Goodbye Little Brother…

Posted by on May 3, 2024 in Writings

Goodbye Little Brother…

Today, 3 weeks ago, I received the news that my stepbrother, Henrico, had passed away.

He had been battling with addiction and illness for a number of years – and when I received this news, there was relief and there was sadness.

Death is so final.

Henrico, or Rico as we called him,  came into my life, through my stepfather Hendrik, the father of my two younger sisters, Gypsy and Jasmin. We had always been a family of girls – my mother Carol, my sister Kate and I, with our father playing a long distance and more peripheral role. Rico had been born before my mother entered into a relationship with his father. Rico was small and he was mischievous, a very boisterous bundle of energy in what had heretofore been a very feminine household with 4 daughters.

He moved between his mother’s home and ours – neither space was very stable for him I believe.

I do remember him jumping onto my bed in the early hours to wake me (he was about 3 or 4 and I was a grumpy teen – this was a ritual I did not enjoy although I do look at it with fondness now). A memory that warmed my heart was the day he jumped into my lap, hugged me tightly and asked me to be his godmother…

Rico was in the car that killed my mother, his father and our sister Gypsy. He spent the next couple of weeks in a coma at Tygerberg Hospital, muttering and calling their names. He was unconscious but he knew…

By the time he awoke, the funeral had passed and he was left shocked and confused. The rest of us had grieved these deaths together and he was left to process this all on his own. With a broken leg.

That accident was earth shattering and when I look back 17 years, I see how this heart breaking event scattered those of us affected by the wind.

17 years later, I am helping to carry Rico’s coffin to his grave. It is small and it is light. The church ladies are clapping and singing. We each take turns to cover his coffin with sand and, once covered, we celebrate his life by decorating his grave with an abundance of flowers.

Goodbye Little Brother…

We love you

Goodbye Little Brother…

We thank you

I am grateful.

17 years ago, the accident shattered my family. 

17 years later, it feels like Henrico’s death and funeral brought some healing as we all gathered again to say goodbye.

I am relieved.

Henrico was suffering. His body is free of that turmoil now. I wish him peace.

I am sad.

Death is so final.