What would have been
If you had been?
Would I have been another?
Chances are small,
I’d exist at all,
Let alone as the young brother,
But if you had lived too,
One thing is true,
I’d have a different name,
My identity,
The stuff that makes me me,
Nothing would be quite the same,
All the clothes that I’d own,
All those rooms alone,
I would have shared them with you,
The things that life throws,
Well only goodness knows,
What we’d have made our way through,
But it isn’t that way,
For on Delivery day,
For reasons that we can’t explain,
You arrived on our shore,
For an hour, no more,
And then suddenly were gone again,
And so we never met,
Not even once, yet,
I think of you often I find,
Coming to grips,
With could be’s, and what if’s
You were brother in more than my mind.

4 thoughts on “TO MY OLDER BROTHER

  1. Very nice write. I enjoyed reading it. There are six of us in my family; three brother and three sisters, but there should have been 7. My oldest brother lived for a month and then quietly slipped away one night. Every year on his birthday we’d still celebrate, but I always wondered what my life would have been like. Would he have been mischievous like my other three brothers? What kind of man would he have turned out to be? There are so many other questions, but I’ll never know will I?
    It doesn’t matter if I never met him face to face, he’s still my brother and I think about him often. Praying that your week is blessed.

    • Thanks very much. He was born a year before I was, in October 1960. I’m the oldest of 4, and the only boy, so if he had lived I would have not been the oldest, and would have not been the only boy. I know in a way it’s silly to think about the what if’s, but I can’t escape doing it sometimes, and I certainly think about him every year on his birthday.
      Interestingly, I called my father in Toronto (I live in Stockholm) to ask how long my brother actually lived once he was born. I thought my father would have to think for a bit, or perhaps might not remember at all. He remembered every detail instantly of course, and it seemed almost welcomed the chance to talk about it.

  2. That was a very touching piece, Ken. It makes me a little teary eyed. Oh, let’s be honest. I’m weeping. I can’t imagine not being the eldest sibling in my family, but I’d probably be a totally different person, if I’d even exist at all.

    I could have had not one, but two older siblings.

    But that didn’t happen. I’ve never really thought about what it would be like, and how different I would be, if they had been allowed to be born. Thinking about it now, though, makes me incredibly sad that I never got to meet them.

    • I’ve thought about writing something about him for a long time. Thing is, I grew up with three younger sisters, whom I love dearly, but always wanted a brother. When my dad left, leaving me with my mom and three sisters from the age of nine onward, that feeling just grew and grew. So I have kind of always been a little obsessed with the idea. Then I couldn’t let the idea go that he actually did exist. My mom mentioned him to me every year on Oct.30th, the day of both his birth and his death. Also, I’m named after my father, so I know of course that he would have received that name had he lived. I actually joked with my dad about it last night on the phone. My grandpa’s middle name was Henry. Instead of William Kenneth, I might have been William Henry. 😉

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