By Anthony L Hall
My family has been blessed beyond measure. That every one of my 15 siblings survived and thrived into adulthood is a testament to this.
Even with Christy’s death, I feel more gratitude than grief. Because, having spent the last years of his life in such withering pain, dying must have come as a relief.
But there’s also something perversely orderly about him being the first to go. Ours is (still) a very patriarchal culture. Therefore, as the first-born son, he would have felt the most grief if the bell had tolled for any of us before him, which speaks volumes.
Christy embodied serenity. This led some to mistake his meekness for weakness. Yet nothing demonstrated his strength quite like the courage with which he accepted his dying fate.
More to the point, I can think of no better way to describe his nature and the role he played in our family than this from Proverbs 29:11:
A fool vents all his anger, but a wise man holds it back.
Lord knows we’ve had our share of family squabbles. But all of my siblings would readily attest that there was never an occasion when Christy did not temper our clamoring anger with his quieting wisdom.
There’s so much I could say about him; so many stories I could share. But, trust me, he would not want me to.
Besides, I am mindful that it has become all too fashionable to express more love for people in death than was ever expressed, let alone shown, in life. As it happens, Christy and I were commiserating about this just days ago, juxtaposing it with the routine expressions of brotherly love that defined our relationship.
Little did I know that his last words to me would inform this homage to him.
A lifetime to say,
What’s too late today.
I am dead and gone,
So please, carry on.
Like our Mummy, Christy died from complications related to chronic kidney disease. Like her, he is gone too soon. She was 64; he was 62.
Farewell, my big brother.