Not many people know that I am an orphan … in the classic sense of the word. My father died more than a decade ago, and my mother about four years ago. But that was to be expected, considering that I am in my fifties.
The death that shook the foundations of my being was the death of my brother. I was 22 and he was 21.
People thought we were twins, since we were very close and always completing each other’s sentences. We had a bond that was very strong, and we had a sibling war happening every minute of the day - even after I was married and lived away.
At first I felt rage. Uncontrollable rage, because I felt he betrayed me by dying. Wasn’t it our unspoken pact to be there for each other? Why did he have to be a jackass and die on me? I know its not rational – heck I even knew it then … but the emotion was there nevertheless. Then came the agony, the pain, the suffering, the tears that could not be stemmed.
I did a lot of things to cope.
But with time the pain left. There is a God up somewhere, I firmly believe that. He is indifferent to the suffering humanity in his own way. Not a sadist, but not a mother clucking over us and trying to shelter us from whatever pain and suffering we face. Supremely indifferent to our tears, he nevertheless gives us the strength to carry on and the power to heal us.
With me what happened was that the pain became the balm.
Not a day goes by without remembering Dony. When I see siblings fight, tease each other or hug each other, I am reminded of Dony. My sons remind me of him, the way they wrestle, pillow fight and tease each other.
But I remember him with a smile. He was not perfect, he was quite a pain in the butt. But he was my brother, my companion, my partner in countless pranks. No memory of my childhood is complete without him.
I wrote my first book, A Bowlful of Butterflies, as a celebration of the bond between siblings.
It is my tribute to brothers and sisters around the world. It is my humble effort to relive and translate into words the bond I shared with my brother, the bond I carry in my heart and mind forever.
Seeing the book in print brought tears to my eyes, but with a smile.
Live on Dony and yes, if you tear any page of my book, I will hunt you to the end of the universe, find you, and kick you in the ass!
Parents raise you, the spouse lives with you, but it is siblings who really shape you as a person