Some say patience is gold, Charles was not a patient man, a good one yes, but patient no

Some say patience is gold, Charles was not a patient man, a good one yes, but patient no. An example of this was a time when he was untangling wire to put up a fence. My sister left him to untangle the wire, warning him not to cut it. You can all guess what he did, he cut it obviously and he was incredibly proud of himself for doing it.

He was someone who had an eye for love and kindness, sometimes he didn’t do the right thing but did he make up for it at other times yes of course. He loved his family and made sure to show it in his own way; with me it was asking me rub his feet for hours while we talked - I never noticed at the time but those are the moments I hold dear to me.

I, as a little sister, will never remember my brother as saint, a perfect man. He did what all brothers did he teased me, tricked me, sometimes didn’t help with my homework even when he knew the answers, but did he make up for this yes he did. Whether this be done in an obvious manner or subconsciously. Even after he died, I found he helped me, he made me value life and understand just how fragile it is, he made me realise that it is important to show those close to you that you love them, and most importantly he taught me that life is here for us to enjoy.

In many cultures life is referred to as a flower, I now understand this comparison. The flower is fragile but strong when it grows, it fights against many threats and survives, it is beautiful and vibrant when it blooms. But the flower must wither at some point as this is its purpose, when it dies the flower does not have to be seen as ugly but many will keep it. Someone’s soul can be seen as a dried flower, sounds strange I know but it is something delicate, easy to break but oh so precious and beautiful.

I was very unfortunate to not have known my brother for as long as I would have liked, but I will forever value the time I was able to spend with him. I am constantly reminded of him in my day to day life, whether it be when drunk uni students come home singing, and I hear someone who sounds like him, or when walk past Magdalen college and I know that is where he spent years of his life, or even when hearing a terrible joke that he would have liked. But all these reminders never make me sad quite the opposite actually they make me happy. I’m glad to remember the annoying older brother, as that is who Charles was. He was a cheeky man who flirted and did stupid things like pierce his ears or go through a David Beckham faze.

I do not believe that you have to be religious or spiritual to believe he is still with us, I believe he is, we all carry a part of him with us in our memories whether they be good or bad they are all a side of Charles that will live on forever and that is all i can ask for.
So for today i ask you not to be sad that he has not been with us for so long or regret anything, I ask you to do me a favour, I ask of everyone to keep Charles alive in your memories, if they make you laugh or cry, whether you are angry at him or love him in that moment, please feel it all and remember it as that it what I carry around with me. Memories of an annoying kind loving older brother, who I hope I make proud. Do I miss him, of course, do I notice he is no longer here yes even in the simplest things, like the lack Emperor’s New Groove and Brother Bear quotes in the house, but I am happy he is wherever he is, as I can carry with me in my memory that dried flower that is so precious to me.

Last thing, this is Charles we are talking about so it would be wrong to say not to enjoy a drink today and a bit of fun.

Jemima Sain-Ley-Berry-Gray June 2018