“ He has been with me for all of my life, so far, I’ve had no one as loyal or as long-standing in my life “
So did a patient describe her brother to me the other day.
It was a quote that lingered in my mind like a YouTube song
And is one that has a resonance for I got the quote as soon as it left the patient’s mouth.
I’ve mentioned it here on Going Gently a few times, that my childhood wasn’t a particularly happy one. Like many sixties and seventies kids , we were a product of our age…..emotionally absent parents but well looked after children, we had siblings and grandparents to nurture us, so we were the lucky ones.
But inside our own four walls things were often somewhat sad.
My patient shared a memory of her brother with me and told me of it’s significance. And over sixty years I thought of what one memory I could share that summed up my sisters’ and me.
I found one easily, perched happily in a cerebral cul de sac of childhood memories in 1972 or there abouts. Janet and I were around 10.
My sister Ann’s house One Saturday afternoon
I think we were making Christmas cards
Ann was singing badly. Singing the theme tune to a popular children’s magazine show at the time
And all I remember was laughter
Pure, unchecked, silly, belly laugh, laughter
I'm so glad that there was happy, belly laughs at Ann's home tucked in those memories of your childhood.ReplyDelete
May your life be rich with laughter f forever more.
And yours too BabsDelete
I must be a rarity, as I had a very happy childhood. I am a great laugher. Occasionally I laugh myself into tears, and my family all laugh even louder, saying "He's off again".ReplyDelete
Therefore ,You have given them, some lovely memoriesDelete
It is a good memory to retain. There is not enough proper good laughter in my life now.ReplyDelete
That’s such a sad thing to sayDelete
Laughing until your belly aches is rare, for me at least, but so good. Hold on to those happy memories, they're gold. xxReplyDelete
It was, it isDelete
Isn't it interesting that the richest and most enduring memories are of the smallest yet brightest and most bonding events? Pure moments in time always recalled in technicolour. Just lovely. Something precious that only children like me can envy.ReplyDelete
I will steal that comment, as I like it’s way of picturing the time and place …” pure moments in time always recalled in technicolour”Delete
My pleasure to pass it along to you. Thrilled your post has drawn such wonderful memories and stories shared from your readers.Delete
My mum was very attentive and fussing over me - a bit much really - but as a teenager we were very close -Same humour which dad didn't grasp - He was protective of us though - my world xReplyDelete
And a nice worldDelete
Was it Magpie? One for sorrow, two for joy, three for a girl, four for a boy...... ma a a ag pie e i e i ..........! My sister and me used to use a patch of lino in the living room as a stage and perform our own 'show' called the Snow White and Jen show!!!!! :)ReplyDelete
It was magpie indeedDelete
My siblings, only 5 and 8 years older than me, cared for me and kept our home together after the death of both parents, but I also remember lots of laughter between us, including my 6'4" brother falling off the chair laughing at Tom and Jerry, and my sister and I laughing at him rolling around helpless on the floor.ReplyDelete
My sister and me reeling aimlessly in the street singing over and over again the entirety of John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt. It ended up being what I sang in my head to survive her funeral.ReplyDelete
This is one of the most moving comments I've ever read. Poignant. Beautiful. I'm glad you had a sister who meant the world to you. I'm sorry for your loss. I bet you feel it's sting still--at least sometimes.Delete
I agree susanDelete
Mitchell how lovelyDelete
Susan Z: Thanks for your empathy. My sister died at the age of 29 and, yes, I will forever feel the sting of that loss.Delete
I don't understand your reference to "My sister Ann’s house". Did Ann live in a different house from you and Janet?ReplyDelete
My sister was then married, she is older than us young unsDelete
A happy memory! It's hard to beat a good, long laugh.ReplyDelete
I am lucky to have my 3 siblings living in the same city as I do. We can still make each other laugh (or cry together if we need to).ReplyDelete
Your sisters and you seem to enjoy each other's company still. xx
Family dynamics include the good, bad and ugly. So it is.ReplyDelete
Always remember the good times. Laughter is the best medicine in the world.
Amen and well said . I”.met” a friend online tonight and they didn’t laugh , something they always usually doDelete
That's a lovely memory to have!ReplyDelete
It makes me smileDelete
This explains the reason why you are the nice man you are.ReplyDelete
I think it explains why nurture is so important in our upbringingsDelete
Not all children can remember laughter in their lives - so in that sense you were lucky John - I think what was often lacking in that age was an open show of affection. The love was there but you didn;t show it.ReplyDelete
Yes a good point . I was lucky we had physical affection from my grandmother as well as my older sisterDelete
I think what you are describing is one of those rare moments of joy.ReplyDelete
Pure joy ……I think children that have had sadder upbringings concentrate their memories on such momentsDelete
Magpie she was singing Magpie ! ♥️....very badly lol xReplyDelete
Yes , spoken by someone who was there and who agreesDelete
Oh My Goodness, what a happy and most wonderful memory. It is the little joy filled times that we remember.ReplyDelete
Your memories regarding nursing have been so moving to read over the years but this one kind of stands out to me because of it’s calm simplicity.ReplyDelete
You nurtured each other out of your sadness
We did indeedDelete
It's always such a gift to find good memories.ReplyDelete
I remember my Auntie Pearl and my mum laughing so hard I thought they were going to pee their pants. They were playing bingo at the fair, and someone else called out bingo, when mum and Pearl only had one spot left. One of them said, "Shit!" loud enough for everyone to hear. They left in a hurry, laughing all the way.
I call it a steven Spielberg or woodyallen moment in their films when they capture something so similar we’ve seen in our childhoodsDelete
John in Palliative care like you I find I often get stopped in my tracks by something a patient says even if it’s a simple ThankYou At a difficult moment .I had older parents who loved me dearly and showed it but as an only child I longed for a sibling to share with mind by cousins hated each other !!!ReplyDelete
Yes, I think with patients there are hidden emotions behind comments which you pick up with a trained earDelete
I love your turn of phrase "cerebral cul-de-sac" and also the memory you found there. I'm glad you had openly loving siblings. My mother was mostly emotionally absent as well but I always attributed it to not having a mother of her own from a young age. Today you have made me take a look at how that might have affected me and my feelings toward her as she ages with dementia.ReplyDelete
I was lucky as they were..we all hand our gran who the biggest of heartsDelete
At least you could come up with one memory. I have had to cut some toxic people out of my life, and that includes siblings.ReplyDelete
I’m sorry for that Janie x so sorryDelete
I am better off without them, but thank you.Delete
I cannot recall a single argument with my brother, and he's 70 now, while I am 67. I can recall a few things I did that should have annoyed him, but never did, as far as I recall.ReplyDelete
Brothers often irritate each other drastically , you are luckyDelete
There was nothing "wrong" with my childhood but I don't remember laughing.ReplyDelete
With my own children we often found ourselves standing in the kitchen for no real reason and laughing until we cried.
I’m sure you did given the second paragraphDelete
I'm an only child whose parents divorced when I was 13. My Mama and I had good times together, so just thinking about her makes me smile. xoxoReplyDelete
Laughter the best of life .ReplyDelete
Just wonderful how close and supportive your sisters are, and also your grandmother was.ReplyDelete
All happy families are the same. All unhappy families are unhappy in their own way...ReplyDelete
A deep and happy memory stands out from the mundane and sometimes unpleasant.ReplyDelete
It is a rare thing to have someone in your life that you can unselfconsciously throw back your head and laugh until the tears flow. I can count those people on one hand at this point.ReplyDelete
Nu is another , Nigel, Mike, Jane, john are othersDelete
Very proud to be included in your circle of laughter.Delete