Three weeks ago at this time I was returning from my brothers Carlos´wake.
My brother passed away on 12th of October and I wanted to write a little bit about him, about this times that have been the worst for me and my parents and to honor him in my own little way.
I´m still hoping to wake up from this neverending nightmare, but every morning after waking up I realize once again, that this is no dream. The past weeks I felt numb, nothing that happened ever since really got to me, I feel like I´m standing while the world is moving on and it´s ok, I don´t want to move on. Some of you might not believe this, but both me and my mother felt a pain in our hearts on October 12th. We were already back in Germany, me for 3 weeks, my parents flew back a week later. I had plans that night to meet one of my dearest friends and was really looking forward to it. When I left the house, which sarcasticly was around the time my brother passed away I felt a pain in my chest that wouldn´t go away, so believe me or not, though being over 2.000km away(my brother had been living in Portugal since 1991 while me and my parents stayed in Germany) I believe that I felt him die. I had just met my dear friend Boris and in fact was talking about my brother and his poor working conditions, when I received the call that will forever change my life. I immediately jumped and went home to tell my parents. The seconds that passed between opening the door, sitting down with them and telling them what I had just been told felt like years, there they were, just watching Tv, not knowing, what had just happened a couple of hours before.
I spare you the details of the rest of the night, and the next day we were on our way back home.
But where´s home now? I´m in our house in Portugal and all I can feel here is agony. The house is full of memories, everything reminds me of the times, when we got here, all happy that the family was reaunited again and now all we do feel here is pain, constant and neverending pain.
The only time I feel a little alleviated is know, when I hear that my parents felt asleep. But it´s at night, when my brain seems to be working overtime and my emotions overcome me.
Being here writing this feels like another dream, I listen to see if I can hear my brother, but his laugh is gone, how could somebody who despite all his fisical pain(since late puberty my brother suffered from a disease called Pes equinovarus) just simply fade away? He left home to an early shift at work, went by the coffee shop, talked to some people there and drove 35km to his workplace, arrived there, said to his boss he wasn´t feeling so well, sat down and when they realised minutes later, he was already gone. Maybe it was from a broken heart, I don´t know, my brother was never very lucky with the ladies, he always felt for the crazy ones… but more importantly the sadness of a life abroad the family. My brother came to Portugal basically because he could get to university in Germany. In the 90´s it was way easier to get into Portuguese university for descendants of immigrants, so he tried his luck here.
While looking through his stuff I found letters from his old friends in Germany, who wrote to him, when he was already here. But since he was an easy person to like, he quickly found really nice friends in Portugal at the university, to most of them he still held contact regularly and became his best friends. Yes, most of the time he choose the right people to be around him, some of them even I, that lives far away, consider to be very dear friends and I have received so many nice messages from people I didn´t knew that I believe that I haven´t met half of my brothers´friends. Sometimes he would get mad when one of the not so close friends would ask him for another favor, but he couldn´t say no to anybody, he´d give away anything, or do almost anything to help a friend in need.
I was really touched by some peoples´reactions after my brothers´dead. Since I´m only here for a month a year, I simply can´t know everyone and I had no idea that some people, who I just knew from partying in summer, had that affection for him, that was really heartwarming.
But all that won´t comfort my pain. The past 22 years have been marked with a certain hope. A hope, that one day life would give us the chance to live together, it´s been some years that my parents were talking about moving back here, unfortunately now my father blames himself for not taking away my brother from here, he was going to, with all the economic crysis here and all, and my brother talked about moving back to Germany from time to time, which would rip him once again away from his friends. Now it´s too late. He´s gone, I want to scream, I want to run and never stop, but nothing will bring him back, nothing will ever take this pain away, I know I´m only 30 years old now, some people say I still have my whole life in front of me, but my hope to have my brother on my side helped me carry on, though we were separated through a great distance, in heart we never were, but still I can´t stop envying everybody who was lucking to spend more time with him, than I ever did. I think that it´s even harder for my parents, I can´t imagine, what they´re going through. The last 20 years have not been easy for them, both emotionally and physically, but now this, I honestly don´t know how we´ll manage to get through this. Unfortunately some people seem to be too cold, have no understanding or no respect, even in these times, so they call, talk and ask the same questions every day, sometimes I believe that they´re just selfish, they might not mean it the wrong way, but the only ones feeling better after their stories and questions are themselves, it won´t help us. What I don´t admit is people who just think what´s best from them and came to us in these times just for their own benefits. Can´t they see that they´re just causing more pain? Is the world such a shitty place that no one really cares anymore? I mean, what kind of employer opens up a club after a (or simply the most dedicated) employee passes away a couple of hours before the club opens? And why would they tell that straight away to the family? My father was DEVASTATED, when he heard that the club opened.
There are some more sad stories about that, but let me just say that respect seems to be a vanishing quality in todays´society. Unfortunately there are some people who can´t cope with the situation or don´t care, I don´t know, but from time to time they seem to be thinking that they can bother me and my family with their pathetic crap. Right know none if it matters. It might seem rude, I know I can be rude some times, which I hope will get better one day, but some people really have no, yes again, respect for the loss of others.
But I don´t want to focus on them, I prefer to hereby thank all of the friends who were the real family of my brother, even those who just tried to take advantage of him, if he helped you, he still had hope for you, so maybe it´s time to rethink the way you see your life.
I will, I did, as a matter of fact, already.
My brother appreciated life. He loved good music, a long night out with close friends and he never forgot to laugh, to smile, to accept life as it was, with all its difficulties, with all its flaws, he embraced it, no matter what. I admire that. I´ll honor that for the rest of my life. One day I´ll tell my children that. Life isn´t about your paycheck, about the car you drive, the clothes you wear, it´s about dreams. Small dreams, big dreams, just hope….an idea to carry on…appreciate your journey, you never know when it ends, so don´t just think that one day everything will be better, do something every day to get where you want to be. Smile, laugh, don´t just tell somebody you like them, show them! Be grateful if you´re heard by them, don´t be sore if you don´t. Carry on, somebody will realize it eventually, hopefully.
I had a great brother.
He was there for me, when I needed him to, and I didn´t have to ask for it, I just knew I could count on him, he supported me where he could, without ever asking for anything in return. He was humble. Too proud to ask for help, too lazy to go to the doctor from time to time…
I still can see you everywhere, I remember when I was a little kid and always wanted to hang out with you and your friends from school when they were at our home. Many times you took me with you, though I was always the little kid, 13 years younger than yourself, but though you said you didn´t want to take me with you, you always did.
On one hand your pain is over. On the other you left so many pain in us. You didn´t had to go, we would have taken care of you, you could have counted on us you know? You deserved so much more, your heart was pure, but you didn´t deserve this…
Adeus meu querido Mano
P.S. For those who´d like to have a little glimpse at his life, here´s a little video: