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Messages - clc100

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Sibling Loss / Re: Loss of brother
« on: April 24, 2010, 02:53:45 PM »
Deebee -

You are in the very early stages of a long healing process. I lost my 50 year old brother last June 30th and still cry on a nearly daily basis. And browneyed girl is right, it's only been recently that I felt a little normal again. And normal is a different thing now. The important thing is accepting that you have every right to feel what you are feeling. And feel it. In the beginning, I cried everytime I was alone; in the car, in the shower, in my room. I had to and I'm guessing you have to too.

Sibling Loss / Re: Only Sibling, Removal of Life Support
« on: March 14, 2010, 01:36:11 PM »
I too lost my brother this past year, 4 days after his 50th birthday of cardiac arrest. It is helpful to come a place like this to realize you are not alone in your grief and that there are others who understand. I keep recommending the book "The Empty Room: Understand Sibling Loss", which is a book I found about 3 months after my brother died. It really made me feel validated in my grief. I also saw a therapist because I needed somewhere to go and the pain and grief be all about me. You made the statement about your parent's grief and I felt the same way but you have lost someone you have spent an entire lifespan with and that is a pain all its own.

Sibling Loss / Re: It hurts SOOOOOOO much
« on: February 09, 2010, 05:54:24 PM »
I highly recommend the book The Empty Room: Understanding Sibling Loss.  It is written by the sister of boy who inspired the Boy in the Plastic Bubble movie. She interviews siblings who have lost brothers/sisters throughout the life span and shows the recurring themes and the variety of ways people learn to cope. I found it at the library and after reading the 1st chapter, I felt less alone.

Sibling Loss / Re: feel like I have worn out everyone
« on: February 07, 2010, 02:57:01 PM »
I really recommend reading The Empty Room: Understanding Sibling Loss. It made me feel less alone when I felt there was no one to turn to.

Sibling Loss / Re: It hurts SOOOOOOO much
« on: February 07, 2010, 02:54:13 PM »
My brother died 7 months ago and I still burst into tears without warning on an almost daily basis. I really believe the sibling relationship is one of the strongest of all and to lose that is to lose part of yourself. We take for granted that we will grow old along side our siblings and they will mirror our life experience in a way that no one else can.

I just let the waves hit me (I really don't have a choice) and ride them out. They have gotten shorter over time and I can recover more quickly but grief is a life long process and will probably always be there.

Sibling Loss / Re: Tommorrow is 4 months
« on: December 29, 2009, 12:02:04 PM »
The 30th will be 6 months since my brother passed away and I am really only now in a place where it does not consume me. And I will admit, medicine has been the key for me. I was in such a deep decline last month that I thought I would never get to a place where I could be sitting on top of the 6 month anniversary and not be falling apart.

I agree - grief is as unique as the person but I do believe that it is a psychic pain that is too often overlooked. I got to a point where I wanted some physical scar to show people the pain I was in. I'm only now just coming out of that.

Just keep talking it out. There is nothing more important than talking it out.

Sibling Loss / 5 months
« on: November 30, 2009, 05:43:30 PM »
It's 5 months today since my brother passed away. Some days it feels like it was just yesterday. I can't believe a whole season has passed. I keep referring to it as still summer because this has just been one extended hell in many respects.

I'm so angry. I was so sad for so long and now I'm just angry. I know enough to know I am very depressed. I'm in therapy. I am on medication. None of it is enough right now. I feel like I am ruining my son's childhood because I am so depressed it's hard to not be angry or manage my emotions.

The day before Thanksgiving, I had a thought and I heard my brother answer it. I heard his voice, his annoyance with my pig-headedness.  He never wanted any of this for me. For any of us. And yet, we are so deep in it. I don't know how to get out.

Sibling Loss / Preparing for the Holidays
« on: November 03, 2009, 06:02:05 PM »
We just endured the 4 month anniversary of my brothers death this past Friday (Oct. 30). The grief is still overwhelming at times but I have come out of the general haze that I was in for the first 3 months. But I still find myself crying daily, usually in the car, especially hearing music from the 70's, which will forever remind me of my brother.

I am struggling with what I know will be an overwhelming grief on Thanksgiving. My brother almost didn't even celebrate holidays but Thanksgiving was his day. I don't know how I will manage on that day. I almost want to disappear completely for the day but I feel I have to be there for the rest of my family since there is a collective dread.

Does anyone have any experience with how they handled those 1st holidays?

Recommended Grief Books / The Empty Room (Death of a Sibling)
« on: September 25, 2009, 05:11:29 PM »
This book by Elizabeth Devita-Raeburn, focuses on the grief specific to those who have lost a sibling at any stage in life. The author lost her 17 year old brother (who was the basis of the movie The Boy in the Bubble) when she was 14.

This book is not only her personal journey through grief but a compilation of interviews with many people who have lost siblings throughout the life span. She also addresses the social norms associated with grief and sibling loss and why siblings need to realize they have a right to grieve deeply.

My favorite quote from the book is in reference to a 77 year old man who lost his older sister 5 years earlier. As he tries to explain the void, Devita-Reyburn writes "What he was saying was , how do you describe the way someone fit into your life, if they have always been a part of it?" Having recently lost my brother, this one line summed up every emotion I have felt since the day he died.

