My Brother Died Suddenly Whilst Still Quite Young

We hopped on a plane the next day…but this is not his story. But his dying young contributed to our having some time on our hands…and to the story.

Maria Rattray
4 min readSep 28, 2022


Like every living thing on earth we are born, and eventually we die. Image of flowers dying.
Like every living thing on earth we are born, and eventually we die. Image of flowers dying. Photo by Martin de Arriba on Unsplash

This is not actually a story about my brother dying young, though he did die.

The morning I took the call I had just said goodbye to my nephew, my brother’s son, and his two friends, who had been holidaying with us and were now off to Queensland to catch up with my sister’s family.

Bad timing.

One hour later I got the call. He had collapsed and died during the night.

As a teenager you’d never think you would say goodbye to your dad, go on holiday for several weeks, and never see him again? Would you?

What happened thereafter was we all took the first flights we could get, and flew over for the funeral.

Having done that we found ourselves back in Scotland with two weeks to spare because there had to be an autopsy.

Today I am thinking about Frank, my brother, simply because I just washed my husband’s Aran sweater, in the washing machine, and it survived!

Frank’s death is the reason my husband has had an Aran sweater all these years…over twenty years and it has served him well on all sorts of occasions.

Let’s go back in time.

So Frank died, and my brother, sister and I booked flights to go back home immediately.

As it turned out we could have put it off for two weeks, the reason being that because he was young, there had to be an autopsy, and the funeral was delayed.

So there we were, back in Scotland, and though we were welcomed with open arms, we were in the way, to some extent.

So we decided to take a trip, a few days in Scotland and a few in Ireland, where my dad was born.

It was in Ireland that I bought my husband the sweater, which is what this story is all about.

The Aran story…



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Maria Rattray

Writer, author, teacher, fun-loving poet. Trying valiantly to make the world a better place. Helping you to guide the future. Find me at: