Today is the 7th anniversary of my brother Eric passing away.
And like every year, I find myself not knowing what to do with myself. Like every year I wonder what I could say or do to make other people remember him, too – or if I should do anything at all.
They say, you should remember the good times – but focusing on life in the face of death is a rather difficult thing to do.
So I will light a candle and have a drink in Eric’s honour, like every year.
Back in 2008, I found this funeral prayer, that I read out loud when I spoke during the Eric’s eulogy:
Death is nothing at all.
It does not count.
I have only slipped away into the next room.
Everything remains as it was.
The old life that we lived so fondly together is untouched, unchanged.
Whatever we were to each other, that we are still.
Call me by the old familiar name.
Speak of me in the easy way which you always used.
Put no sorrow in your tone.
Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes that we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household word that it always was.
Let it be spoken without effort
Life means all that it ever meant. It is the same as it ever was.
There is unbroken continuity.
Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?
I am but waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near, just around the corner.
All is well. Nothing is hurt; nothing is lost.
One brief moment and all will be as it was before.
How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting, when we meet again.
I always found this very comforting, though I cannot read it without tearing up. As today is a day where I can hardly feel anything, maybe that’s what it is supposed to do. Allow yourself to feel what you try to suppress otherwise.
If Eric is watching me now, he would probably say to me: What’s wrong with you? Don’t whine so much! And: “Don’t take life too seriously – you will never get out alive”. That was a phrase he had engraved in a dog tag, which he wore every day. He never complained, not once, even when he got sick. In fact, he was the one who tried to lift up my spirits. He was always cheerful and I can’t remember anyone who did not like him.
He had a second tag, that said: “Live each day as if it was your last.” I try to live up to this, but it is hard. I try to celebrate his life, rather than thinking about his demise, every day of the year. If you have ever smoked the Shisha with me at our place, be it in Zwickau, Munich, Berlin or Sydney – it is Eric’s Shisha. Every time I use it, I celebrate my little brother.
Let’s light it again soon.