You were simple in your outlook on life; never needing to impress
Loving football, eating, collecting pocket knives and scary movies
More inclined to do for others, you never wanted to rock the boat
Just keep it sound and steady, not liking when things went adrift.

We were never close but were brothers all the same,
Growing up in a home without a father
Still there was a loving mother and our beloved Gram
Then your simple world shook to pieces by one big wave
Cancer and the slow fading that come with it.

What’s the purpose when life comes to such an end?
Some believe we’re called in life to overcome our failings
I wondered what were your faults as I read the eulogy
And it was then that I knew what you had mastered… patience;
Patience that’s pure and doesn’t come from being self-centered.

You spent the last two years of your life going from doctor to doctor
Learning patients with yourself and forgiving of doctors, nurses and others
Thus, patience evolved into lovingkindness, gratitude, and compassion
Witnessed on the last day when you seemed not to want to pass on
Waiting for others to accept what you had already accepted.

This is enlightenment; you can’t learn it in a book
When it’s normal, when it’s unquestionably a part of you
You can’t even describe its knowing or not knowing
Enlightenment will never admit enlightenment to itself
It sees with the heart before the mind can enter the room.

They say to embrace death is to live wisely, to the fullest
My question is, “what is expected of me? What is my lesson?
I know that the answers will eventually come and I may still never know
Answers often travel light as the wind without fanfare bringing more questions
Maybe all I know is that I don’t know and this is a good place for me to start.


(Originally published in March 2015 under a different title and format.)



28 thoughts on “Brother

  1. I agree with David, may you all continue to be of gentle support within the family – as we are here.
    A loss so close raises many questions and is hard to bear.
    You do not believe in punishment and neither do I, so it was no fault in your brother.
    ” Enlightenment will never admit enlightenment to itself
    It sees with the heart before the mind can enter the room.” you say. Beautiful and true.
    And answers will come to us quietly when we are ready for them.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. JC, I am so sorry for you loss. Trying to make sense of such sorrow and pain is nigh impossible I feel; sometimes just being has to be enough. I hope with time the happy memories shine stronger for you; that your brother’s courage and patience will become your standard bearer. Warmest wishes.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I’m sorry to hear about your loss. I’ve found that death always causes one (no matter how “enlightened”) to pause and reflect on life, people and purpose. I hope you’re doing well.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I don’t know the answers either. Sadly I do know loss to cancer not just once but five times in people very close to me. Perhaps writing is your way through. Very poignant piece that hit home with me in more ways than I can say here. So soory for your loss, may writing bring you comfort.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, yes writing does give me a sense of purpose in all this. Maybe it’s just the idea of leaving something of me for future generations. Thanks for your comment

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Such a nice poem, really comes from the heart. Sorry about that but pain what makes us tougher in life.


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