FOR MUCH of our lives, we have never really talked, except for those ordinarily trivial things siblings would on occasion small-talk about.
That right there might already say a lot, because some brothers I know are invariably tight-knit as tandems or appear so. For one thing, the silences between us may even have been a matter of mutual choice, since five years separated us.
If these were translated in school years, then there was simply no way we could ever be present in one assembly at the same time. He was just simply another batch, from another time.
In our gang of nine, he was the eldest, the top dog and thus the alpha. Separated far down the line by interests identifiable only by the distinguishing mark of our own generations, were the rest of us, plain and simple.
Never mind that he was apart from us in growing up, his world had been different. We were aloof to his world too, because we had our own to enjoy.
(It was only later when we’ve grown that I realized that our two orbs had began to merge, beginning with the first time when we sat together, at the same table, with our beer and smokes.)
Through the years, as siblings are wont to eventually build their own nests, we have all drifted apart in the further pursuit of our own little lives. Despite this, the bonds of the original family remained, however limited it had become, to weekend visits and special occasions.
With these hedges firmed up by time, we have become like a beehive, independent units of a bigger whole, with separate families breathing within each. Despite these boundaries however, the bond firmly imprinted by our hardy parents, had remained.
In this setting, I have thus watched from my own sense of afar, how he had groomed his own young, and then much later, how he selflessly doted on his grandies and great-grandchildren. At this, it slowly dawned that however detached he had been from us in the past, seeing now how kind he had become to his young in the later years, was the more weighty element of measure.
Now, I just wish that he could hear all the tribute he has gotten from his beloved children and grandchildren. At best, they are the perfect reflection of the love he has given them, manifested through nightly phone goodnights, life lessons and perfect attendance in school activities.
For this alpha at the journey’s end, he hadn’t missed out on the mum’s one special request, be kind.
HONORING MY MOTHER
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