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Lost older brother to cancer


Mumtothree

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I am 41 years old & about 6 months ago I sat sharing bedside vigil for 2 days with other family members & watched my older brother who was 51 years old slowly departing our world. He was in the hospice for the last 2 days of his life with cancer. He was diagnosed with stage 4 bowel cancer September last year. This time last year (just before Christmas) he had just finished a course of radiation therapy & chemo. This was followed by surgery in February which resulted in him having a stoma bag. The operation was supposed to be reversed but unfortuantely they found a spot on his lung & after that the cancer quickly spread to his liver & spine. He had always been one of the fittest & strongest men I know & it was heartwrenching to see & hear his decline. I live in another city which is a 6 hour drive away & have 3 small children between 2 - 7 years old so would talk to him on the phone every week & made as many trips as possible down to see him in the last 4 months of his life. He handled his journey with such strength, courage & positivity. I felt so proud of him. During his cancer journey he shared a lot with me. I was the first person in the family he told & had to keep it secret until he was ready to share the news with everyone else. Initially I thought that everything might turn out OK but am still suprised with the speed at which things progressed towards the end. The journey I shared with him was painful at times but I always looked forward to talking with him & being there for him. His passing has been so difficult to deal with at times. Friends & my in-laws have not been as understanding or as supportive as I expected. In fact I have had some very hurtful things said to me by both & had people I thought were friends completely exit themselves from my life. My relationship with my Mum has changed because it has obviously been a difficult loss for her & I've tried to be there for her. Because she is suffering I feel that I cannot dump all my pain on her so try not to express my grief to her. My husband just says that he doesn't really know what to say when I get upset. He tries to 'do' things to help out but all I really want is talk about my brother & parts of his journey & my own grief journey sometimes, but this makes him uncomfortable & the conversation comes to an end. I have been fine at times over the last few months & my life is really busy with 3 young kids which acts as a huge distraction. This Christmas will be the first I've ever had at my parents when my brother hasn't been there & it tearing my heart apart thinking about it & I'm not even there yet...

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Mumtothree,

I am sorry about the loss of your brother. You can share your story here and talk about him all you want. We know how important it is to get it all out and talk about how you felt during the whole experience and how you currently feel.

Your brother sounds like a great guy. Do you have pictures you'd like to post? Did he have a family? Your mother is certainly welcome to come here, too. We have a support board for people who have lost their children, regardless of their age.

Also, have you considered a grief and loss group or counseling? Either of those may help you sort through your feelings. Christmas will be tough for all of you, but you will get through it just like you get through each day. Perhaps you can suggest a special moment to honor him, or a special tradition that you all start in his honor.

We will be here thinking of you,

ModKonnie

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I cried reading yout post.My sister died unexpectedly of cancer that spread quickly by the timm eof diagnosis,and she died with tin 7 days.In my arms.I was totally unprepared for this,flying from USA to see her back home..expected to take her to the doctors.

carrying potions,vitamins etc she asked for to relieve her discomfort. The last tow month my painn was excruciating.I feel as if I lost a limb,asd I was totalllly close to her,my only sibling,and both our parents are dead.

I know that there are no words to console you.

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Anusia, so sorry to hear about your sister

Thought I'd respond to some of the questions that ModKonnie asked. My brother has an ex-wife who he separated from about 20 years ago. From that marriage he has two sons who are 22 & 25. The eldest son moved cities to live with him & care for him the last 2 months of his life. Such an amazing thing to do! I have just found out this week that the youngest one had a one-night stand about a month after my brother passed away & the girl got pregnant so he is going to be Dad in April. He has only seen her about 7 times. My Mum feels very disappointed with him for doing that.

I have had some grief counselling as about 3 months afterwards I was still having days that I just couldn't stop crying all day long. I had a great counsellor but unfortuantely she moved cities & the lady I was given as a replacement wasn't such a good fit for me. I find that slight glitches in my life send me into despair like never before now. I was always previously quite resilient. It's like my emotions are sitting there so close the surface all the time now & I feel a bit fragile.

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