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It doesn’t seem real


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I lost my older brother on January 15, 2021. He was 48 years old. He battled pancreatic cancer for almost a year, and in September he had the tumor removed and was cancer free. Unfortunately, he had many complications after the surgery and he never recovered.

My brother and I were close as kids. He was seven years older than me and was the typical mean older brother, but I wanted to be just like him. After he got married, he went his own way and he distanced himself from his immediate family. He lived a busy life and his wife made her side of the family their priority, and therefore, we didn’t get to see him much. We got together for holidays and a few family functions here and there, and when we did see each other it was like we hadn’t been apart at all. 

Now that he’s gone, I’m finding that I forget that he’s not here anymore. I went so long only seeing him a handful of times each year, that his absence became normal. I have to keep reminding myself that he’s gone.

I have grieved for him and I’ve cried until I think I can’t cry anymore, but now that the funeral has come and gone, it’s like business as usual. I find myself back in the swing of things and when I suddenly remember, it hits me like a ton of bricks and I can’t wrap my head around it.

It feels like a dream. Like there’s no way he’s not here. He’s just off doing his own thing like always and I’ll see him soon. So I go about my day, but when it hits me again, I feel so guilty for not remembering or not acknowledging that he’s gone.

I don’t know how to describe these feelings I have or this strange mental haze I’m in. I don’t know what to do. 

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2 hours ago, jessesgirl said:

It feels like a dream. Like there’s no way he’s not here. He’s just off doing his own thing like always and I’ll see him soon. So I go about my day, but when it hits me again, I feel so guilty for not remembering or not acknowledging that he’s gone.

I am so sorry for your loss.  I lost my oldest sister almost three years ago, it felt like the beginning of the end and I fear losing my other siblings.  My brother pretty much went with his wife's family after they married, we have been all but excluded from his life, didn't get to see his kids growing up, never invited to their home, etc.  I still reach out now and then but it saddens me.  At least he has his wife's family & I'm glad he's close to them.

Feelings like you're having are very common in early grief.  It's such a trauma to our brain, it's hard for us to process loss, it really is!  So we go back and forth with the reality sucker-punching us now and then as it begins to seep in.  I think it's because our body can't handle it absorbing fully into it in the beginning, it comes to us in bits until we begin to realize they're gone.  It's not clear cut, it's in & out, like waves, yes, very hard to put into words.  I learned to ride with it.  Cry when the mood strikes, don't worry if you can't/don't cry.  Yes mental haze describes it perfectly.  They call it grief fog or grief brain, it can make it hard to think clearly or focus with any clarity and it can last for quite some time.  When my husband died 15 1/2 years ago, that was the hardest hitting grief I'd ever known, and I'm not sure my brain ever went back to "pre-grief" brain.  It made it harder for me to do my job as I once had (I've always had jobs that required a lot of brain work).  Losing my Arlie (companion dog) 1 1/2 years ago hit like that too, both were part of my everyday existence and our daily interactions, abruptly severed, were hard hitting.  Losing my sister, it felt like I'd lost the glue that held the family together...she was quadriplegic and we'd always rallied together for her, coming together from all over the state once a month to take her out to eat and shopping, visit, just to give her something to look forward to and hope for...now that commonality is gone and I fear us losing that esp. with Covid, disabilities, old age preventing us from continuing to do that.

Talk to your brother.  TELL him you miss him.  It doesn't hurt and who knows but maybe he can hear you...so much we don't know but I believe their spirits continue even though their bodies quit being of service to them.  I believe my sister will get to run in heaven, who knows, maybe we can even fly when we get there!  All I know is, she'll know no more pain or discomfort, and so we take comfort in that.

It does help to express yourself, esp. when others who "get it" hear and understand.  So feel free to come here any time and we will be here to listen and care...:wub:

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On 1/25/2021 at 7:15 AM, kayc said:

Talk to your brother.  TELL him you miss him.  It doesn't hurt and who knows but maybe he can hear you...so much we don't know but I believe their spirits continue even though their bodies quit being of service to them. 

Thank you for your kind words. It brings me comfort knowing that I have a place to express what I’m going through and there are others who can relate.

I have been talking to him a lot, especially at night just before I fall asleep. My daughter, who is 8 years old, and who, in the last couple of years, became close with him especially during his illness this past year, has mentioned that he has visited her. She said he came to her at night when I was asleep next to her. He gave her a thumbs up and said happy late birthday to her. He was in the hospital during her birthday and passed a week later. Maybe he came her to because she didn’t see him before he passed. I didn’t want to put her through that because he was in hospice care and liver failure isn’t pretty.

Whether it’s true or not, I’d like to believe that he did come to her and that’s what she needed to help process this trauma. I told her how lucky she is to be able to see him and that made her smile. 

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On 1/25/2021 at 4:54 AM, jessesgirl said:

Now that he’s gone, I’m finding that I forget that he’s not here anymore. I went so long only seeing him a handful of times each year, that his absence became normal. I have to keep reminding myself that he’s gone.

