Today I should be singing ‘Happy birthday’ to my youngest sibling, my second brother. I still could I guess but standing by a grave and singing ‘Happy birthday’ always feels a bit odd. On the day he would have turned 22 I will remember him as always and the memories will, albeit briefly, bring me solace. We had precious little time together but I will always remember my brother and love him deeply.
Dear Davy boy,
Today is your birthday. If you were still here you would be 22 today. I don’t know what you would have been doing because in the two weeks we had there was no time to get to know you. We’re left with the memories of a little baby boy and the tears we still shed because you had so little time to live.
When Daddy came to Grandma’s to tell us you had been born I imagined being your big sister, helping to look after you while you were still a baby, reading to you and teaching you our games as you got older and being there for you to talk to every day of your life. When I met you the following day I knew that I would do all I could to always protect you and keep you safe. You were my baby brother and at eight I thought myself grown up enough to protect you from all the bad things in the world. I would love you the way a mother loves her baby and protect you the same way. You filled me with pride and joy and I would never let anything take that away.
When you came home I helped Mummy with you. I decided you should have a teddy so I stood by your pram one afternoon with Sister beside me and cut the whiskers off Nurse Cat so she could go into your pram with you. I made that sacrifice for you and it was a sacrifice as Nurse Cat was one of my favourite toys, I never got her back. I loved being your big sister and having you there. It was the most amazing thing ever. I had loved you and wanted you from the day Mummy told us she was pregnant and I suggested calling you David Michael. Mummy and Daddy didn’t like Michael so Brother suggested Martin and there you were, David Martin, from that day on.
I often think of you and I wonder what you would be like. Would you have been clever like me? Would you have been the one that actually went to university and really made something of his life? When I was younger I used to imagine what you would look like. I think you might have kept those beautiful blues eyes and had the dark hair that the rest of us have, even if you had gone through a blond phase like Brother did. I was always sure you would be handsome and would never be short of a girl or two to ask out. I hope you would have been friendly and popular and never felt alone.
Twenty-two is a great age, you would have loved being twenty-two I’m sure. I watch young men I know who are around that age and I wonder where you would have fitted in. I guess you would have been fairly easy-going and probably a bit of a joker as Daddy is a complete wind-up merchant. Brother is quite like Daddy in some ways and I think you probably would have been too. I know that Brother would have liked being able to take you down the pub for a few drinks and last year, being at Conversations on your 21st birthday, was difficult for us as we could imagine having you there.
I still remember the day you died, but this is your birthday and I don’t want to dwell on the memories of the heartache that came that night. I will say that we had a chance to show you off that day and I could not have been a more proud sister.
I will always remember the two weeks when we had you, you will always be in my heart. I love you always David Martin.