My elder brother Jai passed away in his sleep 2 weeks ago, in Ghana, Africa, today was his funeral. My sister Tara and her son Deckard are the only family members present at the funeral, the rest of us not able to fly out there.
He was 11 years older than me, nicknamed me Podge during my puppy fat teenage years and continued to call me that long after I lost the weight. He was a great brother for a lot of years and it's that brother I have shed tears for.
He made lots of money and lost it all in the property crash of the early nineties, Dad bailing him out as best he could with what little money scraped together, we and an uncle, lost our homes as a result, our uncle, Dad and sister Geeta all passing away before Jai did.
Jai did little to make amends, guilt and shame taking their toll, I guess. The fortune in Oil and Commodities never really materialised, borrowing money from anyone and everyone, his ex girlfriend Caroline, a poor woman now, she was a wealthy woman when they met.
What else is there to say, other than when Jai had money, he did give us money for rent, medical care, holidays, when he had no money, several years passed with little or no contact from him. Our own particular falling out happened after Dad's passing 4 years ago, I couldn't believe Jai was absent at Dad's funeral, as the eldest son, he should have been the one to do the last rites for his father, in accordance with Hindu beliefs. Unpleasant emails were exchanged between the two of us, the last unpleasant email I received from him was 3 years ago about our mother's care, he instructed us all to jump off Battersea Bridge and that was the last contact I had with him.
I have still lost a brother, and I try to focus on the nice things he did, like paying for me to train as a Make Up Artist when I was 20, paying for my private medical care to investigate crippling urological pain I was suffering, though no known cause was found In 1994; all the times I typed his business letters or served as his receptionist around the same time. Paying for and travelling with Jai to Trinidad, December 1985, to visit our mother and relatives, paying for mine and baby sister's trip to Disney World, Orlando in 2010.
The last time baby sister and I actually saw Jai was December 2011, and he gave us a little money to help us out. The last money I received from him was £100 to pay my mobile phone bill, August 2012, following Geeta's passing I had to call Dad in Trinidad a few times for guidance on the religious rites for her, Geeta's funeral paid for by Jai.
I have to thank him for his love and generosity in the good times and overlook the bad times, wiping away tears now, realising no magical family reunion will ever happen with him In attendance. One last thing, his Post Mortem revealed a build up of fat around his liver, as far as I know, no one usually dies from that, he was 62.
RIP brother, you are still loved xxx
PS. Baby sister and I kept the candle lit for you and the water for your thirst and I have only just remembered the poem I wrote for your 40th birthday and how great you thought it was - A Ruby for your thoughts dear bro - Jai Shri Krishna
PPS. Just now remembering how, like Dad, you were a big fan of my cooking, you liked to take us out, to dinner, Stevie Wonder in concert and it wasn't about how much money you had, but you felt if you didn't have money, no contact was required, not true but that's how things were, elder brother syndrome, I guess X.