I have grieved for him and I’ve cried until I think I can’t cry anymore, but now that the funeral has come and gone, it’s like business as usual. I find myself back in the swing of things and when I suddenly remember, it hits me like a ton of bricks and I can’t wrap my head around it.

The same thing happened to me when my father died. Once I had moved with my family to a different part of the country and we lived in different states, I didn't see my father very often either, so I grew quite accustomed to loving him in his absence and took for granted that he was still there for me. After he died, I'd be driving to work, listening to the radio, and suddenly, out of the blue, I'd remember that he was truly gone from this world, and as you say, each time it happened it felt as if I'd been hit by a truck. It was in those moments that I was hit with the full force of my grief, and the pain was devastating. My father died many years ago, and to this day I still talk to him, asking for his wisdom, protection and advice.

2 hours ago, jessesgirl said:

Whether it’s true or not, I’d like to believe that he did come to her and that’s what she needed to help process this trauma. I told her how lucky she is to be able to see him and that made her smile. 

 Who's to say this did not happen? Believing is a choice, and if I were you, I would choose to believe this too. ❤️

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I have heard that children get visitations more easily because they are open and receptive, believing.  I also think you are right about because they weren't able to see each other before, they are on each other's minds.  I hope it brings both of you much comfort!  

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  • 1 month later...

I feel your pain and am very sorry for your loss. You will see him again. That’s a fact. Since my sister passed away on 11/04/2021, I’ve been watching a lot of videos on the afterlife. Prime and Netflix has wonderful documentaries about it. Just type in afterlife in either streaming apps and you’ll get them to come up. It strengthened my faith tremendously. Hope this helps. God bless!

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Jeff, you lost your sister last November?  I am so sorry for your loss!  I do believe that watching videos of things that are bigger than our comprehension such as outer space, different galaxies helps us expand our faith, it's comforting to me to know there is so much more out there beyond my ability to understand or explain, and helps me rest in the comfort and knowledge we're part of something bigger.

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12 hours ago, Jeff S. said:

I’ve been watching a lot of videos on the afterlife.

I have done this, too.  Anthony Chene does a lot of really, *really* well-done documentaries and interviews without being sensationalist, mawkish, cheesy or anything inappropriate.  Even the music is subtle and understated, no graphics or idiotic gimmicks.  He has a YouTube channel under his own name.  Even a young person could watch these interviews and not be exposed to anything inappropriate, as far as I have been able to determine.

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On 11/4/2021 my sister went to the gym after work. While she was there exercising with a group she had a aneurysm. The ambulance came and took her. At the hospital, they put her in an induced coma. She was also then put on life support due to no brain activity. I think she died that evening. She was put to rest a few days after. She was my only sibling and was 1 year older than me. Absolute shock to my family! It’s crazy how fragile life can be. I’ve been trying to keep busy with work and also seeing a therapist. Everybody is still in shock I think. Like I’m in some kind of dream and all I need to do is wake up from it. Just wanted to get a little bit off my chest. 

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I am so sorry, it IS hard to sink in.  I lost my oldest sister three years ago this month and we never stop missing them.  She was the glue that brought the rest of us together in common bond as she was quadriplegic with damaged vocal chords and we'd rally around her and take her out to eat and shopping once a month, giving her something to look forward to and showering her with attention.  I am glad she didn't have to go through this social isolation, unable to have these times together, but we would have brought in food and gifts and still tried to make her enjoy herself and feel cared about.  I haven't been able to see my sister Polly in 1 1/2 years now because of this.

4 hours ago, Jeff S. said:

It’s crazy how fragile life can be.

Yes, it is.  It's hard for this to all sink in where we can assimilate it into our lives.  I have learned to coexist with my grief, it's never far from me, always just beneath the surface, like something I carry.  Yes, I relate to the wanting to wake up from it...that's how I felt when my husband died all too young, unexpectedly.  :wub:

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have pictures of my brother all over the house. I stop and admire his pictures multiple times a day, and I still can’t wrap my head around the fact that he’s gone. It’s been just over two months and sometimes it feels like it was a lot longer and other times it feels like it was just yesterday. 

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On 3/9/2021 at 4:49 AM, Jeff S. said:

I’ve been watching a lot of videos on the afterlife. Prime and Netflix has wonderful documentaries about it

I’ve watched a couple documentaries and it gives me some comfort and strengthened my belief that I will see him again. 

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17 hours ago, pink said:

it does feel unreal, my sister died march of 2017, I still miss her so much and wish that she was her.

I am sorry for your loss.  I lost my sister too, a year later than you.  We always miss them.

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8 hours ago, jessesgirl said:

I have pictures of my brother all over the house. I stop and admire his pictures multiple times a day, and I still can’t wrap my head around the fact that he’s gone. It’s been just over two months and sometimes it feels like it was a lot longer and other times it feels like it was just yesterday. 

I do know what you mean, it's like grief does a time warp.  Wishing you comfort and peace...

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