I lost my older brother on Easter morning 17 years ago. He was 21, driving home with two friends when he fell asleep at the wheel. He had been up all night supporting his friends at a late night event and was sleeping in his hotel room, when his girlfriend and friends urged him to wake up because they "wanted to go home". He agreed to drive if his friends kept him awake (they later told us this). He died at the scene. I was 17, and he was my best friend, my protector, and such a hilarious, kind, generous, creative person.
I was with my mom when we found out, and still have traumatic memories from that, 17 years later. I was laying in bed Easter morning when I heard her upset talking to my father on the phone saying " I just called Chris's apartment and one of his friends said that he's passed away? Why would he say that? What is he trying to do to our family?" (His roommate just casually told her this on the phone. That still makes me so upset and sad for her.) Finally my dad was on the phone and I saw her crying, upset, asking him "Tell me...tell me Arthur" and when he told her she dropped the phone and lost it. She was sobbing loudly near the refrigerator. She had filled up two huge bags of plastic eggs for our whole extended family to come over. To this day Easter is a hard time of year. It feels like the reason he was rushing home to begin with. I can't even explain how devastating it was to lose Chris. Our younger brother was 10 at the time and he doesn't remember him. I am the one person my mom can count on to understand even a portion of her pain.
Chris was such a wonderful person. He taught me how to give better hugs. He was interested in my art, he was excited about the world and doing things and urged me to get out there and not be shy. He is still my older brother even though I am 14 years older than he was when he passed. I have not let his life be in vain. I have tried to infuse the beauty of his personality into my own. there's so much more to say, we all have so much to say about our lost sibling. It's so hard, there's no way around that.
I don't really share the story but I wanted to let anyone know who has recently lost a sibling that there is some hope of not feeling utterly hopeless and lost. No one will understand when people say stupid things. Even people who mean well and who love you will say dumb things. Try to forgive them somehow, they just don't understand. Try to find some joy in this life, do what you love. It will take time. Grief is an evolving process...
Although I didn't have a mother for years after that, she found folk dancing...something she always was passionate about. She teaches classes, and helps other people through her beautiful dancing. She said Chris told her "Mom, you need to dance."