It hit each brother hard.
I received it last.
I was caught off-guard, by the invitation to the church yard.
This was to be the first.
For some this would be the worst.
I felt submersed, as if I’d dove headfirst and now immersed in the tears that burst from my father’s eyes and did not disperse.
Gradually at first,
Then all at once,
Our garden was filled with cousins, uncles, aunts.
Some the brothers knew, others they met.
As each one told them it’s okay to be upset.
But none of the brothers’ eyes were wet.
The black cars arrived.
And they all piled in. We seemed to talk about everything.
Except about him.
We got to the place.
Friends had come, so them, we embraced.
Then filled with grace,
One brother turned and tripped on his shoelace.
The brothers laughed
But there was no malice in it.
Just a moment of joy in all of this.
It was lighter than expected.
The weight shared between 6.
The brothers, their father, and his sis.
Carried in a third.
As the congregation stood,
With their cries unheard.
The ceremony started,
Hymns were sung.
The four brothers, right at the front.
Their father rose with a wobble,
To speak his piece.
He looked small to the boys,
But he never looked weak.
One of the brothers shall speak.
I tapped my pocket,
Checking it was there,
Knowing too that my brothers had spares.
I took the steps towards the podium.
Ready to begin.
Ready to speak for my brothers
and say goodbye to him.