Priceless Treasures

 

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My brother John

"You aren't used to this are you?"  I asked him as he lay so desperately ill in hospital.  I was holding his hand.  "About time I did"  He replied.

This is one of those lasting impressions my beloved brother left me on his last day of conscious day in this world.  He was so demonstrative in his love for us, his family, and was unused to receiving any outward affection from me.   It was as if, by holding his hand all day, I could give him my life and strength and somehow make up to him all those thirty one years in which I could have showed more love and patience as he battled through the frustrations of autism.

John, sixteen months my senior, developed from someone who could not communicate, was obsessive in behaviour and was not considered "educable" into an extremely social person with his own circle of friends and was also very kind and considerate.   A born leader, he gave his circle of friends an aim and purpose in life and stamped them with his personality.

It seems strange that he should lose his earthly life at the age of thirty one, jus the age at which it was considered he would reach his full potential.  A potential which, indeed, was developed to its full after that major five and a half hour operation to remove a proportion of a rare benign tumour.  The admission that "After I get over this I will get very upset"  displayed his realization of the seriousness of his illness.  A realization and maturity that was painful for us, his family, to see.

The gaunt gangling figure walking down the ward for the first time amidst his drips and tubes whilst two nurses danced at his side brought tears to the eyes.  He was a "miracle" we told him.  He had no grasp of the word so "wonderful" sufficed.  Love abounded around him.  Nurses picked it up and gave it him back.  Others knew his plight, how, of all on that floor, he was the most seriously ill.  John rallied all behind him - patients, visitors and nurses all united in one wish - for his recovery.

It was not meant to be.  God took him to Himself after eight days on life support.   A prayer, prayed in earnest, was answered.  He left the life support machine very quickly, and it was a surprise, even to those nursing him.

John's view of life is with me eternally.  Moments remembered as we took him abroad for the first time.  This was his dearest wish, to hear another language, use another currency and fly in a plane.  Curtains that didn't meet in our apartment had been "ill treated" and, although he knew "things were different abroad" he didn't think there would be no "cereal dishes"!  Happily a pudding dish sufficed for his breakfast of cornflakes.  I think he was the original British colonial!

John had two dear close friends and I think the last comment should go to Michael who, on hearing of John's death at work, told his parents that "John was better now - he is being looked after" and sent his flowers with the message "In loving memory of my dear friend, John"

Sarah Jane Davies,
2 August 1986

 

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Copyright 2008  Sarah and Andrew Price 
Updated 24 December 2008
Copyright: Sarah Jane Price
March 2000.

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