Saturday, 1 December 2018

Where were you?

I returned to England as my brother had died. He was penniless and I found out that he had been out of work for some time with a failing heart and lungs riddled with cancer. He had one skill apart from bullying me as I was two years younger than him and I don't think he ever forgave me for breast feeding with our mother. Growing up and being told to go outside and play together was a harsh punishment for me. He didn't like me tagging along with his friends and would punch me or push me in the stinging nettles by the path that led to the woods. Once I came home with a broken wrist after falling from a tree that I climbed. My mother's first reaction was "Did your brother do that to you?", so I said "No". I don't think she believed me. So following advice of his death I sifted through what possessions of his that were left. Virtually nothing remained but evidence of his skill as a photographer. Boxes and boxes of film and prints; so I spent time going through them selecting some for myself and some for his ex-wife who said she would like some memories too despite divorcing him some years prior. With that his sixty-five years of life were gone; obliterated and forgotten whist I returned to my home country the other side of the world with photographs of everything and everyone but him.

                                                 Where were you my friend
                                                 When I needed a brother?
                                                      Not one photograph

Image found at

Yes, this story is based on fact


  1. Dad. Robin. I had a little sister and she was a favorite with all. Even with me. I'm sorry that your brother fell into really bad hard times. And that there weren't any pictures of him. But unless he asked a bystander. Who was there to take any. On holiday the Mrs. or I do ask a bystander. Most are happy to help.

    1. Thanks for you visit. Not unnaturally my piece is not entirely the truth Jim. I do have photos of him in teenage years and before. However the words I wrote relate to his waste of a life, two failed marriages, being a spendthift and failing to see a doctor when he needed to.

  2. The last line gave me chills... evidence of the creativity but not of the artist. That is so often the case throughout history but you have made it so very personal.

  3. I had a similar dilemma when my dad died, Robin. I personally had a handful of old photographs with him in it that I treasure. My youngest sister took it upon herself to choose one photo of him out of the collection in my mother’s sideboard, which is not as I remember him at all, and reproduced it in cheap frames to hand out after the funeral. I would have loved to have chosen one myself – and now they are all gone.

  4. Such a poignant take on the picture, Robin!

  5. I think that maybe (if hadn't died) you would have found some common ground... but maybe through his pictures you see a side of him you never knew.

  6. It's strange how life turns out...a poignant read.

  7. It was sad that the end seemed very unfair! The fact that there were lots of snaps revealed a sense of purpose that he pursued without fanfare. He would have accomplished more perhaps if not of being sickly! Poignant write Robin!


  8. Life goes so quickly... It's a shame when someone wastes the precious moments given them.

  9. Oh no, I'm sure many bullies end their days alone. A sad tale