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My brother died this year and I keep dreaming about him

Another Person

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Another Person

Hi everyone,


I just registered here to share this.


My brother Nick died of a mis-diagnosed pancreatitus as a result of his decade-long alcohol abuse combined with negligence at the medical group where he sought help for his abdominal pain. The "Doctor" diagnosed him with kidney stones and sent him home with a powerful painkiller prescription. We asked two California law  firms about pursuing a malpractice suit but neither of them opted to pursue our claim. Anyway this post isn't about our feelings of injustice and betrayal, it's about my coping with the fallout.


When he died in February I flew out to California to retrieve his cat, to pack up his stuff and ship it back east, and to help sort out other affairs like identifying his body before cremation (I demurred and allowed my dad to bear that particular burden. Will that always haunt me? I sure didn't want to see my brother dead). I stayed in his apartment for 3 days and nights during which time I read a lot of his things, put most of his belongings in boxes, and talked to many of his friends and co-workers. I also had to inform several people that he had died. The ordeal was tough in many ways but it was mainly a maelstrom of emotion and activity that, while intense and trying, didn't really give me the opportunity to try and process what was going on. Or maybe that's too much to expect anyway. It's now 8 months later.


I was seeing a therapist when he died but my free sessions ran out very soon after and since then I haven't really talked with anyone about it. This is my first time sharing my experiences with anyone really. I don't even want to tell my younger brother about these feelings although maybe I'll get there. I've been dreaming about Nick very often, maybe less often as time goes by, but once a week or more, and the takeaway from the dream is usually the same. I forget that he died. In the dreams, he's alive and well and I am somehow convinced that my preconception that he died was mistaken, and then I wake up and am not sure. I'm using his laptop right now, and when I get up in the morning I log in to his laptop and am reminded that he's dead. It's absolutely fucking awful as you can imagine. But I keep thinking that maybe this kind of pain is processing, that it's productive in a way. I'm 29, he was 31, and he's the first person close to me to ever die. I mean, he's my brother, obviously he'll be close to me forever whether he's dead or not, but it's the first time I've ever had to deal with death.


Anyway, I guess 8 months after his death and after getting back home from his apartment, since I am still having random fits of misery, it's apparent I am still in the midst of trying to process this. I kind of wish that I wouldn't have to forget and remind myself every week that my brother is dead though. It's awful. On the other hand, it's a fact of life and it's not like I want to dismiss Nick from my dreams. I kind of like that he's there.


Thank you for letting me share here.

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I think that after all that you've been through you are just beginning to process all of this. You were so busy before taking care of everything that maybe you didn't really have time to take it all in.

Don't let the cremation thing haunt you. It was your brother and it was his son. It was not only a responsibility of yours, it was also your dad's and it's OK to share that burden, so please, please, don't feel guilty about it.

I dreamt about my brother as well. Maybe you could think of it as him visitting you, letting you know that he is ok wherever he is. That is what I thought about those dreams and it helped me cope.

Grief is a long road, but know you are not alone... many of us are walking the same path.

3 quotes have helped me a ton, here they go:

- Understand that sometimes you will have no choice but to focus in life.

- Understand that sometimes you will not be able to avoid focusing on the loss.

- Nothing gets in the way of life's inertia.

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