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Lost my brother 6 months ago. . .


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About 6 month ago my older brother passed away. His death was very sudden and unexpected because he appeared to be in good health. He was only 32. I'm struggling with all of this. My only way of really "dealing" is to not think about the fact that my only sibling is gone. I don't really feel like I'm in denial exactly - I accept that he is gone. It is, however, much too painful to actually wrap my head and heart around the fact that I will never see him again in this life.

I feel like my own grief is multiplied tenfold because I'm watching so many others bear the pain of this loss. My family was/is close, and watching my parents have to go through this is unbelievably hard. I feel extra horrible for my sister-in-law who was left without her husband. My niece was only 8 months old when my brother died. She'll never know firsthand the love of her daddy. Sure. we can tell her stories, but that's no substitute for my brother.

I'm not sleeping most nights because my heart is so heavy with a multitude of thoughts. Christmas is only 4 months away. How can our family have a happy, "normal" holiday with such a huge void?

Those of you who have endured something similar - what has brought you comfort? Does it get better with time?

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Cindy, I can't say much other than that I am so sorry for the loss of your brother...and unfortunately I know similar pain. I lost my kid brother to cancer, it will be seven years (!?!) this december, cannot believe it has been that long since I last saw him. We had the blessing of time with our brother. We knew he was sick, he had aggressive cancer, and when the doctors said it was time for hospice, we knew he was dying. Watching him slip away was terrible for all, but again I will say that at the end of the day it was a blessing that we had that time with him even in thos se circumstances.

From what you write, I think you will be able to relate when I say that I have found that the pain of losing a sibling is often greatly underestimated. Our family was and remains very close, too. Another "blessing' in our situation, however, was that our parents preceded my brother in death, so they did not have to know the pain of losing a child. However, another similarity is that my brother has a young son surviving him, who was born just a few months after his death. Unfortunately they never got to meet, and that pains me because I am now here helping to support his growing son and I see of course the love my nephew has for his dad, my brother, but also the pain that he is in because that biological father-son relationship will not be there as it should be. Exactly as you write- we can tell him stories, show him pictures....he loves when we do and he is very proud of his Pop, but it is no subsitute for his Pop. My brother loved his son like crazy even though he never even held him and I know he would have made a wonderful father.

If you have accepted that your brother is gone, that is good. that will help you, in time, to heal. For me I chose to ignore the pain and grief and put it on the backburner, to try to forget anything had ever happened and to busy myself with work and my home life to the point that the reality never could quite sink in. In the long run that has hurt me, but Im not ashamed to say that I am still grieving for my brother 6 yrears later. Especially because of the connection I have to my nephew, I feel an obligation to keep my brother in mind.

Christmastime and other holidays will never be the same, the absence of a sibling you are close to (or anyone you are close to for that matter) is the proverbial elephant in the room, it is obvious who's missing. We have lots of kids in our extended family, so for us there was no choice but to try to happily celebrate in spite of the absence of our brother even though he died 2 days before Christmas 05 (that Christmas really sucked, no celebrations that year, just funeral preparations).

To answer your questions though, it DOES get better in time if you work through the grief and pain now, if you accept how you are feeling, realize it is normal, and don't try to hide it. You need to express what you are feeling, it is a natural human response to the pain of loss. I've found it is unnatural to bottle it up. Something that has brought me a lot of comfort is looking at old pictures with other relatives even if that means some tears. Again, natural response. I take comfort in knowing that I am supporting my brother's son to the best of my ability and am able to, in a way, "represent" my brother on earth to my nephew. I have also found a lot of comfort in grief counseling. I would highly recommend seeing a therapist if you haven't already reached out in that way. A lot of hospitals or community organizations even offer grief counseling for free, so maybe check that out. Two last things- one, give yourself TIME and take it easy on yourself. and two, I have also found a lot of support and comfort in this site, in using the chat room and making occasional posts on here like this.

Anyway...again I am so sorry for the loss of your brother. I know what it is like to be part of a tight-knit family and to lose a sibling. Some days, after all this time, I still feel like my brother will just show up at the doorstep one day, or give me a phone call. Reach out to friends and family. I am married and have two children, and their support has kept me going. Just find a reason to get up out of bed every day, and find someone to talk to once you get up out of bed, to support you throughout your transition into the "new normal" that is life after loss.


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