Personal Story With A Soundtrack - My Brother The Tree

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This might be one of the saddest stories I will ever write, but on the other hand, it´s about the most natural thing in life, death.

The death of my little brother, well he was not that little anymore. Still, he will always be the little brother. The one I grew up with, the one that was always there to play with.

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We grew apart for some time, but then at a certain time our paths got back together, and although we lived 1600 miles away from one another those last couple of years we connected again.

He had a troubled life, never met the right girl, and ran with the wrong crowd. That got him into using drugs he might better have been avoiding, but he didn´t.

That probably caused him to go down the rabbit hole. That was one hole I was not able to pull him out of. I could not be there for him, luckily his parents could. They dealt with the paranoia, the voices, and other mental health issues.

Then once everything seemed to stabilize and he was getting his life back on track he had a mini attack. After the drugs messed with his mind, it was now his mind that messed with him and caused him to go through a long trajectory to recover his fine motor skills.

I guess he must have been almost done with that rehabilitation when he got the next fun fact of life, cancer. And there is no cure for (nonresectable late-stage gallbladder) cancer.

If you think it could not get any worse than that was, it happened in the middle of the pandemic. Therefore I could not visit him when he got the news, and I could not go to his cremation six months later.

Yesterday

Yesterday, we buried him.

Well, his ashes. They are now in a forest, below the roots of a beautiful commemorative tree that was planted for him. His ashes can now feed the roots with minerals and become part of that tree.

David Bowie - Ashes To Ashes

My brother is a tree, people can visit him whenever they feel like it, for as long as that tree lives.

The great thing about knowing that you´ll die soon is that you can take care of stuff. You can make sure that things you never considered are organized the way you want. That everything goes as you planned when you´re no longer here.

I am sure he thought about it long and hard, and I know he had no idea until he heard about the commemorative forest.

Once he found that place he knew, he wanted to become a tree. He found his spot, he found his tree a red beech. A dark red tree that would stand out between the green ones. Just like his ginger(red) hair always had stood out.

There we were, family & friends 18 months after he passed away. Finally, we were able to get together and say goodbye, the right way. The weather was amazing, there was a risk that it would rain...but no rain on his last parade.

There was sunshine, birds singing, and plenty of people that truly cared. The best thing, next to it being a beautiful ritual, was the fact that it wasn´t that heavy.

The Hollies - He Ain't Heavy He's My Brother

People did cry, but the people laughed and made little jokes. The atmosphere was much lighter than during other burials I witnessed. I guess it´s logical, it was not that sudden and everyone had 18 months to get used to the situation.

It was a beautiful sad day, and at the same time, it was his birthday. He got a huge present, a big birthday party with close to 30 guests just there for him (well him and the drinks afterward).

That must be an amazing gift, knowing that so many people still care about you after you´re for gone for 18 months.

His second gift was that he probably has the best-looking tree in the lot.

The third gift is that the family can be added to his final resting place, and be commemorated with his tree. Just like him, they will get a plaque on a big rock beneath that tree. We will all be together again one day, just as he imagined it.

I think that was his wish, maybe he did not know it himself, but his wiser self did. That is why he left us with a song and why chose this song if you did not want it to become the family tree?

Venice - The family tree

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Hope that after reading this you can still have a lovely rest of your day.

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Image: Edited screenshot from the Venice Video



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19 comments
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Oh, I just read your post and now I know the reason why you were not in Spain.
I am really sorry to hear that your brother left this world, 18 months ago... but what you described here, the tree where his ashes are buried now... the family and all the people that gathered to say goodbye to him... somehow brings tranquillity.

Hope that after reading this you can still have a lovely rest of your day.

The same wishes are going towards you @whywhy

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Thank you, it was very beautiful and special and not heavy or obligated at all.

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My deepest condolences to you ...

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Thank you so much, it was a sad but beautiful experience !CTP

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(Edited)

I'm so sorry man. That's heartbreaking.

This post will be highlighted in my weekly This Week on ListNerds Curated Collection posting.

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Thanks, buddy. It was sad but at the same time an amazing beautiful ritual !CTP

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Im glad it was a good send off. All the best. !CTP

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Although the topic is sad, my condolences, you have written this down beautifully and with much love for your little brother. I think he will appreciate your effort and it may help you process it a bit as well, even though it seems you already had some time to do that ..

I always find processing easier when writing things down, even if just for myself :)

Thanks for sharing! <3

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That was indeed why I wrote it and also because his song fitted the format so very well....and he was a big Bowie fan

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Deeply sorry about this...my condolences

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Thank you, it was a sad but very beautiful service.

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Oh gosh dude, I'm so sorry to hear about this.

I do love the idea of the tree though. That's fantastic.

Much love brother.
!CTP

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Thanks Bro it was a very nice way to do it indeed !CTP

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(Edited)

I'm so sorry to hear about your brother.
It's always sad to lose a loved one but for parents to lose their child, and a sibling to lose another, is just the worst. I've seen it when my best friend, her partner, and eldest son lost their youngest son and brother.
I know it must have been tough not being able to go visit but sometimes fate makes it so because it's better to remember our loved ones in a better light & memories.

But what a great way to do this memorial and final good byes!
And how amazing that he had the time to plan exactly what he wanted.

Denis Leary.., no cure for cancer. I used to sing 'I'm an asshole' to people who commented on anything I did. Hahaha.

LOVE Bowie!

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Thank you Somehow I got goosebumps reading your comments, but it was a very nice way to say goodbye and to be remembered. No cure for cancer was the first English stand-up he and I ever listened to and we sang I am an asshole out loud for years and he made great handicapped faces :)

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I seem to be handing out those goosebumps a lot haha.

I love the 'I'm an asshole' song, lol. When I lived in the US, people in general, and especially my ex used to think and say I was Ms. Goodie Two shoes. Speaking of having a bad judge of character hehe. Yeah, I can be very nice, but I can be very much an asshole too.
I think it's a good thing to know oneself that way.
So when my ex used to argue with me, and I'd say something he didn't like, he'd be surprised and say I was mean (trust me, he was the mean one, lol), and I'd reply: "I never said I was a nice girl." And then sing 'I'm an asshole' while walking away laughing hahahahaha. The thing was, he hated the word asshole because to him it was extra insulting somehow, so for me to call myself an asshole, was somehow even more annoying to him.
Sorry, sometimes I just have a funny sense of humor, and he couldn't always appreciate it.

Anyway, it seems like your brother and you had the same sense of humor haha.
Denis Leary kind of asshole humor lol.

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My condolences to you and your family. It's a sad reason to be back in the Dutch Mountains. But I'm sure it will give you peace of mind for the future. We call it 'the last goodbye'. Although it is only the body that has left the earth, their spirit will be with you forever.

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