From my notebook

brother left, son right

Two pictures I carried round in a notebook on opposite pages for many years. On the left is my brother, Charles (1964-1982), on the right my first son (b 1995).

I kept the images opposite each other because I thought the people in them looked unbelievably similar. Scanning the pages today, loading them up to edit and looking at them for the first time in a long time I can’t see a resemblence at all. In fact my brother looks uncannily, eerily, like our paternal grandmother, a woman my mother loathed viscerally and to whom I, she always said, was identical.

I used to show these pictures to people, like a diptych, an icon, a small personal shrine against the tyranny of death and say “doesn’t my son look just like my brother who died”.

How could anyone respond other than to agree in a generalised way with perhaps a quiet qualifier about children often looking similar, so clear and so desperate was my desire for that connection to be imprinted on face and page and body and mind.

5 Replies to “From my notebook”

  1. How sad you lost your brother so young. Good looking boys; I see something similar. I agree that we want to see a connection to and with loved ones but also to all family. I love looking at old photos of even distant cousins and trying to see resemblances.

  2. Just their being young boys and being closely related to you is quite enough of a painful and joyful similarity, I would have thought. Hugs.

  3. Whether or not they look alike, (I mean, to aliens from Mars, we all look alike), it sounds as if you have found some release, some liberation, from *needing* them to look alike.

    I love the light on your brother.
    I love your boy’s relaxed posture.

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