19 November 1991….20 years ago, a knock on the door by an official changed our lives forever.
Today marks the 20th anniversary of my brother’s death. Looking back, it’s surreal to believe two decades have passed since we said goodbye, in the literal sense … a telephone conversation ending with ‘bye and I love you’. What was a weekend of celebrations, clouded by a tragedy.
That weekend Bobby flew home for the weekend, army pass to spend some much anticipated time with family and to celebrate his 18th birthday, only 3 days prior (15 Nov). So definite cause for celebration. And before we knew it, the weekend had come and gone and he’d boarded his plane again, bound for Upington, back to the Army. An ‘institution’ if you will, that had surprisingly turned this young delinquent boy into a man. I think he’d finally found his calling and all it took was an environment of discipline and male influence and discovering something that brings passion out in you.
And what a sad tragedy to know that mere hours after arriving back, he would take his last breath. How cruel life is sometimes for no rhyme or reason.
20 years later and the memories are still fresh in my mind, as clear today as it was then. I remember his cheeky smile and mischievous personality. I remember the house sounding like a heavy metal concert arena; how the neighbours never complained, I don’t know. For all his faults though, Bobby had a beautiful side too and caring (when he thought no one was looking), a protective nature, wonderfully artistic and so full of life. For those who knew him, would know that he lived every day with conviction. There was always some new adventure, some catastrophe, or some incident, good and bad. Yes, life with Bobby was never dull to say the least.
Every so often I’ll wonder what it would have been like to have an older brother (38 this year). What he would have gone on to accomplish in life. Maybe nothing or maybe something outstanding. Would I have had nieces and nephews … so many questions to ponder and will never have answers to. This is a sad truth.
This I do know. I am grateful for the few years we had together. Albeit, some of them were spent in shouting matches that left you exhausted afterwards. But I guess that’s what siblings do. At the end of the day I knew I always had a brother there to protect me, love me and be there when I needed him. No questions asked.
… Bobby, you’ll live forever in my heart and never far from my thoughts. I love you always.
A little flashback. At the time this one was one Bobby’s favourite bands, Guns ‘n Roses. I recall vividly, when my mom wasn’t around, he’s blast us out of the house with music and there was no asking him to turn it down, even slightly. Although secretly I didn’t mind too much. but I’d never admit that to him. However a differnet story when he turned up the volume for Anthrax and Metallica, I quite literally wanted to throttle him.