Thursday, November 6, 2008

500th Post - He Ain't Heavy

Say hello to my brother, Ernest Cecil Keddy. He died in 1970, a month or so shy of his 17th birthday.

His first name came from my mother's father. The middle one is my father's first name. I have Dad's middle name, David, as my middle name.

I was 5 years old when my brother died, a month and a bit before I turned 6. I was too young to understand what had happened. I remember seeing the stump where his right leg had once been. I remember the prosthetic leg he wore and his attempts to ride a bicycle and participate in gym class. I remember my brother's car; a kindly mechanic had, for very little money, reversed the accelerator and brake peddles.

I remember my father working all day at his job and then driving to Halifax each evening to visit his son as the cancer ate away at him. That was an hour's drive each way, and my father only knew one way to get to the hospital. I think he would even take some of his school mates with him to visit if they wanted to come.

I remember when Ernie died. Like I said, I didn't understand what had happened, but I some how knew that I would never see him again. I remember all the tears. I remember my grief-stricken parents. I remember the post-funeral get-together at the house. There have never been so many people in that house, before or since, then there were that day. I remember the show-and-tell at my school where I told everyone what had happened, and the shocked look on my teacher's face.

Some of you know that I read a lot of comic books when I was growing up, and still read a few here and there. A common cliche in them, then and now, is the character who comes back from the dead. A few comics people are my friends on facebook, and they may even be taking the time to read this, for which I am grateful. Even when I was in my formative years, those stories pissed me off. Yeah, Captain Underpants could swallow an atomic bomb and everyone would think he had been killed. Blah blah blah. But the next issue, there he was, hale and hearty. But I knew that no amount of prayer, of super technology, nothin', would bring my brother back to me, to us.

I visited him on Sunday, November 2nd, to take some photographs of his tombstone. I had not been to see him in some time, and the more fool me. The trees that used to be next to his grave are long gone, a victim of some elm disease. The tombstone is becoming a little hard to read, thanks to the elements.

Ernie has spent the last nearly 39 years in the ground, while I have had so many opportunities that he never had a chance to experience. I hope, if there is an afterlife, that he is up there looking down on me: sometimes proudly, sometimes shaking his head, sometimes wagging his finger.

I have my good days and my bad days. We all do. When I am at my lowest, I think of what my brother missed out on, of the chances I have had that he did not have, and I pick myself up and dust myself off and try again.

It is what he would have done, and what he would have expected of me.

What else are big brothers for?



Roger said...


Sorry to learn about your brother.
In the many years that we communicated you never mentioned him.

Roger Keel

Bevboy said...

It never came up.

Anonymous said...

Sorry about your brother. I also agree with you about comicbook characters remaining dead.

Bevboy said...

Thanks for the kind words, Mr. Salicrup.

Keep reading my blog if you have a mind to. I want as many readers as possible.

There is a guy in Northern California who reads me nearly every day!