He often reminded me of myself when I was younger, finding happiness in small things like bird watching or feeling his toes curl in the damp grass as he stared up at the evenings pink sky with shades of purple and blue dancing across it.
It seems unfair that some of us go on to live long lives and do extraordinary things. Isaac Newton, Winston Churchill, and Rosa Parks were some of the brightest and most inspiring people alive, and luckily for them they lived a long life in order to achieve their full potential. But, what about those of us who don't make it? What about the ones who die young before their talents can ever be recognised?
The talented musicians like Buddy Holly and Amy Winehouse who were only twenty two and thirty eight when they met their tragic demise, poor children like James Bulger and Jessica Lunsford who were heartbreakingly stolen from their families and murdered. All of these people unfortunately weren't able to live into their old age—a luxury which many of us take for granted—and neither was my little brother, Darragh.
The day Darragh was born was the most wonderful day of my life. It was the beginning of Autumn and the leaves covered the ground in a beautiful orange and brown blanket. The birds in the trees seemed to chirp a fuller and far more beautiful melody than they ever had before. The world seemed quiet, like silence but not an overwhelming silence, just a nice kind of quiet. Like the sound when you lay upside down in your bed, just listening to the beating of your heart sounding in your head.
Arriving at the hospital ward my mother presented me with my most healthy, beautiful baby I'd ever seen in my life. He weighed a sturdy 7lbs and had rosy plump cheeks, and his smiled beamed like a thousand golden suns.
As the year progressed, Darragh grew larger and more intelligent. By six months old he would laugh with a laughter that mimicked a million tiny monkeys, and by ten months he could stand and dance to music. He was such a lively and excitable child, everyone loved him and people would often congratulate my mum for how truly brilliant he was.
Two weeks before Darragh's sixth birthday we moved to the countryside in Yorkshire. Our home was remote, with only ten other houses surrounding us at the very most. There were huge pastures of lush green grass with dozens of mulberry bushes growing around them. There were very few sounds, apart from the odd sheep prompting for its lambs to follow during the day, or an owl hooting at the night sky, and of course the passing trains. The old decaying train passage was located directly behind our house, there were no gates covering it, with only a few bushes, which became more sparse with each passing train.
Darragh enjoyed observing the wildlife and would often lie out in the pastures for hours making conversation with a lonesome foal or playfully chasing a group of hens. He often reminded me of myself when I was younger, finding happiness in small things like bird watching or feeling his toes curl in the damp grass as he stared up at the evenings pink sky with shades of purple and blue dancing across it. He was given a free reign of what he could do since where we lived wasn't particularly dangerous, however he was warned that he musn't stray towards the train passage and he must not bother the old neighbours who lived on either side of us.
One year after we had been living at our new home, on a misty and chilly morning in the late days of September Darragh left the house as usual, however on this morning he requested that I go with him to see the newly birthed foal that had just taken its first steps in the old rickety farmer's barn. As intrigued as I was to see the new addition to the horse family I declined his offer as I had a lot of school work to catch up on. Roughly two hours after he left I rose from my slumped position over my laptop to look out the window, and there he was. It brought a smile to my face to see how content he was playing with his barnyard friends. I watched him, how he left each individual footprint in the mud and dung, how his little plump cheeks became a rosier shade of pink each time he giggled and how he spoke to the animals with such care and such love. It wasn't until I heard the sound of a passing train that I came to realise where he was, but by that time it was too late. I watched him slip away from me almost in an instant, he was gone. I watched in astonishment from the bedroom window as my beautiful little brother was dragged underneath the mulberry bushes and to his death.
The day we buried him was much like the day he was born, it was a beautiful Autumn day and the ground was once again covered in a brown and orange sheet. Only, on this day the birds sang a more sorrowful melody, the cattle did not stir and the thick grass lay still despite the breezy wind.
Once I had spoken my eulogy I was given the opportunity to look into the casket, only the top half of his tiny body was on show due to the horrific and severe injuries that he received. The boy that lay in this coffin was not my brother, he looked gaunt and almost skeletal. I reached out to touch his little cheek, it felt cold and pale beneath my warm hand. His eyes that normally sparkled like the oceans that he would talk about in his stories were glued shut. His beautiful blonde ringlets were left in a greasy, clumpy mess.
However, when I looked at him, despite his new found ghastly looks, I was bombarded with a million memories. I remembered holding his tiny frame for the first time, feeding him at the crack of dawn, cradling him whenever he cried. I remembered how he could light up a whole room just with his laugh, how he treated everyone with such kindness and how- despite me being the older sister—he protected my feelings at all costs. I remembered rolling down the lush green hills with him and playing hide and seek with our animal friends as we laughed all of our troubles away. It was then that I realized, he never lived long enough to become a scientist, a rich business man, or a clever politician. But, he lived long enough to make an extraordinary difference in the lives of those around him. In his seven short years he brought an abundance of happiness to myself and to others, and for that reason my brother's memory will live on eternally.