My oldest brother, Colin John Thornby, has joined those who came before. He died peacefully in the Royal Melbourne Hospital on the 1st of July, 2013, at 6:43pm after a long and hard struggle against a chest infection following a bone marrow transplant. His lungs gave out and he passed away after the medical staff determined that there was nothing more they could do for him.
It’s difficult to find words worthy of him to put down on digital page. Finding words isn’t difficult in general but most of them are trite, obscene or both. But to put down how much my brother meant to me and how much he will be missed, by myself and others… As someone who uses language not only as a tool of communication (as we all do) but a medium of creative expression I find that there are times when words simply… aren’t enough. They don’t do the job.
I could tell you about how mystical and big and wise he seemed when I was a child or how, as I grew, he remained an important figure in what I consider to be a strong and stable human being. I could say how, when our brother Brian committed suicide, Colin seemed to know all the right words to say to do Brian justice. I could even tell you how we’d talk about Doctor Who and what was happening at the time. He was a constant source of strength, of stability and of humour in my life.
But I couldn’t – and can’t – fully express how fundamental his presence in my life was. The closest I can come is to say, rather insufficiently, ‘He was always… there.’
I won’t go into an extended diatribe about his life. Truth to tell there was a lot about him I didn’t know and continue not to know. He was an introspective, quiet man of faith and conviction. If anyone has authority to speak on his adult life it would be his partner.
But I will say that I love him and miss him terribly.
Ave atque vale, big brother. You will not be forgotten.