My Little Brother Daniel

6 Oct

In August my little brother Daniel died in his sleep aged 24. People always say that there are no words to describe grief – but unfortunately there are too many. I can only apologise for my rudeness to everyone who has asked me ‘Are you okay?’ I was unable to politely nod, smile and pretend – which seems to be the desired response. It began to get to the point where it felt like a disservice to Daniel to say ‘yes I’m fine’ even if it was a lie anyway. As those who have lost someone know all too well, nothing is going to be okay ever again.

My Brother Daniel

My Brother Daniel

Coming back to London and leaving my family behind is the hardest thing I have ever had to do, even though I know that I can move closer to them one day. Today has been a bad day for some reason, and a day when I won’t pretend I’m fine but grieve not just for my loss but also Daniel’s loss. He has lost another 50 years on this earth, living, loving his friends and family and being loved – and when I think about this for too long it takes the air away from around me, and I can’t breathe. Every day when I walk up the steps to my front porch (where I first found out) I feel as weak as that first day, remembering that he is gone.

For the past couple of weeks I deluded myself that he would be in Northumberland alive and well when I next visit, and I was able to be ‘normal’ as a result. Friends commented on how strong I am and all the usual supportive stuff. I had worried about being a burden to my boyfriend, hence why denial seemed easiest. Given my worries the year before over my boyfriends cancer I feel that for two whole years I have now been the girl who is always sad – and who wants to be friends with that girl? But after my two weeks of pretending that I’m happy I have finally realised that I am allowed to grieve, it’s okay to be sad. I don’t want it to rule my life, but the recent acceptance that it will for an undefined amount of time is almost a relief to me – as it’s one less thing to feel guilty about.

I don’t want to end this post on such a negative note, but instead want to share some of my favourite photos and memories of Daniel:

Chubbiest Cheeks

Chubbiest Cheeks

Daniel was the laziest baby with the cutest chubbiest cheeks imaginable. He would roll around the floor and point and I would say “Mammy, Daniel would like some more juice” or “Mammy, Daniel wants some sweeties”.

In Kenya

In Kenya

In Africa when he was 16 years old while out on the ocean in Kenya, Daniel told our catamaran instructor to go back to shore and leave us – he had learned the ropes and would take over. After the man swam back to shore an unmistakable little grin spread across Daniel’s face. He had not remembered at all how to run the catamaran – he had just wanted freedom. Needless to say we had the scariest journey of our lives, which resulted in a crash into the rocks and two very embarrassed parents. I love how unpredictable life was with Daniel in it.

In Love

In Love

Here is Daniel with his ex-fiance Ami. It was clearly one of the happiest times of his life and I am so glad that was able to experience love.

Christmas

Christmas

On Christmas morning Daniel would always be first up, and on the run up to Christmas first to plot how we could find where the presents were stashed. He used to try and feed the dog the coffee flavoured quality street as nobody liked those ones!

My little brother

My little brother

I spent much of my childhood making signs for my tent or bedroom door that said ‘Daniel keep out’ and rebuilding the sandcastles that he had joyously stamped to pieces. We could battle it out in the back of my parents’ car, footprints on the seats, tear streaked faces, and five minutes later be laughing and joking together.

Every day I will miss my handsome curly haired little brother more and more. I would give anything in the world to have him back, to cuddle him again, or even argue with him one more time. Thankfully, I always told Daniel that I loved him, and he always told me he loved me too. I hope that he knows just how much, and what an impact he had on our lives. Our world was a better place with him in it, and I am very proud that he was my brother.

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