On November 1 three years ago, my brother Michael died. He was a six foot six Brad Pitt lookalike, smart, wickedly funny, played the blues harmonica, and was more wholely himself than anyone I have ever met. I can't remember him ever being sick until the cancer took him.
At his wake, I read this:
I have been thinking a lot recently about time. How fifty years seems like a long time. But fifty years with my brother seems like a moment.
And now we have time. And he has no time.
It took me a while to realize what that means. He is beyond time. Where he is, there is only always.
So it's not that we will be together again, some day. We are together now. As we have always been together. As we will always be together.
And where he is, it's always a good time.
When I got home, I began to put the finishing touches on my novel The Marriage of True Minds. And I wanted something of him to be in the book. So I turned the reading into a story called The Island of Always, which one of the characters tells at a childrens party.
I have always felt slightly guilty about using that, as if I were using him. But it's also my favorite part of the book.