Sibling Loss / Re: Almost Unbearable
« on: September 25, 2009, 04:52:07 PM »
Scott -

I lost my brother 4 days after his 50th birthday this past June. Last night was my youngest sister's birthday and after returning home from my mother's for the traditional dinner, cake and ice cream, I completely fell apart. In a tidal wave of clarity, I realized that my brother would never call me again to wish me a happy birthday as he had for as long as I can remember.

Sibling loss is excruciatingly painful because it feels like it belongs to someone else (your parents or the kids). I am in counseling too and have been encouraged to write, which I am trying to do. It's interesting because I went to the library today and found a book on sibling loss called The Empty Room. I found some pretty profound points in it; namely claiming the story of your relationship with your sibling and how it defines you.  I have known my brother my whole life - how am I supposed to be me without him????  Anyway - this seems to be a little bit of what you are saying as well and I wanted you to know you aren't alone. That the pain and grief are real and your are entitled to it.

Good Luck

Sibling Loss / Re: dealing with loss of brother
« on: September 08, 2009, 04:24:29 PM »
Started counseling today through my EAP benefit at work and I have to say, while I feel drained, I do feel better. I work in the behavioral/mental health field so having to deal with all of my grief and then go to work and help other people with their problems has been a challenge.

It felt good to be able to tell the story to a fresh ear. In my personal life, I feel like I can't "over"talk about it because then people think I'm "not moving on" and I'm sick of sharing my grief with my family. I need this to be just my grief at times.

Sibling Loss / Re: dealing with loss of brother
« on: August 30, 2009, 11:09:32 AM »
Today is the 2 month anniversary of my brother's death. It has actually gotten worse rather than better. I know this is normal but it doesn't make it any easier. I'm just exhausted. Tired of crying all of the time. Tired of pretending I can juggle everything in my life. Tired of feeling like I shouldn't be thinking about it all of the time.

Sibling Loss / dealing with loss of brother
« on: August 26, 2009, 06:29:51 PM »
I lost my brother on June 30, 4 days after his 50th birthday. While it is was unexpected, his health had been in serious decline for the last 1 1/2 years. He was overweight, a smoker with severe sleep apnea. In April of this year, he was hospitalized for 12 days with multiple systems failures - may have started as a kidney rupture but his blood pressure, blood oxygen levels and heart rate were all over the place. He was in ICU most of the time, with various specialists treating him and none of them appearing to be communicating.

My sisters and I took turns sitting with him, making sure he kept his oxygen mask on because he was so combative, going in and out of consciousness, he kept tearing it off and they had restrained him at one point.

One afternoon the respiratory therapist came in and began to tell me a story about her own brother who she said reminded her of my brother. She told me about his battle with COPD and apnea and how he died. And she told me that I wouldn't want that for my brother, that this was not quality of life. And it was in that moment that I first realized that my brother may never get better. For so long I had waited for him to have his A-HA moment - realize that saying he wanted to change and actually taking the steps were 2 different things. And now maybe that wasn't an option. A little while later, the cardiologist came in and when I asked him to tell me what was going on, he assured me that his heart was the least of his problems but that I need to prepare myself for the fact that he was very sick. But again..noone seemed to know what that "sick" was.

I made the decision to not tell my family what had been said to me. I didn't even tell my brother. And the next day, after I mentally prepared myself to spend the day making sure he kept the oxygen mask on in order to avoid him being intubated, I walked in to ICU and my brother was sitting up in bed. Like nothing was wrong. He downplayed the whole incident. And he spent about another week in the hospital waiting for someone to tell him what was really wrong. And no one ever did. Yeah - a psycho general practitioner who was covering his actual doctors rounds came in on the 2nd to last day actually yelling with a long list of possible scenarios after my brother made a call to his doctor and said no one was giving him info. And then she discharged him a day later. He was very depressed and very sick. A visiting nurse came for a few weeks and slowly he went back to his life. He did quit smoking and really perked up. 

Over the last few weeks of his life, he appeared visibly happier. He was upbeat in a way I hadn't really ever seen unless he had a couple drinks in him. He stopped by my house unexpectedly one day and we talked about his worries about my mom getting older. We talked about how close we had all stayed over the years (6 kids) but that it wasn't always healthy. It wasn't a long conversation but it stuck with me. I called him on his birthday but I didn't hear back from him. 2 days later, I saw him at my mothers. We had dinner a a birthday cake and he was so happy and upbeat, it was a little freaky. He was so proud of the fact that he had gone 55+ days without smoking. His breathing sounded a little labored. I asked him about it and him assured me he was fine. I didn't push it because no one ever won an argument with my brother.

2 days later he died. He collapsed in his neighborhood bar bathroom, a few minutes after walking in the door. His autopsy revealed a heart 3 times larger than the average human heart. There was a long list of contributing factors but it doesn't even matter at this point. My brother is dead and I'm devastated. My mother is devastated. My brother and sisters are devastated.

My biggest fear is that somehow this story will end. I mean right now, there's still more to tell. Explaining how I told my son. How I wrote an obituary. How I wrote a memorial tribute to him. How his friends came together. But I'm so afraid that one day there will be nothing left to say.


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