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Almost a year and still struggling


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I know they say that time heals all wounds, but sometimes I really wonder.

I lost my brother (35) almost a year ago, it was unexpected and just shook me to my core. I had lost my father maybe 6 years before due to cancer. I had time to come to terms with it. It was awful and it hurt, but the unexpectedness of this is still so hard.

It was something that was treatable if he had seen a doctor. So I'm angry about that, it might not have been this way. But it was not in my control. I just have to live with the end results.

I already suffered from depression and sometimes I wonder if that will ever go away. I only had the one sibling and now it's just me. Me and my mom. The idea that anything could happen to her just scares me. I'm not married, not dating and have no children. I have extended family that is close, but nothing is quite the same when it's your immediate family.

I find so much that I miss. He lived with me, so I saw him all the time. He happened to be housesitting for my mom and hadn't been feeling great. She came home to find him. It was right before Halloween and we were going to be Scooby Doo and Shaggy,

I find myself always thinking, Garrett would have known that or would remember that. He found the most interesting gifts and I always had fun trying to come up with something interesting for him. He was by no means perfect, but there is so much about him I miss.

I've done a few grief sessions, though they aren't close enough to be convenient and I probably ought to go again.

Sadly, since time hasn't been helping, I'm finding that a glass or two of wine helps. But in all honesty it's just hiding it temporarily. I still don't feel any better for it.

Does it really get easier? I can still cry at the drop of a hat if someone asks me about it. I can relay stories or mention him okay, but ask me if I'm doing okay or what happened and I'm a mess. So much here is a reminder. One of my cats adored him and has taken to me as a result of him not being here. I had always joked I needed another cat because my two loved my roommate and brother. But now it just feels sad.

I'm having trouble sleeping, or rather staying asleep. I have medicaton to help with that, but I still find I can cry myself to sleep.

What are some of the things people are doing to help themselves get past something so painful?


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Erin, I am so sorry for your loss. My brother chose to end his life a few weeks ago, so I am still in shock. I still have other siblings, but as my family is very dysfunctional, I am not close to very many of them. I live 1000 miles away from all of them. So still having siblings is no guarantee of less pain. The experts tell us that the different stages of grief come and go, and that everyone grives differently.

Today, I took a walk for the first time, and was able to take an interest in the beauty of the world around me, just a little bit. I also feel better if I exercise. I sincerely hope you have a better day today, and by all means, feel free to respond. We are all in this world together, and I do care about my companions in grief.

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I'm so sorry for your loss. Sudden is so much harder that anticipated. Both still suck, but the loss of my brother is still fresh in my mind even though it's almost a year.

You're so new to the grief and with the holidays approaching it can make things even more stressful. Especially if your family is dysfunctional. I'm lucky in my family. My mom is close to her sisters, plus they have husbands and some children. So it was helpful to have everyone around, but it just feels unfair to have lost two my immediate family.

My brother died from a perferated colon, was likely an issue with undiagnosed colitis. However he wasn't one to go to the doctor, much less talk about things like that. So I am still angry about it and sad. I found a few books online I've ordered about sibling grief in the hopes that it'll help. But for me, I was very close to my brother as well as my parents. I'm still close to my mom, probably m.ore so since now it's the two of us.


I suggested a trip to Alaska in August (which was my brother's birth month) and it felt like it would be hard to handle, so we needed something positive. My aunt and a cousin from my mom's other sister joined us. We had a good time. It was funny, we made friends with one of the girls working, and it turns out she has the same birthday as my brother. Or I see things that have a number associated with him and I wonder if it's a sign. Kind of like the Giants winning the world series. I had hopes for the 49ers. My brother was a fan of both. I guess I hope those are signs that he is out there and doing okay.

Distance doesn't always matter when it comes to family. I just wish it wasn't just me. I worry about what will happen in the future. My brother was able to take on things when my mom needed help easier than I could.

The cat who adored him is not young and has definitely been showing signs of stress. She's a strong tie to my brother and I have fears of what will happen when I lose her.

How are you coping with your shock? I know my initial grief has toned down, but there are definitely times where I have melt downs, like yesterday/today. I couldn't even handle the idea of work or class. I head down to my mom's tomorrow after work, so I'm hoping that it'll be healing. I can go to the cemetery and take flowers, just be there for a while. I lost my brother to a medical condition and was devastated, I'm not sure how much harder it would be to lose someone to suicide.

