My Brother Max…May You Live Forever!

I prefer not to directly refer to specific or living people in my Blogs….well other than me, myself and I….OBVIOUSLY….oh, and then there are my children…Salt and Pepper….but they don’t count. I have done enough for them in their lives for the Bill of Rights not to apply under my roof!! I try keep the content vague, as I feel it is inappropriate to refer to people directly…..almost an invasion of privacy if you will. So, instead, I sometimes write something offensive about a person, or a group of people, but discreetly…. without being specific….. and if they identify themselves in my blogs……well…….

Now when it comes to my youngest of 3 older brothers, it does make it slightly easier, as the nutter does not go by his birth name. No…..nope, he has (for as long as I can remember), gone by the name ”Max”. Where that originated from, I know has a long and undoubtedly hilarious story attached to it. I also know that I have been told this story, but I am the safest person to tell your deepest darkest secrets to, as I just forget everything anyway. But with my brother Max, I should be excused, as there are tons of hilarious stories about his colourful past, and I could surely not be expected to remember them all!!

Now, because I know my brother so well, I know that he would be extremely touched by the fact that I am even calling him Max. I am the only person I know, who has flat out never called him Max….as that is not his name….and I don’t roll like that….for no good reason whatsoever!! And I also know, that his love for me is so unconditional, that despite my stubborn behaviour, he has totally excused this, or more importantly, accepted this.

This is but only one of many times that he has excused my unacceptable behaviour. You see Max and I are….well….chalk and cheese (already secured the copyright for Salt and Pepper….but same idea!!) Actually I do not like that analogy……let’s say you want a scoop of ice cream. If you got me, you would get a scoop of Vanilla. If you got Max, you would get Rocky Road, Rum and Raisin, Mint Crisp, Fudge Popsicle and the yet to be discovered Beetroot, Oregano and Curry, all rolled into one scoop and topped with sprinkles……and cumin!! But by the same token, there is a surprisingly miniscule amount of my flavour in Max’s scoop, and vice versa. So, what I am trying to say is, Max has always been tolerant of my traits that are poles apart from his. He has not only been tolerant, but patient, forgiving and accepting. Are you starting to see where Max and I could not be more different if we tried??

Now as different as Max and I are from one another, each one of us 4 siblings are different. But where Max and I bear many similarities, is in our belief systems. We both want to save the world. We both want peace and love for all. We both believe the socio economic systems in the world are unfair and unjust. We are both very passionate about equality and human rights. But the integral difference comes in where Max selflessly does everything he can do to make a difference to all of these situations. He always has. I, on the other hand, just destroy my soul thinking about these things, but selfishly do what , when and if I can.

Until a few years ago, this behaviour of Max’s used to upset and frustrate me. I felt he acted irresponsibly, was lazy and wanted to live in a world that just was not attainable. I was frustrated with him, impatient, probably condescending, but most of all intolerant of him. I just believed that as much as his intentions were good, they were irresponsible. I could not understand how he could always work just enough to get paid what he needed to survive, so that he had time to save the world. He was blessed with oodles of smarts, talents and creativity, and that made it even harder for me to accept.

He really did try to explain himself to his judgemental family many years ago, and what his plans were for his future. Of course, with a family full of Vanillas, we thought he was up a pole, and did not entertain his ”lunacy”. In retrospect I believe, that he was trying so hard to make us see what he saw, that he tried to structure his presentation (yes…there was a presentation once) to conform to our Vanilla mentality. But he is not Vanilla, and hence it really did come across as sheer lunacy. Had he just spoken his truth, we MIGHT have been more understanding….but probably not.

Please do not think for a moment that he is too good to be true. Far from it. We also bear similarities in our sarcastic, snarky and intolerant natures. He is very stubborn and has a temper, which surfaces here and there. We are both self deprecating, have moments where we fantasise about beating the sense into somebody…….or the crap out of them. But with all those “inherited from my dad” traits, Max is, LITERALLY, the funniest and most sharp- witted person I have ever encountered. We have over the years had endless get togethers where my body literally hurts from laughing.

I think that over the years, most people who had known him began to accept him for who he was….even if they did not appreciate him for who he was. I am ashamed to say, that it took me longer than most. I just spent all those years trying to save him….change him……make him ”normal”. In retrospect, why would I possibly have wanted to do that?? He did not want or need me to save him. I was just so fearful that he would one day wake up (too late) with regrets, and realise he should have done things differently in order to have lived an easier and happier existence.

It was only a few years back, that I realised he WAS happy. The fact that I did not think I would have been happy with the life he had made for himself, was none of my concern. He was happy….I was not….go figure. Not only was he happy, he was making others happy…..me….growled at others. Sure there have been (and still are) many who think he is batsh&%* crazy or annoying . But he doesn’t care. To those people he just becomes more batsh&%* crazy or annoying, and then sits back and enjoys their rage.

He has never asked for anything. If it is offered, he will take it, but invariably pay it forward anyway. He has spread sparkles and fairy dust wherever he has gone (sometimes literally), and still only wants one thing…..to save the world.

Unlike me, who wants to save the world, but realises I cannot, and am not sure if I have the time or resources to do it, questions the attainability and sacrifices of it all, he chooses to go ahead anyway! And although he might not be able to save the world (or any part of it), he has certainly touched the lives of so many in giving it his best shot!!

The reason I am choosing to write about this now, is because tomorrow is promised for no one. But with Max, it is promised a little less. He has been battling with emphysema for many years now, and unfortunately it is a degenerative disease which just continues to deteriorate.

In true Max style, he recently held a sibling conference call (code for family meeting post COVID), where he has assured us that he is okay, happy and loving life. He has no regrets, and is ready to leave us whenever it is his time. He continues to spread his love and light, even if more remotely, and continues to be a better person than most.

Over the years, as with most families, we have not seen each other as much as we could have. But he has always shown up when necessary (even if I did not think it was necessary at the time), would drop everything when it was necessary, and given me much love, laughter and light…..and of course his tolerance!

So to my brother Max….I say to you…. forgive me for all those wasted and intolerant years of mine, where I failed to see your light. Although, I really need not ask for your forgiveness, as I know you understood it at the time anyway.

Luv you bruv….may you live forever.

4 thoughts on “My Brother Max…May You Live Forever!

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