I’m sad to say my only sibling, my dear brother Freddie, died just a few hours before his 74th birthday. This Saturday mom’s going to have a wake for him at her house, and as per Dr. Bonnie Henry’s recommendations, will have under 50 people. Actually, there’ll be around 35 and it’ll be outside so people can stand apart.
I had a long time to prepare myself, so that helped a bit, but it’s still terrible to lose a sibling. I knew after visiting him last year in June that his health was in serious trouble, and indeed, he continued to go downhill from there.
Freddie was eight years older than me, so I have very little memory of him when I was small. I recall when he left for university I was ten, and I built him a lightning rod as I knew Vancouver was a rainy place. I suppose I must’ve thought rain meant lightning.
When I was around 15, he and his wife Wendy, nicknamed Twig, moved to Oliver and I was thrilled as they were hippies which gave me a certain cache. I recall one night in grade eleven they let me use their house for a small party while they went over to their friends’ place. Unsupervised teens! Those were great times.
I loved the smell of their house, which was pure incense, and it was totally decked out in macramé, beaded curtains, mattresses and pillows on the floor for furniture, and a large hookah in the living room. I often think of the poster they had on the wall of George Harrison and Patti Boyd. It said “See all without looking. Arrive without travelling.”
I think you’re getting the idea of the thrill a cool older brother like that was. I recall when he was 16 he was driving our mom nuts as he had the waterfall hairdo in front, and the duck tail in back, and mom would scream at him that he looked like a “hood.”
Freddie and Twig left Oliver and moved to the Pitt River in Coquitlam when I was also living at the Coast and attending university. I adored Sundays when I would drive out, either alone or with a boyfriend to spend the day. They rented a house there for 30 years for which they paid $75 a month rent.
After deciding to buy a house they found a lovely property on Whonnock Lake in Maple Ridge which came with an above-ground pool. Freddie said when they saw it they went ugh to the idea of a pool but since have grown to love it. I adore visiting there because Freddie liked to keep the pool at 90 degrees Fahrenheit. So comfy!
Freddie just loved their house and property, and who wouldn’t, as you don’t see a single house, given there are only four homes around that lake. It’s also on two acres so it’s completely private. Some of his ashes will be scattered there.
About an hour ago I stepped on a wasp in my bare feet and had my middle toe stung and thought my God the pain of that is just terrible. But it’s so fleeting compared to the pain of loss and grieving, as it comes in waves, and hits unexpectedly. However, knowing Freddie, the coolest human on Earth, he’d beg us all to chill out and carry on.