He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother

It was so cold that January morning; in fact  the whole world seemed cold as we stood and watched the pallbearers place the coffin on its bier.  We were a small group; mourners in this circus of red-rimmed eyes and pale faces.

Who could really believe what we were witnessing or understand the relief of that young body who struggled through his short life.  Would anyone in the years to come truly say that perhaps his death was not so much a tragedy as a welcome release from the pain that lived in him?  None of us know the answer, for we struggle through our own pieces of pain and unanswered questions about this life we were given – unbidden and perhaps for some of us – unwanted.

The service had begun and the words of hope, peace, and love and “the world to come” somehow sounded better than we’d ever heard before.  We needed to believe that there is a world to come that is all of those things.

As the priest continued the prayers, my younger brother Tim leaned over and tugged on Al’s sleeve.  Al was married to our sister Renee and was one of the pallbearers.

“Hey Al”, whispered Tim, “was it heavy?  I mean, was it hard to carry?”  Al leaned over with a smile on his face and a tear to match and said, “he ain’t heavy Tim, he’s my brother”.  “Oh” Tim sighed.  That was all he needed to know then.

And so the years began, or should I say the years continued for this family who tried so hard and fell so often. . .a family who stumbled helplessly and hopelessly into the outstretched arm of God’s outrageous mercy and compassion. . .

The road is long, with many a winding turn.

that leads us to who knows where, who knows where.

But, I’m strong, strong enough to carry him. . .

He aint heavy, he’s my brother.

So on we go, his welfare is my concern.

No burden is he to bear, we’ll get there.

And I know he would not encumber me. . .

He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother.

If I’m laden at all, I’m laden with sadness

that everyone’s heart isn’t  filled with the gladness

of love for one another.

It’s a long, long road from which there is no return.

While we’re on the way to there, why not share?

And the load doesn’t weigh me down at all. . .

He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother.

(Lyrics from: He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother ~ Performed by the Hollies)

This is a true story, written in memory of my young brother Tommy who died in January of 1972. l still miss him  He was only 14 years old and in the years since we have lost our parents within 18 months of each other and another sibling, Denise at the age of 40 in a car crash in Florida in the year 2000.

Life contains so many wonderful moments of pure joy, grace and happiness.  Life also carries within it sadness that can’t be consoled. . .deep painful moments.  But through the grace and blessing of our good God we survive, we go on, we become stronger, we become who God wants us to be. . .people of blessing, people who know how to share, to give and receive from others.  My prayer for myself and all of you is that we stay open to what God has in store for us. Gratitude for our life is a wonderful prayer to offer and God will pleased with your efforts.

Sandy Ozanich (c) May 2013

8 thoughts on “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother

    • Thanks Jim! I appreciate your kind words. I found that just re-typing this story brought back all the feelings around my brother Tommy’s death. But, pain teaches us to rejoice for the good times.


  1. This is truly a great post and a beautiful story. Thanks for sharing. I will follow your blog and return to read more, for sure.

    I have a new writing blog that I created after self-publishing my first novel for the Kindle. Please check it out and share your writing experiences with me!

  2. Thank you, Sandy. You are truly gifted with a deeply touching way of expressing yourself. God keep you today and always. We live in hope. You will embrace Tommy and Denise and all of your loved ones. This is our hope.

    • Br. Andre’. . .thank you so much! I truly do appreciate your critique because you too are a wonderful writer and speaker. . .so I hold you in great esteem.

      May God’s richest blessings be yours. . .

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