For my brother | Inquirer Opinion

For my brother

/ 07:52 PM August 26, 2015

"Remembering my brother brings bittersweet memories."

“Remembering my brother brings bittersweet memories.”

Not a lot has been written about brothers. From what I have observed, having a sister is sometimes more celebrated than having a brother. Very rarely, writers pay special attention to brothers, and how special it is to have one.

Just how special it is?


Mine is an older brother.  He is Thristian Raphael, the firstborn of our mom and dad. The one who is known by the way he presents himself—pants and polo neatly tucked in and hair brushed well. He talks to elders in a respectful manner. He follows orders without hesitation. He greets familiar faces by nodding with a smile, and he never misses an opportunity to ask, “kumusta na?” He is very friendly.


Being the only son in the family, he loved the company of our cousins who were very playful. They would go on exploring new things and playing pranks on people that young boys would normally do.

I remember during our younger days, we would fight over small things. Our dad would spank us as punishment, or leave us in our small bathroom until we agreed to settle our differences.

A few years later, our fights became seldom, but we were not able to have a close relationship either since I was focused on building friendships with my classmates, and so was he. His being a responsible brother, however, never wavered, as he always fetched me from a friend’s house, or accompanied me to wherever, or helped me get things done. He was always more reliable than me. I remember he was the first among us siblings to learn how to go to the market alone and buy what we needed in the house.

When our father started working overseas, he stood as the father of the family. He would make sure that all doors were locked before we leave or go to sleep. He would check our roof and do repairs before the rainy season started. He would accompany our mother when she needed to go somewhere. He would accompany our little sister and carry her bag to school and going back home. He was a young man who learned how to be responsible early in life.

I trusted him with a few of my secrets. He did not insult or annoy me; he was very respectful of my thoughts, ideas, and actions.

We went to the same school in college, although I could have chosen a different one. Looking back, one of the compelling reasons why I chose that school was because I knew I had someone I could rely on—someone who would guide me in the vast world of college life. Someone who made me realize things by his mere facial expression that said, “be responsible” or “I need your help on this.”


When we lived in a dormitory away from our family during college, it was during those times that I admired him for his kindness. Undoubtedly, he is the kindest among the three of us. He is just like dad, only I fear dad more because he is strict.

Years later, we’ve matured and had our own families. Every time I get the chance to talk to him, I make sure I let him know that I appreciate him for being my brother. I never fail to greet him during his birthday, to tell him to take care of himself, or invite him to spend some time with us. I always long to spend time with him, because our conversations center on family life, challenges, happy experiences, dreams, and birthday wishes, among other things. I feel happy when I see him smile, because I know simple things make him very happy—the company of cousins and friends, his accomplishments in whatever task he does, and his family, most especially his kids.

Remembering him brings bittersweet memories. There are many stories I can think of, but all I can do is look back on how he talked, smiled, laughed, ate. Too bad it was so sudden. There will always be an empty space in my heart. I hope I was able to appreciate him enough to let him know how admirable he was. Or thank him enough to let him know he did great. Or just let him know we’re always here to help the way he did to people around him. If I could borrow time, I’ll tell him those words to make him smile again and feel life is always wonderful. But maybe, he’s smiling now. Feeling the most wonderful feeling there is. He journeyed a few weeks before his birthday—the perfect timing to be with His Creator.

I love you my dear Kuya. You are always in my prayers. I thank God for giving you as my brother. When I miss you, all I have to do is replay all the good memories in my mind. And even though I still cry for you, I am grateful for all the things that you have taught and made me realize.

You will always be in our hearts because you are well-loved.

Maria Lourdes Gala-de Jesus is a mother to a 12-year-old boy and an IT professional whose hobbies include baking, painting, and writing. This essay was written in remembrance of her brother whose 39th birthday was last April 13.


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TAGS: brothers, Family, love

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