So tomorrow is my big brother’s birthday. So I couldn’t let it pass by without some kind of recognition.
I’ve never been particularly close with him… I was a “happy accident” who came along when my brother and sister where 6 & 8. I’m sure you can imagine how pleased they were when mummy and daddy brought home a bundle of joy into their already perfect world!
To say my brother was a handful as a child is an understatement. My mum would often recount stories of how the local A & E department knew him by name by the age of 3! He was a typical boy. Falling head first into a bonfire and slicing his hand open on a hot tin can, cutting my sister’s hair the day before a family portrait… yes, my big brother was the 1970s version of Horrid Henry!
Because of such a big age gap, I effectively had the upbringing of an only child. By the time I was 7/8, my brother and sister were fully fledged teenagers, hardly ever at home, trying to avoid the battle ground that was our house (parent’s divorce imminent).
My brother was a bully. A typical mean big brother. He didn’t get on well at school, but had a talent for music that would rival any historic composer. He was one of those annoying people, who could listen to a tune, pick up any instrument and be playing it near perfect within a few hours. One of my fondest memories is when he got an electric keyboard in his room… he spent hours learning to play, by himself, by figuring out the theme tune to all creatures great and small (anyone younger than 30 may not have a clue, so I’ve included a link) whenever I hear the tune now, my brother is who I remember, and listening to it, fills me with a warm memory (man that kid was talented!)
So my brother would rarely be at home… he started a cliche band with his mates, which, as far as I know, never really made it out of our garage, but to my 8 year old self, they were the coolest people I knew!
He moved out when he was about 19 and married his high school sweetheart. This is partly why we were never close… by the time I was a teenager, he was a fully fledged grown up! The marriage didn’t work and eventually my brother had had enough of the job he was doing, moved in with a group of housemates and set up his own recording studio and bar. The house consisted of 5 men, between 25-40, who all acted like teenagers! They even built a skate ramp in the garage, and eventually ran a full blown annual festival event in their back garden!
The bar/studio, Music Tek, was a dive. But man, was it cool! All the local emo kids would hang out there and John got to finally do something he not only loved, but was incredibly talented at.
Over the years, he was part of many bands, travelled the country and even did a stint at a holiday camp as one of the house bands… (70s costume photos to follow)
We didn’t really see much of him… the parodical son would return and he would retell stories from his adventures (usually involving different women)
After a devastating blow, he picked himself up and joined a cruise ship. Starting as a band member, and moving up to captain status as sound engineer (or something along those lines) he travelled the world and eventually met his wonderful wife.
So my brother and his wife finally settle down, rent a house and get land based jobs. Children were on the horizon and my big brother, was finally settled, happy and successful.
On August 25th 2016, my family received the worst news. John had been involved in a motorbike accident and airlifted to Cambridge hospital. My dad called me while I was at work. All we knew was that he’s been knocked of his bike, unconscious, and in a critical condition.
He was hit from side on, by an elderly driver who pulled out of his drive. His leg taking the full impact. He was thrown 30ft and in the process, his foot was nearly torn off. Thankfully, he has never skimped on safety gear, or I’d be writing a memorial post today…
In the months that followed, my brother and family have been through the mill. He has had to regrow his leg and anyone who’s seen Harry Potter, growing bones is a painful business! Unfortunately, it’s a much longer and agonising process than that in the magical world of Hogwarts! But in true John style, he’s battled every hurdle. He’s started a campaign for councils to issue temporary disabled badges, promoted the need for elderly drivers to be re-tested and raised money for the air ambulance service. He’s appeared on This Morning and news channels and even had an emotional reunion with the off duty paramedic who was first at the scene on live radio (I listened on the way to work, and had to pull over!)
During this last year, he’s been a moaning Minnie at times, but through it all, he’s managed to fight and stay strong.
By Christmas, my brother is walking again. Still with a stick, but in our eyes, we’re just as proud as if he’d have won the Nobel prize.
I may not be as close to my brother as some families. But in our clan, no force can pull us apart.
So here’s to my brother. May he have a wonderful birthday, and 2018 is going to be one hell of a year for him xxx
#mumfailingatlife #postaday #brother #hero