"Today is my youngest brother Michael's birthday. Being at the other end of the sibling scale with my sister Susan, until more recent years, Michael always seemed so distant to me and the older family siblings. In many ways, he is a listener more than a talker and generally carries on his life in the background these days without making too much fuss. I often feel that being the youngest of four brothers, he has frequently felt himself in the shadows of success as Billy's, Patrick's or Peter's 'youngest brother.'
The simple truth is that over the years Michael has found his own peace of mind outside the boisterousness of his loud family circle. I often think that from all four brothers, though he may have seemed to have cracked fewer pots than the other three males in climbing up the greasy pole of success, he is in many ways the wisest of us all. He seems to have found the secret of solitude during moments when he most needs it and requires not the accolades of those around to know his own successes.
He is in short 'his own man' with 'his own ways' and he is loved and held in no less regard than any of my other siblings. While as the eldest child of seven, I can boast that I probably did the most for mum when the family was growing up, as the second youngest, it has been my brother Michael who has tended our mum's grave ever since she died thirty years ago. No greater love can a son show for his mother than to keep tidy the place where she and dad finally rest.
Michael has been lucky to find a forgiveness of self in his moments alone and has learned that solitude is the glory of being alone. We live in a very stressful society today where tensions and pressures pull us apart. If we are ever to learn how to pull ourselves together, I think that at least part of the answer lies in rediscovering 'solitude'. This means getting back in touch with one's inner feelings; falling back in love with all aspects of Nature and reminding oneself that we should never waste one minute of a misty morn when rabbits run free across fields of fresh air and birds sing their song of life so sweetly in woodland tree tops.
Happy sixty first birthday, Michael. I love you lots. Brother. Billy xxx" William Forde: June 27th, 2015.