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Ah, and now to deal with you. I have been visited upon by my mare, Duetz the past few nights in vivid dreams just before waking. I know you can’t be far behind. All this digging into has brought ghosts to light on many fronts. I welcome your visit, I need your wise, brotherly advice at this point in life.

Scan 33

Duncan visiting me in Jakarta in 1982

How do I deal with the fact that half of my life, I spent with you, and now almost as long has passed since you left? What one word would I say to you, if given just that chance?

So much life has gone on for me since yours stopped. I have looked at your picture and wondered how you would react to me today. As your younger sibling I  always sought your approval, I’m sure that hasn’t changed.

You’ve shown up fleetingly in dreams. I can smell you, as only a sister would. You haven’t aged, you are still thirty-three. You are still moving at the speed of light and I struggle to catch up.

When we were first allowed to walk to school alone, cross the streets and make our way up the hill on stubby legs, you always walked too fast. If I complained, I was rewarded with a forced march the next day as further threat to not tattle. In my dreams, you are hurrying off again, I’m trying to keep pace and tell you all you’ve missed. You always smile and say, “I have seen it all.” as you leave. I’m not sad when I awake. Rather, I feel strangely calm.

I’m building a body of work now. I’m trying to save every memory and every important milestone for Lex and Han. I want us to be part of the” never-ending story.” I struggle with the same stupidly human foibles that I have struggled with for years. I rate my progress against what I think you would expect from me by now.

Every time you appear, you dismiss my simple awe and shine a warm glow of acceptance. I feel loved and the judgement I expect never happens. Yet the search for that acceptance, from the first human who was closest to me in experience, never fades. You knew all the answers. You were first. You forged the path.

And so, now to you, little sister. You and I are left adrift in this life. You may think I have answers, you may think you have some of your own, The truth is, we are left to write this story alone with our own tools forged of birth order, memories and learned responses. We are the keepers of the light. I don’t know what it means to be the third child. I can’t imagine having two siblings ahead of me to chart my life by. I know only the middle child. I wasn’t the oldest or the youngest. I was always too young or too old to fit either category.

Whatever we are, we are all that is left of that time, and that means we get to write history as we see fit.


Soul Sister 2013

13 comments on “The letter to my brother…and my sister…

  1. Touring NH says:

    I know your brother would be proud of you, you have followed your dreams and made your own path. That isn’t something just anyone can do.


    1. thanks Laura, it’s been a crooked and rocky path sometimes but with the help of friends, I seldom stumble or get lost…


  2. Chris F says:

    He has visited me in dreams a few times….I can’t imagine him at 61 so he’s always still young in my dreams as well. I don’t remember dreams well, so I am left with fleeting impressions, but the feeling is good. No one would be a bigger cheering section for your new ventures, Zanne’s new adventure. Maybe someday you will all get to compare notes and smile.


    1. Thank you Chris. I’m glad he sometimes visits you too. The fleeting impressions are what stick with me and the warm feeling of knowing he is out there.


  3. Older brother-younger sister relationships always have special connections. Funny the things you remember about them. Enjoyed the post


    1. Thanks for stopping by Phil. Hope spring is headed your way soon.


  4. Friends are great things to have but there’s nothing quite like family.


    1. For better or worse, family stands the test of time, Alan…


  5. mariekeates says:

    Sometimes I’m visited in my dreams by those I’ve lost too. I often wonder if this is a real thing, them coming to me when I’m able to accept them, or just my wishful mind. One dream stays with me to this day, a lost love who died far too young at twenty five. He enfolded me in his arms and I could feel his warmth, the hairs of his jumper on my face and the smell of him. It should have been sad but it was a comfort.


    1. This is very interesting Marie, as the feelings of comfort are universal, I can’t help but think it is the real thing and not just our wishful minds as the visits are so random and always a surprise to me…


      1. mariekeates says:

        It would be lovely to think so.


  6. Fred says:

    You really resonated with me on this post. I consider visitations in dreams from loved ones now gone as a heavenly gift. I had a dream where Bob and Barbara (my Father-in-law and mother-in-law) visited a younger me somewhere in California and it was a wonderful visit. I woke up with a smile.


  7. Thank you Fred! Age is a funny thing, isn’t it? I don’t know if you remember Duncan, he was my guiding light through childhood though we took very different paths when we grew up. Agreed, it is very special when those who have gone before show up.


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