Greg was eighteen months older than me. I was always conscious of that, not that it is much in the grand scheme of things, but I always used to imagine him being on this planet eighteen months before me and therefore getting a sneak preview of life before I ever came along. (Not that I knew him at that age, of course. We only met when he was almost 22 and I was 20.)
It coloured a lot of our relationship. He was the older one, the wiser one and I therefore let him be the responsible one when it came to decision-making. He didn't lay down this arbitrary rule. I did. I made my feelings felt if I disagreed with him and often got my own way, but tacitly, he was the older one and therefore the one whose opinion I valued and trusted.
Greg died 6 weeks before his 61st birthday. I now stand 6 weeks before my 61st birthday. I have caught up with him. It seems a strange feeling. From now on, I shall be older than him, grow older than him. I may possibly grow to a very old age. He never will. He will be eternally locked in the age he was when he died. From now on, I shall get to experience or witness things that he will never see. The tables have been turned. I have already found it upsetting that he has missed major events of the last eighteen months. He was a radio journalist for all of his career and would have been intensely interested or excited about such things as the Lib-Con coalition, for example, the sweep of conflicts across North Africa, especially the Libyan war, the London riots, the demise of bin Laden,the financial recession, the euro -debate, to name a few. I can just hear his comments in my head on all of those things. Yet he will never experience them, and I have. I have become the older one. Perspectives have changed.