I do find walks are helpful, or yoga even was helpful. I found a more relaxing meditative yoga class that was helpful.

The major events for the first time are definitely the worst. He died just before Halloween. I love Halloween and I'm hoping it doesn't bring me down. Christmas was hard, mothers day, birthdays, they all cause some sort of strong memory and sadness. I only hope that the future brings memories that make me smile rather than cry.

I'm open to hearing more about your loss if you need or want to talk. Sometimes it helps to have an outside perspective.


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Dear Erin,

Thank you for your kind words. I will definitely check out a yoga class, that sounds like a great idea. I saw a kind customer today who has been really special to me over the years, I work in a grocery store. He told me that in his personal experience, the grief was very fresh and new for a year or two. Your loss was sudden, too. It's the suddenness that hurts so badly. I have lost relatives to chronic causes, but given months or years, you can kind of get ready for their passing.

I am so angry at my mother. I called her several times after I got back to Texas in August from visiting up North. I asked her to please go see my brother Tom, because I was very worried about him. She said, "I just don't feel like dealing with it right now." She was so rude at the funeral, just ignored my brother's wife, who is Chinese, and her parents, who were visiting from China when this tragedy took place. (!)

THEY suffered a terrible loss, too. Tom left his wife in a very precarious position financially. She will lose the house, as he took out a $25K line of credit against it. Also, because he retired early and withdrew from his pension fund, he owes $25K in Federal Tax penalties. He brought her here from China and wanted her to stay home and care for the house and garden, he never wanted her to work. He paid the bills, so she had no idea of the finances.

Thankfully, my oldest sister, who has retired from the Federal Gov, and for some reason, LOVES dealing with bureaucracy, has taken my brother's widow under her wing and is helping her wade through all the paperwork. That is some consolation.

This whole thing is like a nightmare that keeps unfolding. Somehow, another withdrawal from Tom's retirement fund~ A quarter million dollars~ diappeared between June and August of this year, with no paper trail. Here is what I think happened, although we will probably never know the actual truth.

I have a brother, Jim, who is 2 years older than i am, who has been a junkie for over 30 years. He has been in and out of rehab at least 20 times, and has been in a methadone program for over 20 years. When i saw him in August during my trip, he was very jittery and irritable, so I knew he was back on something. He kept saying Tom owed him money. Jim thinks the world owes him something, he always has. He said terrible things about Tom and his wife, Yan Mei~to my mother, convinced my mother to change her will, and leave the house and everything to HIM. Tom had suffered from terrible lower back pain for many years, was on prescription narcotics, and was terrified to have back surgery. I think Jim got Tom hooked on methadone or Oxycontin or something, to ease his pain, and that he convinced Tom to finance some sort of drug deal that went sour. I truly believe Tom got into something he could NOT get out of, and I do not think i will ever forgive Jim for pushing him over the edge. He is dead to me, just as dead as Tom is. For several weeks I fantasized how i would kill Jim, or have him killed. Thankfully that has gone away, as my husband pointed out, letting him live is more punishment. Jim has Hepatitis C and terrible gums and teeth, so he may not outlive my mother anyway...

I am sorry your brother's kitty is grieving, too. Animals DO grieve. I had a Malamute, Lucky, who was raised along with my Chow-Shepherd mix Kobe, they were best buddies. Three years ago, my Lucky got cancer and had to be put down. My vet came here to the house to do that, and we buried him in the garden. Kobe boy saw this, sniffed the dead body, so he knew there was a difference. Even though we have changed out the carpet in the living room, Kobe STILL goes over to the spot where Lucky used to lie, and rubs his face in it. He was listless and sad for months after Lucky was gone. We got a puppy about six months after Lucky's death, and Kobe took a long time to warm up to him, but he eventually did. But he still goes to that corner and rubs his face in the carpet.

I hope you will feel free to share any other coping strategies you may have, at this point I am doing all I can to just get up and go to work and take care of everyday life. Take good care, Erin! BTW, my real name is Betty Jo~ I use Boopsiebee on eBay, and wasn't sure if I wanted to use my real name here. But this seems like a good forum and people have been very nice and genuine! So please call me Betty Jo! Take Care!

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