My brother's silence


A small, black leather wallet. Used, worn and carrying the scent of the jeans my brother used to wear. A plectrum, faded by the many songs he played on his bass guitar.

Memories. Too many to fill my mind at once.

Love. Too deep to ever forget he was my brother.

Photographs. Me receiving a kiss from him at the age of 4. Another one, his arm around me in the back garden in Belgium. His joking around, warm and catchy like a summer’s breeze in Ireland. His broad smile standing at U2’s recording studios in Dublin.

How does a mother ever get over the death of her first born?

How does his only sister deal with his legacy, his children, his wife?

I do not want him gone, I need him here.

His voice a forgotten memory. I cannot recall his voice.

His treatment for the tumour in his brain on the day I heard I had 99% chance of having MS. Our brains acting out on the same side of our faces, almost the same symptoms I had. My illness with me forever; his treated and gone that day. The wheel of fortune favoured him that day, and I am still glad it did.

We never fought. We never answered each other’s comments by slamming doors and walking away. We talked. We talked, but not enough.

His love and joy for his children… no man sweeter than my brother. The tears when my niece arrived, the twinkle in his eye when his son was born.

Grief, a tear in my mind when others talk about their brother. A hug I cannot feel anymore. A future we will not share anymore. There is silence I cannot place, memories that are beginning to fade. The silence he leaves behind, follows me in places in Ireland I know he would have loved, he would want to return to time after time.

Will I ever see him again?

Will I ever hear his voice again?

I cannot recall his voice.

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December 9th, 2013

Daily Prompt: A Source of Anxiety on December 9, 2013: “Write about a noise — or even a silence — that won’t go away.”

Two months ago I wrote about missing my only sibling, who sadly passed away nearly 7 years ago. The silence remains, his phone number and email address still saved in my phone and address book. The silence just doesn’t go away, but I am glad I can share an update of my October 24th blog post so I can share a little of the person he was… my brother.

To read the original blog post, please click here.


About Billie ThumbnailAbout Willeke

Neurologically challenged by MS and personally by her will to succeed, Willeke is a disability awareness advocate seeking to improve neurological/MS services in Ireland. By highlighting difficult issues that come with such a diagnosis, she hopes her tenacity can bring some dignity to people most in need of a modern, inclusive healthcare system that looks after every aspect of life.

© WVE and Ireland, MS and Me, 2011-2013. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to WVE and Ireland, MS and Me with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


45 thoughts on “My brother's silence

  1. Your ability to describe the love & loss of your brother I find incredible. I don’t recall ever reading anything as heartfelt as this. Your writings also gave me comfort & a much better understanding of some of the emotions I’ve recently felt about losing a dear friend. I’m going to read this over & over. It’s healing for me, and I’m grateful for you sharing your story :) Peace & love to you always:)


    1. Aaw thank you so much for saying this Lea Ann. Like you say, a lot of emotions go through you when you lose someone. I find just writing things like this are really helpful. You might not feel it straightaway, but it helps. I’m glad you find something in here that helps. Peace and love always back to you also. So glad you’re in my life!


  2. I lost my only sibling Joseph 2/2/1990 – he was 26 years old. Unmarried. No children. We had very similar voices – family could not tell us apart on the phone. I miss him so much. Sending good vibes your way.


    1. Thanks Frances. It’s not easy, is it? People always said that my brother and I were so alike in the way of speaking and the way we looked. Sending good vibes back to you xxx


      1. My father’s sister snd two brothers were with me at his funeral back in ’91. After the wake we four sat in the funeral, and the siblings began to talk about their adventures growing up. And I heard all the stories Daddy used to tell one more time. I could hear him in their voices and their turn of phrase; it was quite the experience.


    1. So sorry to hear of your brother, we can indeed listen to their silence together. It’s never easy…

      Have a wonderful Christmas and a fantastic 2014! xxx


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