This is a picture of my baby brother. Yesterday, Mike flew off to start a new life in Australia.
This is not a post about politics. This is a post about my brother, how much I love him, how much I will miss him and that however much it hurts, I know he’s done absolutely the right thing and is going to have an amazing life.
Mike came to us in 1980. I have a very vague memory of asking a judge in an imposing wooden room if we could take my brother home. I guess he said yes.
Mike was such a happy smiley kid. He was also the naughtiest child you’d ever meet – but he got away with it because he was so bloody funny. He wrote himself a theme tune aged about 3. The words were “Dawdy, Dawdy – DON’T YOU DARE!” Sometimes he would play this on the small, not very tuneful piano as a special treat first thing in the morning. I’ll never forget chasing him down the street with about 10 other kids one of the first times he slipped out of a holiday home. He was fast even in nappies! Eventually he scrambled (with some help from an accomplice I suspect) up on the bonnet of our car – a good 200 metres down the road – to sing us all a chorus of Dawdy Dawdy.
Mikey had good and bad times. He had some health problems as a kid that were difficult for him and the family. But he never lost that incredible sense of fun. In a family of very silly show-offs, I’d say he always at least held his own. The time he spent the weekend getting us all to “do the chipmunk” was a great example.
As was the time he spent several hours driving me completely mad, convinced there was a poltergeist in my home. I was sat, alone in the house doing my homework (have I mentioned I was the goodie-goody of my family) when the TV I had left on for company suddenly changed channels. I thought little of it at first, until it happened again. And again. I started searching for the remote and couldn’t find it anywhere. I was convinced I was alone. I was very, very frightened. Until instead of just looking straight outside, I looked up. There was Mike sitting in the Pear Tree laughing his head off. And again he got away with it by being funny and charming.
Mike started going out with Kylie not long after I met Nik. Suddenly our family was complete. It just made sense. Cathie had Ben, I had Nik and now Mike had Kylie. Just to spend a moment with them was to see how great they are together and how clearly they are meant to be. As you might be able to tell from her name, Kylie is a native Australian. This year, she’d been in the UK for 17 years. It was time for her to go home. Mike had spent time in and enjoyed Australia before. It was time for them to make a new and – I am sure – a better life in Australia. They are going to be very, very happy. One day soon, I’ll stop getting teary about how much I will miss them and be able to focus on that a little more. I know they’ve done the right thing.
Mike and Kylie and Nik and Myself will keep in touch of course. We will visit, we will Skype, we will call and write. I love them both very much. Other side of the world or not, Mike will always be my Bro. But our relationship was always quite physical. It was always (and remains) Mike’s thing to wrestle me. I had no choice in the matter. Despite the fact that neither of us will see 30 again, this is still the case. Despite the physical oddness of it, I will miss being put into bizarre wrestling holds while I stoically try to get on with watching Emmerdale.
Mike, I don’t know if you will read this, but I want you to know I love you very much. I’m really proud of you. Proud to know you, proud to be your sister and proud of the bravery you have shown in starting a new life for yourself. We will miss both of you for always, but I will never stop being proud and hoping that it works out so incredibly well for you – I am sure that it will.
I love you.
Tags: Michael Burnell