Wednesday, 4 May 2011

A Life less ordinary

My most recent photo of Paul and I

"What is reality, and who's to tell
The difference 'twixt that and thought's wild flight?
The moon, that in the darken'd water dwells,
Is't that which danceth in the sky by night?
And does the Unicorn exist? And where
On this wide earth are Dragons to be found?
I know in truth they do not linger here,
Yet still my heart can catch their distant sound.
For what am I, if all the life I have
Is made of cold reality, not dreams?
I am worth nothing if I do not crave
The glory of imagination's schemes.
   And so, you sceptic stranger, do not dare
   To prick illusion's bubble, for 'tis rare."

It's my birthday today and my brother's deathday was revealed last week, on Easter Monday. It's funny, I've spent most of my life dreading the death of a loved one, but when the day arrives Death seems to hold you in her still arms so that you don't feel the chill wind of reality. Real events play out like they are the dream. 

My brother shaped his own destiny and died while salvaging the lake he loved on the organic farm he loved in Brittany. He was the original eco warrior and has left a scene of utter devastation emotionally and spiritually. I chose Cat Steven's Morning Has Broken for the service in France (although for me his song will always be Curtain Call by The Damned). We'll have another for friends on this side of the channel in due course.

I picked up a few of the books he urged me to read over the years of our life. I'll start with Jean-Paul Sartre's Nausea and Aldous Huxley's Brave New World...

We were always inseparable and, being 2 years younger, I spent my entire childhood copying everything he did. In adulthood I bought the renovation project in Brittany to be nearer to him also. 

He was my brother and I Love him. He was also a father to two beautiful little girls, a husband to Steffi, a son, a brother, a brilliant artist, a corporate tax lawyer in london for 10 years, a renovator, a punk, a person less ordinary...


  1. I am so incredibly sorry for your loss. We lost my brother in law two weeks ago, and he left behind a wife and two children. It is a terrible terrible loss. I'm sending you wishes of love and peace.

  2. Beautiful writing Pip. I miss Paul more than words can say...

  3. I am sorry for your loss. You and yours will be in my prayers.

    wishing you strength and light to see you through,

  4. So very sorry to hear your news Pip. Your brother sounded lovely and made the most of his time on earth. Hugs for you.

  5. I am so very sorry to hear about the death of your brother. Hugs...

  6. Dear Pip,
    I adore the poem you wrote.
    Your thoughts and memories you wrote about are so real, raw, and tender. Bittersweet - passages of time, lives that touch and then pass on like beams of light (the yin yang of light/the shadow side). Knitting, art, music, poetry, love, nature all help us heal. Reading a book right now Knitting Heaven and Earth - about healing the heart with craft.
    I an advanced beginner knitter, I am in process of knitting my second sock, making my first pair of socks! We knit more than just yarn, we weave moments into something that endures. Best of light and love sent your way.

  7. Dear Pip,

    I've been away, out of the country, and am just catching up. I skipped through my backlogged reader, picking out particular people to catch up with, and that meant you. I am so so so terribly sorry for your loss, especially since he sounds like such an amazing person (the world can scarcely spare those!), and he meant so very much to you. I'm glad you found some comfort, and I hope as time passes you are able to feel better.

    Gosh. I'm so sad. I'm so sorry.


  8. and also, happy belated birthday, which must have gotten lost in the shuffle.