My brother died on October 16th, 2015. I started blogging in March of 2016. So yeah, I started writing partially because it’s therapeutic. But, why did I have to start a blog? Why couldn’t I just write stuff for myself, and save it on a thumb drive? I don’t know. I guess most people who create something want to share it . . . otherwise, it kind of seems like there’s no point. Maybe sharing could help someone else. Maybe it would help me to make connections . . . maybe it would accelerate my healing.
Did it accomplish any of those things? Maybe. I felt the need to write about it a lot for a while. I’ve mostly been writing about other things over the last few months. With the anniversary coming up, though, it’s made me think about what grief is like two years later.
Before my brother got sick, when I would hear about someone losing a sibling or a spouse too young, I would wonder how they could stand it. How could they cope with such a loss? I would wonder, and pray that I never would experience anything like it. Sadly I am now a member of a club I never wanted to join. I don’t wish membership to this club on my worst enemy.
Does grief get better with time? Yes and no. The frequency is less, but the intensity is the same. I bought a book about grief a month or two after my brother died. Probably the only helpful advice I got from it was that everyone is different, and I should allow myself to take as long as I need. So, I don’t get upset with myself when I feel sad. In fact, I knew from the time that he went into hospice, when I finally accepted that there was very little hope, that this was a loss that my other brother, my parents, and I would never fully recover from. And, I suppose we shouldn’t. It’s a loss that deserves to be felt.
It still feels very surreal to me. In the beginning, I think I was afraid not to think about it. Afraid if I let my guard down, it would sneak up on me and it would be like going through all of it again for the first time. Maybe my instincts were right. I still wake up in the middle of the night sometimes and it’s like it’s all happening again for the first time.
I’m quite certain there has not been a single day that I have not thought about my brother. I didn’t realize, until the first week after he passed, just how much I thought about my childhood and both of my brothers on a daily basis. In the beginning, so many of my thoughts were dominated by the horror of his five month illness. I could hardly picture him healthy, as much as I wanted to remember the good times.
Have the holidays and birthdays gotten any easier? A little, I guess. My daughter’s and my birthday landed between my brother’s death and his Memorial Service. I still remember meeting family for my daugther’s birthday party and having this feeling of anticipation of my brother calling to let me know he was there waiting, or on his way. Something he often did when we met somewhere. I’ve gotten used to the idea that there won’t be any more of those calls. I’ve learned that getting used to it, and liking it aren’t the same thing. Have I accepted it? I don’t really know the answer to that either.
I do hope that this post will help others who are grieving to know they aren’t alone. Two years later, and I guess I’m still working through it all. Maybe I always will be.