James Bryant ... my brother, Keven (1964-1975)

My brother, Keven, flashed into this world on 20 May 1964 at 6.15 am and like a passing comet left it just as quickly. He lived just ten years. Dying of cancer before his eleventh birthday, a cruel fate for someone so young who never had the chance to taste life.

My parents realising the inevitable crammed his short life with so much love that I can't do them justice in these black lines, instead I'll try to illuminate his short life through some coloured photos.  See also Keven's last birthday.           

In the final year Keven's body was riddled with cancer but his mind and spirit never succumbed to the malignant tumours inside him. Right to the end he remained cheerful despite the pain - see school diary of 21-11-1974 and 15-10-1974 written about six months before he died. He died at home with all his family and friends around him on 4 May 1975. His last words to my father were, "You are my Dad, my best friend."

Keven is buried in Lucks Lane cemetery in Buckden, Cambridgeshire. My father, who died in 1998, lies alongside him which is a fitting tribute for during Keven's short life he was always there for him night and day and so it continues. My mother died in 2009 and is now buried with my father alongside Keven.

In February 2013, I was going through some of my Dad's old papers and I came across a poem written out by Keven about six months before he died and while he was still at Buckden School. The poem's dated 6-12-1974 and called The Rainbow and the eight lines reflect so uncanningly Keven's short life.

In July 2020 I again went through my Dad's stuff and came across an engraved pocket watch (see below). My Dad must have had it partly engraved in September 1974 while Keven was alive and then he must have had a later inscription after his death in May 1975 along with the words "You are my Dad, my best friend" being Keven's last words.

Keven's watch
Watch inscribed to my Dad from Keven

Throughout my life Keven is an inspiration to me. And when the going gets tough I remind myself how lucky I am to be alive and then like the sun that breaks through the darkest cloud I see the light.


When sorrows come, they come not single spies, but in battalions (Hamlet, Will Shakespeare)

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