Today, August 6th 2017 is my 25th Birthday. I was 4 when you were born, so I cannot remember those premature birthday years before you were here. So, in my head, today is the first birthday I will have without you.

There will be no celebrations, no balloons or cheers at no. 23. No smiles, no gifts and no silly statements. No. 23 will remain silent, as today we do not celebrate, but we mourn of what was and what will never be.

August 6th 2016 – I spent the morning, with a day off work and getting my nails done. Approaching the counter, the nail technician smiled and said ‘Your little brother was in and already covered the nail charge.’ I smirked as my gratitude filled my smile lines because you had thought of me.

August 6th 2015 – We spend the day together and you tell me to go to Bond’s Jewellers on Main St. Coleraine and pick an Alex and Ani Bracelet, I pay half and you pay half. We have a party and a food fight in Maureen and Tommy’s house.

August 6th 2017 – Instead of celebrating with you, this year I have written 25 Things I Miss About You, because today is not a celebration.

The sound of you singing – badly

You can’t sing and you never could. Although you believed you really did have talent the whole family begged to differ. But the hallways are now quiet with no in-between adult and teen voice crackling on Lady Gaga’s high notes or messing up the lyrics during a high speed Nicki rap solo. Family car journeys are less manic as you are not hogging the CD Player and demanding silence while you have your own sing along to the worst songs I have ever heard, but I miss it, the way you would giggle when you knew you messed up and how angry you would get when I plugged my ears.

Your Iced Coffee’s this summer

There is something about your Sunday Morning, coffee, milk and ice ratio with a little nip of sugar for good measure that made angels sing. Through my late teens and early twenties you brought these to me in bed and it just was the perfect start to the day. I can’t make coffee like you do, so I don’t even try.

Having to strategically plan my showers

You hog the warm water, I could count on one hand the amount of warm showers I have had in my parents’ house. Even if I put the emersion heating on first, you would somehow convince me that it was your time to shower and I would be subject to a three minute freezing shower that subsequently gave me the cold. But that is ok, because I am your big sister and rather me get the cold than you.

Your stories – your life was completely mad

‘What the actual hell’ – My usual response to you scaling buildings, your friends getting spat on, someone shouting a homophobic slur at you. Every day there was something new, involving someone else and I was aware of it all. You would sit on the end of my be and tell me piece by piece the events from the night before, I would stare in disbelief at the choices people were making and the lack of consequence that followed, but you are a millennial, all your lives are mad and don’t make sense to me.

1am Adventures

‘ping’ – no answer ‘ping’ – no answer ‘knock, knock’ a light tap of hand on the plasterboard that separates us. ‘Yasmin, wanna go to McDonalds, Ill pay’ Of course you never ended up paying and these trips were just another reason I fell victim to your bad singing but they were fun and I miss them.

Arguing about your high morals and my lack of

To anyone I ever slagged off or fell out with, he was on your side trust me. He couldn’t understand the fact that I have no filter and I just said it how it was back then , but he has taught me to bite my tounge and to think before I speak. You don’t know how your actions or words can affect another person. Then again your morals are so high no one could live up to them ever, I told you this over and over. As you got older they loosened a little…. Kind of.

The smell of Versace and hairspray in the landing

Fumes, your beautiful smell – I can get one wif of that scent and I will just cry for hours. That scent defined you and only is suited to you.

You not texting me back

This was one of the first things that came to mind the day you were meant to come home on March 20th – I had planned to go off on one (again) about the lack of replies I receive when I ask questions via text. My iphone messaging screen is ALL GREEN bubbles and HARDLY ANY grey bubbles. Every so often I would get little bursts of conversation answering the previous texts with one word answers. But who really wants to text their sister, I am not cool and I don’t particularly have anything interesting to say – So I don’t blame you for not texting me back.

Starbucks Dates

I often look at the chairs we sat in routintely, and think of the amount I have spent in the establishment – both thoughts bring a tear to my eye. I don’t know who loved coffee more but we could often just sit in silence and not speak, have a couple of mini laughs about memes on the internet or the fact that girls stare at you even though you are gay. We loved having a catch up in starbucks, it was like it was the place we went together to escape, our last time there was 5th Feb 2017, in the London Starbucks in Whitechapel. Coleraine’s tastes better and they spell your name right there.

Our ‘does this make me look fat’ dates

This is exactly what it says on the tin and includes hours and hours of me trying on clothes in Topshop for the fat police approval. You saved me from many fashion disasters and I need you more than ever know because I don’t have a clue.

Your big spangled out of proportion muscly legs

You are just all leg! Yours start at the middle of your belly and last for 100 years until joining with your jumbo feet at the bottom. With your black spray on skinny jeans only holding together at the seems, for someone who never did leg day I could make out every muscular curve of your thigh through your jeans. I miss those legs kicking in the air, watching them flick over the back gate and seeing them run down the stairs.

Your face and hair on a Sunday Morning

My favourite version of you. Not the photoshoot, work or night out version, the relaxed, slightly tired messy haired brother with mismatched socks and loose fit grey jogging bottoms. That’s my favourite, only with those you trust would you ever fully relax and seeing you bounce round the kitchen, 100% relaxed always made me smile.

 

You stealing my make up

Should a brother and sister really go through this? We did, we fought so much about it I have two locks on my door and you still picked them and stole my contour kit. I would then shout so much that I would eventually feel bad and let you keep it, because I am soft like that.

Getting kicked out of my mum and dad’s room at night because it was your turn

Noteably we are very needy children, mummy having to separate our time out that we spend individualy with her is not a joke in our household. I miss sharing her with you, I watch her ache now whilst I talk about problems that used to seem so large but in hindsight are so miniscule its scary.

Your goofy laugh

That uncontrollable contagious half laugh, half hissing sound was when you reaaaallllyyyy knew that you were having fun. I miss that.

Kisses when you leave the car

We never leave the car without giving our mum a kiss on the cheek, and as I got older, passed my driving test and got a car this tradition happened between me and you also. I secretly loved it, because I knew the only other person who this happened with is Mummy, it might have been out of reaction or accident but to me it was special.

Lending you money

Its been 20 weeks since you left, in my savings account I have £200 – it makes sense, since I gave you £10 a week as a ‘loan’ that now I have no one to lend money too so I save it for a rainy day.

 

Dressing up to celebrate your achievements

I spoke at your funeral how you were the only man I would dress up for and this is still the case. I wanted to look nice and not embarrass you on your special nights, I hope I did you proud.

Your random acts of kindness

Buying lunch for the homeless, bring my washing in from the line or making extra pasta and sauce so I can have some. You always cared and I miss that.

The way you can make my mum smile

This doesn’t even need a paragraph, it’s the thing I miss the most. x

Your big piercing blue eyes

Everything about you is beautiful, but your eyes were like the window to your soul. They are the brightest of blue with a dark outline and mini lines of my daddy’s recongisable green tinge. It is behind those eyes that tell the real story, that hide the pain.

Stealing my clothes

My jeans, suede tops, jogging bottoms and even t-shirts, if it fit me, it can fit you. Everything looks better on you anyway – so I let you have them all.

Your wonky eyebrows

They are real, this is what I will continue to tell people even though you are gone. One curves and one is straight, they got to a point that they looked heavy but they were amazing. Bold, chunky and dark against the worlds most beautiful blue eyes. Eyebrows are supposed to be sisters, not twins but yours are more like far out cousins who no longer speak.

Your towering hugs

For 20 weeks I have searched for a hug that imitates yours, Tom is a little thin and I think Conall is maybe too tall so the fit isn’t just right yet. You always slumped down to my height and let me rest my chin on your shoulder. The last night I would ever see you, we had a hug at the front door, when it was over I remember getting into the car and thinking ‘that hug went on for a little too long.’ Then just like that, you were gone.

Your ‘Good Luck’ Messages

Exams, gradings, competitions or operations I was guaranteed a ‘good luck superstar’ message. Even though mummy was probably warning you to send them, the fact that it was never missed was so special, I have one favourite message from the European’s last year that I have saved on my camera roll, so every time I have a special event I read it and imagine I just opened the text.

 

 

15 thoughts on “

  1. This is truly beautiful. I also have a brother and I am crying right now like a big baby. I am so sorry for your loss, heartbroken that this sir of thing cannot be prevented that depression is so deep, dark, unpredictable and cruel….it makes ppl do the craziest things. Thinking of you loads.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I never met your brother but I wish I had in a karate competition to see him in action or even refereed him is fight or two.I feel very sad for you and your family for the loss of this young handsome young guy who was taken away so suddenly it’s so hard to comprehend.May God bless him and your family and remember that you have Beautiful memories of a wonderful human being.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is beautiful. I lived across the road from you years ago I would of seen you both walk past with the dogs. Your mum and dad lovely people helped me build my kids toys one Christmas. I am now a counsellor, mental health worker. Words fail me to try and ease your pain. I send my love to you all.

    Like

  4. Hi Yasmin I am Catherine from France. I just found the flyer about “Not all wounds are visible” in the church in Coleraine where I just attended the mass. Just wanted to let you know that your text and action are both beautifull and surely help a lot of people. I am 51 now, but when I was 18 I suffered a similary illness as your brother. At that time it was my chance that I met the right person to put me on the right way to get support. Others round me had not this chance and we lost them. It’s great to read what you do to help increase the knowledge and tolerance about people suffering mental desease. Keep on going, you’re doing a great job, and may you and your family and friends feel the good thoughts of many, in this special Christmas Time.
    May God bless you.

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    1. Hello Catherine, thanks for reading.
      I’m glad you found my entries enjoyable. Thank you very much for you message. It warms my heart that you took the time to read my thoughts. I wish you peace and love this Christmas.

      God bless you
      Yasmin

      Like

  5. Hi Yasmin, this was so beautiful to read although I’m sure painful for you to write.. you have so many beautiful memories of the two of you and the time you spent together, things you shared and places you went. It’s clear you miss him terribly and the bond you had was and is still unbreakable… you had a closeness most people only dream of.
    The work you do now though to help and support others going through hard times is incredible. Zachary was a very handsome, kind, thoughtful young man and it was a pleasure to have known him….. You are truly an inspiration.
    Stay strong and God bless you and your family xx

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