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just lost my brother at 42 last week


zetetic

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Hi all.  I just lost my brother at 42 years old last week.  He died of heart problems, which were exacerbated by drug and alcohol addiction.  He had stopped using and drinking years before his death (I think), but the damage to his heart was already done.  They did a surgery to install a device in his heart to help it pump.  The surgery itself went well, but during recovery he got an infection, and his heart just wasn't strong enough to handle it and it stopped.  Both our parents are still alive.  Seeing them deal with what happened has been utter hell.  My mother cries almost all day long every day.  I was dealing with it okay the first week, but the last few days have not been good.  The reality has started to set in.  I had to identify his body too which was very difficult.

The main point of me posting here is that I wanted to ask if anyone knows of any peer-to-peer free grief support groups out there.  I am in the Baltimore metro area.  I am looking for something vaguely like Alcoholics Anonymous, where people in the same situation help one another.  I had just assumed such groups existed, but they have been very hard to find.  When I Google I just get group therapy run by professionals.  I have a therapist and don't need (and likely can't afford) another one.  I just wanted a group to talk face-to-face with people in the same situation.  I know about Alanon of course and I am attending that.  But does anyone know of such a group that deals specifically with grief?  It doesn't have to be based on the 12 steps of course, just a group where peers help each other.  A secular group is preferred but I will consider Christian groups.  Or even groups based around other religions, if they invite outsiders to join.  

Thanks for reading.

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Hi Zetetic,

I can empathize fully with your pain.   I only had 2 siblings growing up, 2 younger brothers.  I was the oldest.  My youngest brother Kevin, whom I was incredibly close to and spoke with (or video chatted with) every single day since the day I moved out of my parents home, died unexpectedly at age 41 about 6.5 months ago.   He also had terrible drug addiction to cocaine, and the night he died around 1:00 am he was all alone and high on cocaine.  We assume he must have had an arrhythmia or cardiac arrest.   

My middle brother found him, and he had already been dead for 5 or 6 hours when found.   My brother called me at 7:00 am to deliver the news.  I am not really that close with my middle brother, and he rarely ever calls me, so while it was odd him calling me at 7:00 am, I can tell you that I was wholly unprepared for the terrible news he was about to deliver.   The first week or two I think I was in shock, denial and disbelief.   It didn't yet seem real to me.  I hadn't yet had time to process the whole gravity of the situation, or the finality of it.   

I think that might be why you are starting to feel more grief now than you did the first week.   The shock and disbelief are your brains coping mechanism to protect you from such horrible pain of this new reality.   Unfortunately they do not last long, and when they begin to fade, the real feelings start to set in.   You begin to realize that this horrible news is not just in the here and now, it's not temporary, but rather it's something that is forever and that there is no going back.   You start to think about all the future birthdays, holidays and other big events in your life where you will be without your brother.   For me now 6.5 months out, I feel like I have 2 lives.  I have the me before my brother died.  And I have the me after my brother died.  And in many ways those two people are the same, but in an equal number of ways they are different.  At the moment, the new me is just a shadow of the old me.  My hope is that someday the new me can be someone that I am as happy with as the old me.

You are very close to the event, and 1 week is still going to be like a complete blur.   I just want you to know that the pain getting worse over time is normal.  As we get further from them being gone we don't start missing them less, we actually start missing them MORE.   Because it's a longer period of time without them in our lives.  So don't think that anything is wrong with you if the pain and grief continues to get worse and just know that it will reach a tipping point where things will start to slowly get better.

I am 100% convinced that I will never "get over" my brothers sudden death, or that it will ever get any "easier", but I do hope that I learn to cope with it better than I am now.  Even 6.5 months out I still spend 90% of my day thinking about him, missing him, wishing he would video call me and say "What up my dude?  What are you up to?" as he so often would.   He was a really funny and laid back guy, who always made you laugh, and always made you feel good.   Wish my other brother and I had such a good relationship but we are far from it, and I don't have anyone else in my life who is like my brother was, he was a very unique guy with a heart of gold and who truly cared about other people.

I wish you the best of luck on this terrible journey, and I hope that you can eventually find some peace with your brothers death.

Jason R.

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Cleo1800
On 2/3/2023 at 4:36 PM, zetetic said:

Hi all.  I just lost my brother at 42 years old last week.  He died of heart problems, which were exacerbated by drug and alcohol addiction.  He had stopped using and drinking years before his death (I think), but the damage to his heart was already done.  They did a surgery to install a device in his heart to help it pump.  The surgery itself went well, but during recovery he got an infection, and his heart just wasn't strong enough to handle it and it stopped.  Both our parents are still alive.  Seeing them deal with what happened has been utter hell.  My mother cries almost all day long every day.  I was dealing with it okay the first week, but the last few days have not been good.  The reality has started to set in.  I had to identify his body too which was very difficult.

The main point of me posting here is that I wanted to ask if anyone knows of any peer-to-peer free grief support groups out there.  I am in the Baltimore metro area.  I am looking for something vaguely like Alcoholics Anonymous, where people in the same situation help one another.  I had just assumed such groups existed, but they have been very hard to find.  When I Google I just get group therapy run by professionals.  I have a therapist and don't need (and likely can't afford) another one.  I just wanted a group to talk face-to-face with people in the same situation.  I know about Alanon of course and I am attending that.  But does anyone know of such a group that deals specifically with grief?  It doesn't have to be based on the 12 steps of course, just a group where peers help each other.  A secular group is preferred but I will consider Christian groups.  Or even groups based around other religions, if they invite outsiders to join.  

Thanks for reading.

I don’t know if you’ll get this message. But in the Baltimore area is Gilchrest- they have free grief support groups.  Wishing you all the best. 

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