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

notanyanymore Fri 26-Jul-13 01:12:52

You sound like such a lovely family, I'm so sorry for your loss. Its lovely he's still thought of and remembered so strongly by such a loving family.

everlong Fri 26-Jul-13 01:06:22

I think your mum is right. flowers

RowanMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 25-Jul-13 21:10:15


We've moved this to Bereavement now at the OP's request.

tunnocksteacake Thu 25-Jul-13 20:53:59

Thanks lovely people. Callaird your brother sounds fab, what a hard time you must have been through as a teenager sad.

My mum said today 'I know - I don't just think - I KNOW I will see him again.' Her lovely boy

sillymillyb Thu 25-Jul-13 19:55:11

Ahh you made me cry, I'm thinking of you and your family - I'm glad though that you found this message, it's a connection, and a show of love. I hope you are ok x

wigglesrock Thu 25-Jul-13 19:22:07

I opened your thread because through the strangest coincidence my dd2 (5) picked the BFG of a shelf today, she's a good reader but hasn't looked at any Roald Dahl. Anyway I'm not really sure what I'm trying to say, but your OP was so full of love that I was touched and I'm really glad you and your parents were able to talk about your much loved and missed brother.

Callaird Thu 25-Jul-13 19:04:54

Your brother reminds me so much of my brother! Loved Lego, Star Wars and being a cub, he never made it to scouts. He died in 1983, when he was 13 and I was 15. I have difficulty remembering him some times and I was much older than you were.

I feel that most of my memories are from photos and cine film rather than real life. I'm so glad you spoke to your parents, I didn't ask mine about my brother for such a long time because I didn't want to upset them but now we talk about him most times we get together, mum's voice still catches sometimes when we talk about him but I'm the only one who asks about him (unless I gently nudge other family members) and I think it makes her happy that he is not forgotten. Do keep talking to them, tell them your memories of him. Don't forget him.

(My parents still have his Lego and Star Wars stuff in the loft!)

everlong Thu 25-Jul-13 18:30:52

3.5 weeks sad that is beyond heartbreaking.
If you report your thread mnhq will move it for you I'm sure.
Big hugs x

tunnocksteacake Thu 25-Jul-13 18:27:18

I'm visiting my parents with DH and the DCs and we talked and cried a bit today. I found out that there were just 3.5 weeks - 3.5 weeks - between my DB collapsing and his death sad. He'd been sick a few times in the previous weeks but my parents and the gp had put it down to nerves due to DB starting a new school.

My mum said moving was so hard, leaving DB behind, having to empty his bedroom, etc. But we kept her and dad going.

Anyone know how to move this thread to Bereavement?I think it's due to disappear soon and I'd like to keep it

UseHerName Sun 30-Jun-13 22:24:16

oh - i'm sorry for your loss

how lovely it is that you have the inscription and can explain it to your dc when they're old enough

ShoeWhore Sun 30-Jun-13 22:22:03

I was very moved by your post tunnock and I'm so sorry that you lost your brother.

I hope you find a way to talk to your parents about him. I suspect it would be helpful to all of you.

Big hugs x

tunnocksteacake Sun 30-Jun-13 21:59:49

And Bluemonkey I know just what you mean.

Goodnight everyone and thank you - being able to share has helped thanks

tunnocksteacake Sun 30-Jun-13 21:52:32

Mind so sorry for your loss - what a great brother you had.

Little you are very wise

Tunnocks, that's so moving and sad. You and your family sound so lovely.

I'm so sorry for the loss of your brother. It's in these little surprises that our loved ones live on, even if it upsets us.
It's their legacy, and a way to prompt memories we may not have otherwise had.

Mindyourownbusiness Sun 30-Jun-13 21:32:39

Ah, that is so sad, my older brother died in 2009, l wrote on his bouquet 'The original BFG, gentle, kind and brave , my big brother'

He was 6ft 4 and really was a 'gentle giant' , not a bad bone in him.

He too died of cancer and went from being this giant of a man to around eight stone when he died in less than a year.

My son had all the Roald Dahl books aswell and BFG was his favourite. The dedications in his are from his dad though, who we are all estranged from as he was violent to me and my son broke off all contact with him many years ago (not at my behest l hasten to add) as he is a very difficult character.

So when my DGDs are now reading their dads books l always feel a pang because of my sons lack of a father-son relationship and also obviously because the BFG reminds me of my brother.

God, life is so bloody sad sometimes isn't it ?

So, sorry for the hijack, at least my brother lived into his late fifties, so had a reasonable span of life in comparison to your poor brother, the death of a child is obviously a much greater tragedy for all affected

I agree with people who say you should maybe talk to your parents about your brother. IME people who have lost loved ones often like to talk about them but dont like to for fear of upsetting other people who also cared for them. Your parents may be only too happy to talk about him but maybe thought they would upset you.

Once again, so sorry for your loss and l do like the idea that maybe your big brother somehow had something to do with your little boy insisting on reading that particular book. smile

NigellaEllaElla Sun 30-Jun-13 21:30:34

I've had a little cry just reading your post so can't imagine the grief you all must bear and the gaping hole there must be. Hugs x

Bluemonkeyspots Sun 30-Jun-13 21:17:37

I don't believe in ghosts at all, at least not the transparent floating about at night ones! but I do believe our family never leave us. How could they when we are connected in so many ways. We share genes, DNA, blood, looks characteristics etc and that's just the physical stuff, we are also connected by so much more, love, memories, history etc

Sorry I'm crap at putting this sort of stuff into writing but i know what I meansmile

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

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

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

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.

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.

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


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

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

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

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

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

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