I grew up in a block of flats in east London. I lived there with my parents and my younger brother. There were seven years between my younger brother and I, which I think is a bit too much of a gap to ever be really close. It felt like we were always in very different stages in our life. I have an older brother and sister, from my dads marriage before he met my mother. I never knew about or met my older brother till I was 11, and never met my sister till I was 18.
Anyway enough background and on to the meat. We both had boats on the Norfolk broads, in fact him buying a boat to live on spurred us on to buy one for weekends. This ended up with me actually spending more time with him, and we enjoyed that. Up to this point I had been spoilt as I always had Alan (not his name) to myself, he had had some relationships but seemed happier on his own. We had some great times on the boat and the kids loved having the time with him, their other uncle is not really involved with anyone outside of his wifes family.
Around 2005ish Alan met up with a girl from Ipswich, she was fantastic, just what he needed. She was independent, bright and outgoing. She instantly got him into shape and it was strange (good but strange) to see the transformation in him, it wasn’t long before he moved out of the boat and in with her in Ipswich. This was a strange time for me, for after having Alan to myself for so long I had to share him, with another family. She had a brother and parents and although I never got to meet them they seemed really nice from what Alan and my mother told me about them.
Around this time things had started to change for me. I found out that my endowments that I took out with the mortgage were going to fail quite considerably, at the same time some other investments I had running also failed and I lost a lot of money, on top of that I lost over £30k out of my pension due to the stock market crash. In no time at all I found myself working two jobs. Monday to Friday I was the Engineering Manager for Transport for London. On Friday evening I would go to the Comet or Tesco Distribution centre and pick up an artic and work all night, I did this for 3 years.
The last time I saw Alan to talk to, was at his home in Ipswich, at this time he was preparing to get married in Norfolk on a tourist boat. We were made up for him, for the first time since I had known him he really seemed happy.
This is when it all went wrong, I started getting warning letters from my bank as well as phone calls from some of my creditors, the problem with being in this situation, as well as working seven days a week, is that it is all consuming. You are on a treadmill and there is nothing you can do about it. Despite that, Alan’s wedding seem to creep up on me, the first falling out was over his stag night. A couple of days before his stag do I had my car broken into, when you have no spare money a simple thing like a broken window knocks you flat, I texted Alan and got a very terse response from him, I asked him the following day how the stag do went and I don’t remember getting reply.
During the run up to the wedding I had to make some hard decisions, whether they were right or wrong? I stand by my decision, but should have handled it a different way. It got to about three days before Alan’s wedding, I had done my sums and worked out that we just couldn’t afford to go. As previously said we were very short of cash, I had around £3-4 per week spare cash. I had not heard from Alan since my failure to go to his Stag do, and with that in mind and the lack of money we gave Patrick our last £50 so that he could go, which he did, and we stayed home. Alan hasn’t spoken to me since except to wish that I had broken my neck instead of my leg.
I handled the situation badly and should have let him know what my situation was rather than just not turning up to his wedding, but, hindsight is always 20-20.
About a year after Alan was married, my mother moved to Suffolk to be nearer Alan, and after a disagreement I lost touch with her. I went to see her a few years ago as Alan wanted our dad’s old PSV badge. It was strange seeing her in a different home but she was still as manipulative as ever. While there my little brother called her, when she answered she told him she had company he obviously asked who. At this point she could have handled it quite simply by saying anyone, but no, she told Alan her brother was there, it would have had less impact if she had just said Paul, but no “Brother” was her weapon of choice, which wound him up no end and my mother was able to smile again. I knew it would him up because he hung up then phoned her back to tell her not to tell me anything about him, I could hear him on the other side of the room. I left, my mother made it quite clear that she wanted nothing more to do with me or my family, the following week I dropped my Fathers PSV badge through the letterbox. I wouldn’t be surprised if she never passed it on just to keep up the animosity.
Apart from a couple of notifications from LinkedIn and Twitter (where he accidentally followed me, twice) I have had no contact with either of them since.
Unfortunately now too much time has passed to ever repair this even if he was willing. There are too many other parties involved.
My wife was devastated, she always looked on Alan as the brother she never had and for some time was really upset about this. However due to her upbringing she has moved on and wants no more to do with him.
Both of my kids really looked up to him, my daughter got over it first and he doesn’t even register with her. My son took it the worst, and for the life of me I really don’t understand the way he was treated by Alan.
Things are really good now, I still think about them from time to time, but in all honesty I no longer miss the drama that my mother and Alan always seemed to be caught up in.
Right that’s enough, it has been good to write this. As has been said if I had my time over again I would have had to make the decision not to go, but I would have communicated this to my brother at the time.