My Brother Hans

    “My Brother Hans,” Friend, Apr. 1987, 2

    My Brother Hans

    I want to tell you about my little brother, Hans. When he was born, he didn’t seem to like being here on earth. He would wake up in the night, and when he saw that he was still here, he would start crying. He would only stop when Mom fed him. After he got older, he seemed to feel better about being here.

    We slept in the same room, and at bedtime we always played games. He would never just go to sleep. After Mom kissed us goodnight and shut the door, Hans would jump up, hold onto the rail of his crib, and begin to bounce. He would wave and yell at me until we both were laughing hard. I really liked sharing a bedroom with him, even if he was a baby.

    Some people think that babies are a bother, but Hans wasn’t. He was good. He would watch us, then try to do everything we did. He used to go around the house picking up little pieces of rubbish that no one else saw. Then he would run to the wastebasket and throw them in. He always tried to help everybody. He was smart about it too. One day he decided to help Mom. He climbed up onto the stove when he was alone in the kitchen. Later we found him sitting beside the burners stirring a pot full of cold water. When we came in, he clapped his hands and said, “Oh, see!”

    Hans was very adventurous. He wasn’t afraid of anything. His best trick was to climb up our big bookcase. He could get nearly to the ceiling. Mom always lifted him down, but I thought that he was better than a mountain climber.

    Once I did something terrible to him without meaning to. He was coming up the stairs, steadying himself with his hand on the wall. When he got to the door at the top, his hand poked through where the door hinge is. I didn’t see him, and I slammed the door on his finger. He screamed and screamed. Mom and Dad rushed him to the hospital because the end of his finger was badly cut and he needed stitches. I felt awful. But when he came back home, he gave me a hug, so I knew that he still loved me. He was really brave and hardly ever cried about his finger, and he wasn’t even two years old! I felt awfully proud of him.

    When the weather was nice, we used to go for walks together down the street. He really liked to play in the vacant field, running on his little legs along the paths. He liked the flowers and bugs and birds too.

    I guess that we had the most fun one day when Mom went visiting teaching. She left Daddy to take care of us. He was busy in his study, so we looked for something fun to do until Mom got home. Hans opened a cupboard and took out a big can of flour. He took off the lid and showed it to me. It looked like something fun to play with, so we took it into the living room, where he poured it all onto the carpet. Then we rubbed it in big circles. If felt soft and nice. Hans rubbed a white circle around one of his eyes. He looked so funny! Mom came home right after that, and she couldn’t get mad when she saw how funny he looked. She just got her camera and took a picture of us.

    Now I’m really glad that she took the picture. It helps me to look at it. It helps me to tell you about Hans too. You see, he got really sick last month—Mom said it was meningitis. Even though the doctor and the bishop came to help, he died, and I don’t ever want to forget him.

    We all cried when Hans died. Mom and Dad hugged each other and cried. They hugged me too. Our neighbors and friends came over, and they cried. I’m glad that our friends were there. Mom and Dad had to be gone sometimes, getting things ready to bury Hans. It helped to talk to my friends. It helped to just sit on the porch with them beside me.

    Mom decided to make a little white suit for Hans to wear for his funeral. She got the pants made, but when she had trouble with the jacket, one of her friends took it and finished sewing it. She and Dad went to the mortuary to put the suit on Hans.

    After Mom and Dad came back, we all dressed in our Sunday clothes. My grandmas and grandpas were there too. We went together to the mortuary to see Hans. The stake president, who is also the mortician, was there, and he put his arm around me. That helped me feel better.

    I never saw anyone dead before. I knew that Hans would be different, that he wouldn’t be able to talk to me. I wondered how I would feel when I saw him.

    Mom held my hand, and we went into a beautiful room with lots of flowers. There was quiet music playing. The room was just for our family so that we could be alone with Hans.

    Hans was lying in a casket. It looked like a little white bed. His eyes were closed. He looked different, but he looked nice.

    Hans’s funeral was in the morning. All my cousins and aunts and uncles came. Our friends and neighbors were there, too, and we sang “I Know My Father Lives.” Mom and Dad played a song for Hans on the piano and then talked a lot about Jesus.

    Hans is buried near a little pine tree. I like that tree. Dad says that we can watch it grow. It will remind us that Hans is really alive, too, only with Jesus.

    I know that Hans will always be my brother because Mom and Dad were married in the temple. I didn’t know how important that was until Hans died. Now I do.

    Sometimes we go to the cemetery to put flowers on Hans’s grave. I told Mom that it’s kind of like the park where we had our family reunion. She hugged me tightly and told me that when Resurrection Day comes, the good people who have been buried will meet with everybody that they love, and it will be the biggest family reunion that you ever saw. I can hardly wait to hug Hans when he is resurrected. I miss him a lot, but I know that he is happy because he lives with Heavenly Father and Jesus.

    When I die, I won’t be afraid, because I will see Jesus, and I will be with Hans again. I am going to try to be as good as Hans was so that we can live together some day.

    When I take the sacrament, I think about how Jesus was resurrected so that we can be too. I love Jesus for doing that. Even though Hans is dead, because of Jesus I can feel happy.

    Illustrated by Dick Brown