Category: Memories of my brother

From the Blog

Amazing Grace

How can I love you more?

It was mid-1990. I remember it, in a pleasant, hazy sort of way. The Winter Olympics played on a small square television set (who knew then that flat screens were so much cooler), I was acquainted with the thrill of my favourite books, and the secure encirclement of parents who seemed intuitively to understand how to make us their trusted friends.

Read More
loss

Grief Seeds

And so, here we are again. You’d think, nearly two decades later, we’d know how to do this. This day. November 13.

Read More
Faith

You have your Brother’s eyes

I didn’t intend to go to the meeting.  These days Dr M does most of these things alone, reporting back to me later in stolen snatches, in precious together-breaths caught above or between the perennial kid noise of our household. But my parents were over helping, and the thought of going out together —anywhere—was appealing. On the way there in the car, Dr M and I attempted to catch up. It occurred to me recently that our marriage  can feel a bit like speed-dating, or, perhaps a better image, like a scene from one of our all time favourite shows, The West Wing…

Read More
Memories of my brother

Sky song for my parents

It’s 5:30pm, an overcast September evening in early Spring, and I’ve escaped the holiday house we are staying in with our three kids for a moment to take a short walk. There’s music playing through my headphones, because, in my opinion, sunset and surf always look at their best accompanied by music, especially if its slow, and raw, and acoustic. And I’m also naturally lazy and I need the music to carry me forward until my feet find their rhythm.

Read More
Faith

The Days Following: Behind the Scenes of Grief

In the days following my brother’s death, there was nothing to do, and everything to do. Our normal lives had been put on hold while we negotiated that strange, liminal zone between the vaporous shock of the news, and the more solid event of the funeral. Really, though, our old lives had been obliterated. What you don’t perhaps at first realise, is that the death of a family member, or someone similarly close, means a form of death also for the one left behind. Old identities, patterns of living, habits of thought, securities, all become dust. Grievers must suddenly assume the shoes of emotional-construction workers, forced to forge new lives from the ruins of the old.

Read More
Faith

The News at the Door

That day began insignificantly. I went to work at my parent’s business. I caught a bus to pick up a box from the airport with items from my recent six month trip to Europe. I met an old friend for lunch in a city park. We talked about bicycles. I crossed a busy road, too recklessly. Carelessly. But then, I was still at least eight hours away from being acutely aware of my every movement. It was hot. It was late February. I can’t remember if it rained that day. It did after. That, unlike almost anything else that followed, seemed to make sense.

Read More
Faith

My Brother’s Words: Announcing The Poetry Project

Before there was me there was my older brother Greg. Gregory David van der Kwaak. Or simply GVDK, as he was often known. Greg was, among other things (and there were many) a poet. Like many people of gifting, he started creating young. When Greg died in a car accident aged 22 he left in his wake a trail of grief the size of continents, and literally hundreds of people stumbling around in the darkness trying to stay upright his absence. But he also left behind something else. His words.

Read More
Faith

These are days you’ll remember…

Memories are never just free-floating. They have backdrops. They happen in place and time. Memories of people take place in the context of other people. Some memories stand out more than others, are more defining than others. Because they helped define you. And there are some memories you don’t ever want to stop remembering. It’s these memories you want to take with you into the future. To pass on to future generations. Because there’s just so much goodness there to be had.

Read More
loss

My Brother’s Lead, My Brother’s Legacy

Anyone who has lost someone close to them knows what I mean when I say there’s a hole in my heart that won’t ever be filled. At least not on this earth. My brother Greg’s absence is an abyss not only within me, but also in the family landscape. It is always there, but at times it seems more dangerous or delicate to walk around it, like at birthday, or on the anniversary of his accident, and at other significant events.

Read More
Faith

My Brother Greg

I’ve been thinking a lot about my brother Greg lately. My parents’ son. So many peoples’ friend. The years since the car accident that took him from us have added up to more than I wish to count, but numbers don’t always correspond with experience. Sometimes I feel he is closer today than he was ten, even fifteen, years ago. Memory can be precious like that. It doesn’t age.

Read More
Amazing Grace

How can I love you more?

