How losing a brother to cancer inspired an album: My Story. Pt 2 ~ Can You Read Each Other’s Minds?

‘Can you read each other’s minds?’. You’d be surprised how many times you get asked that as a twin. It’s greeted with a wry smile and a nonchalant shake of the head. Truth is, yes actually, to a certain extent.

It’s hard to explain what it’s like being a twin if you haven’t been one. You know how your phone seems to know everything about you and how those ‘cookies’ can predict what you’ll click on today, well it’s like that, but in real life (and way better). It’s the type of connection that I think rarely exists outside the relationship between twins.

Having someone who knows you so intrinsically well comes with its downfalls too. Consider this; there’s another human being who knows everything that will tick you off. They know what to say or do or even what type of music will push you over the edge. They can predict, with a certain degree of accuracy, how far is far enough to turn you into the skinny scrawny version of The Hulk in a matter of seconds and then walk off, none the wiser, when a parent comes to inspect the situation. They have all the ammo from every mistake you’ve ever made to twist and twist and twist. Cool, right? Uhuh.

So yeah, we fought sometimes — we’re brothers. I’ve always been interested in how we sometimes over glorify people we’ve lost, hail them as a saint and put a big portrait of them up in the hallway. Dan was an incredible, gifted, gentle, kind and humble man, but he came with his flaws, like we all do.

Can I be blunt here for a second? Being a twin doesn’t make you half a human. It felt a little like that when we were younger and more similar. People would call us ‘boys’ or ‘twinnies’ or some other name that assumes you are a part of the whole rather than the sum of it. I imagine it’s because most people felt embarrassed that they couldn’t tell us apart, fair enough, I’m not holding any grudges. But in some ways it has shaped who I am today.

For a lot of my teenage years I played catch up to Dan. He was much better academically than me, he was a much finer musician than I am and his ability to brush off the hurt is something I still envy today. I would lean over his shoulder in maths and science because I knew he’d been listening when I was off over thinking something menial or getting distracted by some creative idea.

Two minutes isn’t a long time in the grand scheme of a whole life, but it sure did feel like it for me, always pacing myself after him, trying to keep up. Don’t get me wrong, I never hated him for it, I adored him even more because of it. He inspired me to be a better person each day, and in turn, I hope that I passed on some of my qualities to him too.

So here I am, nearly five years on from his death and now I’m the older one. I’m sat in the Costa coffee branch near to where my wife works and where I sit most Tuesday mornings between dropping her off and going to my team meeting. It was here on the first anniversary of Dan dieing that I sat and wrote the lyrics to a song called ‘One’. It’s a song I didn’t share with anyone until recently.

‘One year on,
One more gone.
I’m one year older,
You’re one more young.’

Am I less of a man now that Dan is gone? No. Am I a different man now that he’s gone? Yes. Will it shape the rest of my life? Probably. I still carry him with me every day; the similarities, the differences, the things he taught me and is still teaching me. He was an older brother in the truest sense of the word. And now I live, not in his shadow, but with the memory and security of having sat under his shelter for a lot of my life.

As we would regularly say to each other when dreaming up new ideas, ‘Where next?’. That is still true today.

Pt. 3 ~ Coming on November 4th 2021.

I’ve just released an acoustic version of my song ‘Nostalgia’ filmed in my childhood bedroom. This song is honest about the ups and downs of our childhood sibling antics.

I’m currently crowdfunding to make my debut album ‘O Wide World’ ~ my story of finding hope after losing my brother to cancer. This album is full of big indie folk rock songs that will speak to your soul.

Follow this link to help make it happen!

Keep on moving.
~ Ben

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Ben Lawrence

Ben Lawrence

I’m Ben, a songwriter and filmmaker from Norwich, UK. I’m currently on a journey to record an album of songs written after losing my brother to cancer.