We found out today that my little brother Lewis died in Sydney, Australia, 2 days ago. He was 34 years old.
Latest Update is the next blog post called "In the Land of the Living.
Update: Thanks for your thoughts and prayers. My family is meeting tomorrow to discuss who will go over to Sydney for the funeral, and when the funeral will be. i am looking into flights myself. Very hard news for my mum. And my dad is not in good health right now, but he was the one who received the news.
A few words about Lewis. . .
He was a lovely kid - good looking, friendly and personable. Girls liked him. He loved the colour red. He ate vegetables all the time. Dad called him "Mouse" and the two had a special relationship.
He used to eat the green part of the watermelon and leave the red part alone. Figure that one out!
Lewis also had severe social problems that were probably a result from a chemical imbalance. Today, they would have had him on a hundred different drugs, but back in the 70's, they thought it was just a behavourial problem. It certainly wasn't environmental - Mum and Dad did a great job with all us kids - none of us know why Lewis turned out the way he did. Lewis had a wicked temper and we all had to duck from whatever he threw at us. He was a ratbag, and in trouble since the age of 5. He was known by the police everywhere he went, but he did not act out of hatred. He spent all his teenage years either on the streets, in underage prisons and in institutions.
One of those institutions was a Christian-based home for street kids - Lewis was about 12 or 13 at the time. They used to take him to their wild Pentecostal church and often at the end of the service, he and a few of the other boys would go up to get "slain in the spirit"- they used to have fun with the whole idea and make a show of it - but I think he really respected the people that ran that place, and he respected my walk with God. He prayed to God often, but i really dont know how he left his relationship with God.
I hope i see him in heaven.
We hardly saw much of Lewis from that point on. He was on the run from the police, state to state for most of his teens. In his twenties he would be lost for years, eventually popping up in a prison somewhere, which made it easier for us to track him down.
He always seemed happy, despite living a difficult life. He had no front teeth - they were knocked out years ago. I was with him when one of the teeth was knocked out - at a swimming pool in Perth. It didnt seem to worry him and he didn't want to try to get it put back in.
He never really had a job that lasted. But he did like horticulture, growing plants and he seemed to stick with that. Its a pity that the plants were never legal enough for him to gain credibility for his skills.
He loved people. Really loved them. He was an emotional man. He did not hide his feelings. The last time I saw him, at a prison in Queensland, he ran to me, jumped on me and hugged me, shouting "my brother! my brother!"
Sometimes i wish i could be like that.
Sometimes i wish i could be uninhabited by what people think.
Often, people wish that i could be more like that.
Lewis leaves me with the example of a man who loved people and showed it physically, emotionally, passionately.
Lewis - your deeds are legend. You dared to do things that none of us would do. Some of them will make us laugh always, even though we probably shouldn't laugh.
You were a warrior. You defied the authorities. You were fearless.
Lewis. You died too young. I wish you could have stayed around, so that we could have walked together as brothers. I wish you could have had some more years that were not as hard as the ones you endured. Thanks for being my brother. You were the only one I had. Now i dont have a brother anymore.
i hope i see you in heaven.
"There is one who sticks closer than a brother", it says in the Bible. I will ask God to give me some extra brother-love to make up for what you can no longer give.
I am glad i had a brother. Forgive me if i didn't act as a brother to you. Thanks for your brotherly love. I am the richer man for it.
Lewis died suddenly, we believe, of a brain hemorrhage [update: accidental drug overdose - details here]. He leaves behind a son, who none of us have yet met.