This was the day that tipped me over the edge mentally. Knowing that this was the day that my brother was being laid to rest hurt me inside and I did not want that feeling.
The funeral was back home in Nottingham and I made my way via train. That train journey was one of the longest I had ever made. All I kept on thinking about was the Christmas party and the fun that we all had.
We arrived in Nottingham, my partner and me, a few hours before the funeral was due. I had forgotten to get a wreath and had to buy one last minute. Thankfully Interflora had one available. If I had arrived empty handed, it would have felt like I was somehow sullying his name.
Being back in the town centre reminded me of so many happy hours spent with Sean just being typical lads.
On the way to the cemetery we ended up behind a horse drawn hearse. Now at the time I had no clue as to whether he was already there or not. It was only when we arrived that it turned out to be Sean's casket in the hearse. Call it blind luck or fate, but I still say to this day that he had a hand in events leading us there!
All of his family and friends were lining the drive into the cemetery as his hearse came into the gates. I knew most of the family but his friends were a different matter altogether. I never knew how many peoples lives he had touched over the years and it made us all proud to see so many turn out for him.
The hearse pulled up outside the chapel doors and his coffin was taken out. I wanted to be one of the pallbearers but was told by my mum that this is the way he wanted it.
It turned out that the pallbearers were all members of the RAOB, Sean's friends from the Buffalo's.
I took my mum's hand and slowly made our way into the chapel of rest, following his casket. I could feel the shaking from my mum as we entered and somehow that made me want to be strong for her. I was her last surviving son.
The funeral itself was a fairly quiet affair with tributes from friends far and wide being read out by the pastor. The ceremony was interrupted by some of the Buffalo's singing a final farewell to one of their Brothers. I felt that was a nice gesture and something that Sean would have liked even in life.
I glanced around the tiny chapel and recognised the majority of his immediate family. His son and daughter. Sarah and her daughter. But there were some I couldn't recognise. Were they another branch of family we did not know about? We would find that out later on.
The time came for us to say our final farewells to a great man before his casket was lowered into the depths of the crematorium. He had never wanted to be buried for some strange reason.
Seeing the events unfold that day left a void in all of our lives. One that could never be replaced by anyone or anything. Such was the greatness of the man.
As his coffin was lowered, I sensed my mum start to collapse. Any mother or father would at times like these. If they didn't then I would have felt they did not care. I held her up as best I could and slowly led here outside.
I wish I could say I knew how she was feeling that day but in all honesty I never will unless I suffer the same heartache. In everyone the feelings would have been different. Mine for losing a brother. My mum's for losing a son. His children for losing a father. All would be different but the sense of emptiness would be the same for all.
I won't say much about the wake afterwards as it was mostly a blur. One of the things I do remember is meeting nephews and nieces none of us knew he had. Even after death he could still through a curveball and keep us guessing.
And so that is pretty much all there is to say. My brother has now been passed away over three years and still not a moment goes by that in some way we all think about him. The good times and the bad.
I still have not let go properly and accepted his passing and I guess I never will. They say the pain eases and the memory remains.
Both still remain.
I am sure that if Sean had have met you, whoever is reading this, then you would have felt touched by his warmth and generosity and so on that note I thank each and every one of you from the bottom of my heart.
Dedicated to the memory of Sean Storer. May you rest in peace.