It was mid-1990. I remember it, in a pleasant, hazy sort of way. The Winter Olympics played on a small square television set (who knew then that flat screens were so much cooler), I was acquainted with the thrill of my favourite books, and the secure encirclement of parents who seemed intuitively to understand how to make us their trusted friends.

Read More
loss

Grief Seeds

And so, here we are again. You’d think, nearly two decades later, we’d know how to do this. This day. November 13.

Read More
Faith

You have your Brother’s eyes

I didn’t intend to go to the meeting.  These days Dr M does most of these things alone, reporting back to me later in stolen snatches, in precious together-breaths caught above or between the perennial kid noise of our household. But my parents were over helping, and the thought of going out together —anywhere—was appealing. On the way there in the car, Dr M and I attempted to catch up. It occurred to me recently that our marriage  can feel a bit like speed-dating, or, perhaps a better image, like a scene from one of our all time favourite shows, The West Wing…

Read More
Memories of my brother

Sky song for my parents

It’s 5:30pm, an overcast September evening in early Spring, and I’ve escaped the holiday house we are staying in with our three kids for a moment to take a short walk. There’s music playing through my headphones, because, in my opinion, sunset and surf always look at their best accompanied by music, especially if its slow, and raw, and acoustic. And I’m also naturally lazy and I need the music to carry me forward until my feet find their rhythm.

Read More
Faith

The Days Following: Behind the Scenes of Grief

In the days following my brother’s death, there was nothing to do, and everything to do. Our normal lives had been put on hold while we negotiated that strange, liminal zone between the vaporous shock of the news, and the more solid event of the funeral. Really, though, our old lives had been obliterated. What you don’t perhaps at first realise, is that the death of a family member, or someone similarly close, means a form of death also for the one left behind. Old identities, patterns of living, habits of thought, securities, all become dust. Grievers must suddenly assume the shoes of emotional-construction workers, forced to forge new lives from the ruins of the old.

Read More
Faith

The News at the Door

That day began insignificantly. I went to work at my parent’s business. I caught a bus to pick up a box from the airport with items from my recent six month trip to Europe. I met an old friend for lunch in a city park. We talked about bicycles. I crossed a busy road, too recklessly. Carelessly. But then, I was still at least eight hours away from being acutely aware of my every movement. It was hot. It was late February. I can’t remember if it rained that day. It did after. That, unlike almost anything else that followed, seemed to make sense.

Read More
Faith

My Brother’s Words: Announcing The Poetry Project

Before there was me there was my older brother Greg. Gregory David van der Kwaak. Or simply GVDK, as he was often known. Greg was, among other things (and there were many) a poet. Like many people of gifting, he started creating young. When Greg died in a car accident aged 22 he left in his wake a trail of grief the size of continents, and literally hundreds of people stumbling around in the darkness trying to stay upright his absence. But he also left behind something else. His words.

Read More
Faith

These are days you’ll remember…

Memories are never just free-floating. They have backdrops. They happen in place and time. Memories of people take place in the context of other people. Some memories stand out more than others, are more defining than others. Because they helped define you. And there are some memories you don’t ever want to stop remembering. It’s these memories you want to take with you into the future. To pass on to future generations. Because there’s just so much goodness there to be had.

Read More
loss

My Brother’s Lead, My Brother’s Legacy

Anyone who has lost someone close to them knows what I mean when I say there’s a hole in my heart that won’t ever be filled. At least not on this earth. My brother Greg’s absence is an abyss not only within me, but also in the family landscape. It is always there, but at times it seems more dangerous or delicate to walk around it, like at birthday, or on the anniversary of his accident, and at other significant events.

Read More
Faith

My Brother Greg

I’ve been thinking a lot about my brother Greg lately. My parents’ son. So many peoples’ friend. The years since the car accident that took him from us have added up to more than I wish to count, but numbers don’t always correspond with experience. Sometimes I feel he is closer today than he was ten, even fifteen, years ago. Memory can be precious like that. It doesn’t age.

Read More


Let's Share Stories

Let’s lean into light together. Join my topsy turvy, cracked-clay-jar journey and receive latest posts and behind the scenes news fresh to your inbox.