Losing a member of one’s family is like shrinking a little. I feel that way now; smaller, less connected to something solid. Yesterday my big brother, whom I have often written about here and elsewhere, died. It was not a big surprise, as he had been very ill for some time, and I have been waiting for that phone call for months. It was still a jolt, a shuddering touch, a reorganizing of one’s reality. I realize that no one alive now knew me back then, when I was very young and looked up to him as some kind of special shining being, to be emulated at all costs.
Ten years older, he was not living at home as I grew up but he was a constant visitor. Whereas Mother was all about books and literature, poetry and history, he was all about music. He was the one who opened my eyes and ears to ballet and opera, who took me around and introduced me to interesting people, invited me to London England when he was there doing his PhD in ancient Greek drama in the 60s. He prodded me into singing lessons and graduate school. In some ways he was domineering, waspish and hard to please, but underneath the crust he was the most caring person I have known. People opened up to him in the most amazing way, because he listened. He was critical, often melancholy but he was generous too, and always interesting. I will miss him.
He would hate this picture, but it was the last time I visited him down in London, and he was happy.