were doing so; the list would go on and on

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