To my brother

By Ulf Kalkyl

I knew I wanted to make a speech at my brothers funeral. Much for my own sake, but also for my brother. It has been an impossible task to find the right words. I want to tell you everything, without having to say anything. It is hard to find a way forward in my own sorrow and loss. I want to say farewell without saying, god bye.

The strangest things catch your attention when you mourn. I got stuck in the grammar of sorrow. When someone passes away many tenses can no longer be used. Most obvious is tense for now, present tense. My brother will never again play his grand piano, code on his computer or drive his boat. We are left with past tense, preteritum. My brother was a fantastic musician, he could dance, he welded this and that.

When a young person passes away, tense of the forthcoming is used more, future tense. More accurately we use futurum preterit and futurum preterit exaktum. These two describes a possible future that never came to be. My brother would be an engineer, he would be a cantor, he would live many more years.

But I refuse to give in to the grammar of sorrow. You can speak of my brother in present tense. He is and remains my brother. Nothing in the whole world can break that bond. My brother is important and irreplaceable to me. I have only one brother, the finest brother a sibling can have. I am infinitely proud to call you my brother.

I’m proud over how he manged to graduate High School, get his drivers licence and get accepted in his dreams University, Chalmers. I’m proud over how he excelled in everything he did. From coding a compiler to replacing a catalyst converter. I’m proud in how he managed to excel me in most things.

My brother was never much for the meaningless. Grammar definitely falls into that category. But there is no point in drowning in “What if’s”. When I look ahead it is with all my brother is, and was that I carry with me. I carry with me what a fantastic, multifaceted, Renaissance man my brother was. I carry with me all his music, his puns and moments we spent together as brothers. I carry all the memories.

My brother, you are for ever my baby brother and I am forever you big brother. I love you, I miss you.

Ulf Kalkyl is a pseudonym of my oldest son. He held this speech at my youngest sons funeral. Ulf Kalkyl studies at University of Göteborg to become a High School teacher in Swedish and History.


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  1. We wish you a lot of strength !

    Liked by 1 person

  2. what a wonderful ode to your brother, Ulle; he comes across as a remarkable fellow and a warm human being 🙂


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