It’s surreal to think that this was the last picture I’ll ever have of me and my brother. It was taken almost a year and a half ago in Bordeaux, a brief stop on our way down to the South-West of France. I can remember Kieran having insulted me (or something like that) and I hadn’t been particularly happy at having to have my picture taken, but now it’s a photo that I’ll treasure for ever.
Normally, I’m a person who tries to not let my emotions get the better of me. I don’t often write soppy things, and I usually only cry at films (admittedly, these films can range from Up to Titanic so there’s a lot of variety in what can make me cry).
Today, however, is a day that I feel needs marking. In terms of days that get checked off, it wouldn’t be that monumental. It’s not the 6 month, or year-anniversary of Kieran’s death. It’s not the first Christmas, or even his first birthday since he died. It is, however, his 18th birthday. So it’s a day that does need marking, if not in terms of grief, in terms of the life that he would have had if he hadn’t died.
It’s definitely strange to think about. I’m not sure how it would have been celebrated if he’d been alive. He wasn’t one for huge parties, so I’m not sure if he would have opted to have a massive celebration. I’m currently at university (I’m supposed to be revising, but my mind isn’t really with exams today) and Aidan is living in Hertfordshire. So despite Kieran having been there for both of our 18th birthdays, we probably wouldn’t have been there for his.
Kieran will for ever be 16 (and a half… if I’m really precise, it would be 16 years, 6 months and 18 days – I’m sure he’ll appreciate my accuracy). As I get older, I’ll always have a brother who will permanently stay a teenager. He hasn’t reached those age milestones that I have, and he never will. He won’t ever know me as the person I’ve become, and he’ll never get to meet Alex.
I still don’t really cry. I’ve come to accept this is okay, it’s considered normal, and everybody grieves differently. It’s a continuous process, and yes, some days are worse than others. Today is one of them. My ‘little’ brother (I put this in quotation marks as he was much taller than me) won’t turn 18, and today marks that. As everybody else moves on with their lives, close family and friends will always be aware of these days, the little things that don’t seem so important until they happen; and a lot of people can only sympathise, having never experienced anything like this themselves. To be fair, I’m glad that people can only sympathise and not empathise – I wouldn’t want anyone to experience the loss that my family and I have felt.
But Kieran, Happy 18th Birthday. Despite you never growing old and no longer being here, you’ll always be my brother, and that’s something that will never change.