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I Lost My Younger Brother


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My younger Nathan passed away May 25, 2007 at the age of 18. He slipped into a coma on May 22, 2007 (the last day of his senior) and he died May 25, 2007 (his graduation day).I am 22 years old and having a hard time with his loss. We live in Rolla, MO.

On the last day of school he has gone over to a friend's house with his girlfriend and rode back with his girlfriend on the bike handle's. He came into the house and asked my dad to get some of his pain pills (my little brother's prescription pain pills) and told my dad to wake him up when dinner was ready. We knew that my little brother was hurting really bad by the look in his eyes. My little brother was not one to admit to pain. He was a healthy young man. He took weight lifting, lifetime sports, and autobody for his senior year. He was training with a marine recruiter (my little brother was the only one able to keep up with the marine recruiter, out of eight guys; they ran 5 miles stopping every quarter mile to do exercises). All he had to do was lose 25 pounds to be able to join the marines. My little brother was mainly muscle. When we went to wake him up we noticed that he would exhale and not breathe back in for 14 seconds. We just thought that he was congested up so we took turns sitting with him; we would count to 14 seconds then jar him to get him to breathe. This was about 6pm, and we couldn't get him to wake up no matter how hard we jarred him. Finally about midnight we couldn't get him to breathe so we called for ambulance, they took him to the hospital when we got there they were working on him and told us that they had to restart his heart a couple of times on the way to the hospital which is about 5 minutes away. About 1 in the morning the hospital tells us that they have to send him to Springfield, MO by helicopter. When we got to Springfield (we had to drive 2 hours) they told us that he might be brain dead, and that they had to restarted his heart several times. Finally he was admitted to the ICU. They had a respirator breathing for him. We sat with him as long as we were allowed. They told that they were going to do brain function tests a couple of times a day. The first one showed that he had brain function, the second one showed that his brain function had decreased some and that his brain was swelling. About that time the nurses started hounding my family about Organ Donation. I remember I got so angry because he was not dead and thinking that he could still recover, that miracles happen everyday. On Friday morning May 25 about 10 am the doctor had my family gather together and told all of us that my little brother was declared legally brain dead at 9:19 am and then told us that if we didn't do organ donation that his brain would swell and push down his spinal cord causing a massive heart attack. The nurses showed us where Nathan had signed up for organ donation at the national register in November. He never told us. After he was declared brain dead and organ donation was to be done it seemed like the nurses and doctors were doing more to keep his organs good then before he was declared brain dead. The head of the organ donor program asked my family to come into a little room, he had a piece of paper and started asking us which organs to use, could they use his tissues, his eyes, his bones and I remember thinking the doctors just told us that Nathan was gone and here these vultures were wanting to take pieces of him. One of the things I still can't wrap my mind around is that after he was declared brain dead I was sitting at his bedside and it looked like he was breathing and he felt warm to the touch. I know that it was because of the machines but it still looked like he was just sleeping.

About 8 weeks later my great-grandma died, and she told the nurse that morning that she was "going to die today". She died July 8, her visitation was July 9, and her funeral July 10. At the meal after the funeral, that her church had provided. My mom broke down crying because she smelt the chicken (My little brother's three favorite food were Pizza, Chicken and Cheese), so she ended up having to go out into the hallway to calm down. I sitting right across the table from my step-grandmother, she asked me why my mom went into the hallway and I told her. She looked me right in the eye and said "she'll just have to get used to it." Here she was telling me that 10 weeks after my brother passed and yet she still expects everybody to pity her and what not about her father who had died 7 years earlier.

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Nathan's Sister,

I am so sorry about your brother.Although our loss is different,(I lost my mom), the pain and sadness is the same horrible feeling. I am glad you found this site, it's helped me so much. Keep posting here and take care of yourself. Your brother sounds like he was a strong, determined young man. I am sure your family is proud of him. You and your family are in my thoughts.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Dear Sister,

I'm so sorry. Mourning the death of your sibling is difficult enough, but you were faced with the death of your great-grandmother barely two months later, and so it’s not surprising that now you find yourself in a state of “grief overload.” You don’t say what you’ve been doing with your grief since each of these deaths happened, but since you say “Some days I feel like I’m going crazy,” I would suspect that you haven’t yet taken whatever time you need to process each of these major losses in your life.

If you’ve done any reading in any of the forums on this site, you will find us saying over and over again that, even though it certainly can make you feel pretty "crazy" at times, grief is a normal response to the death of someone dearly loved. It is not a single event that happens quickly and then it’s over with. It is a process that takes place over time, and to move through it successfully requires that you do the work of mourning, so that your grief can be felt, outwardly expressed, and understood. When you've had two significant losses, one right after the other like yours, it can be very difficult to do the work of mourning, because as you've observed, it's so hard to sort out which loss you're dealing with and responding to at any given time. It helps enormously both to read about how others experience grief and to share with others who are mourning losses similar to your own, because it makes you feel less “crazy” and alone, and it gives you hope that if others can find their way through their own grief journeys, then somehow you will find your own way through yours, too. You can do this sort of sharing in a forum such as this one and/ or in an “in person” grief support group. Because you've been hit with two significant losses so close together, it can also help to talk face-to-face with a grief counselor, just to get another perspective and some help in sorting out your reactions. It also helps to read articles and books about grief, because doing so normalizes your responses, gives you an idea of what to expect in the weeks and months ahead, and offers practical suggestions for anticipating and managing your reactions. A good place to start is on the pages of my Grief Healing Web site, where you will find a wealth of information, and links to dozens of other helpful resources. See, for example,

Common Myths and Misconceptions about Grief

Understanding the Grief Process

Managing Your Grief

Death of a Sibling or Twin

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I had a bad night tonight. I ran into a friend's mother at Wal-Mart. After I told her to have my friend Chrissy call me, she asked me how I was doing and I told her that my brother had passed away. You won't believe what she did after I told her that. She laughed. I couldn't believe it I just told her that my brother died and she had the nerve to laugh. I knew that my friend had told me her mom has cold-hearted but I didn't believe she would be that cold-hearted.

My family has received copies of my brother's medical records from the hospital stay when he died. I don't know whether to read the records or not.

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Nathan's Sister,

It is hard to believe at times how cruel and cold hearted some people can be. I for one do not understand how people can go through life that way because you cannot have true joy being so mean. I am truly sorry you had to experience that, but let it go because it is not worth even thinking about it. As for your brother's medical records. It is your choice whether or not you read them. If you do decide to read them to get answers, please make sure you are ready. Pray and ask God if you should read them and then trust that feeling you get deep inside. You are in my thoughts and prayers!

Hugs & prayers,

Corinne

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Dear Nathan's Sister,

I am so sorry that you had such a terrible experience with this individual at Wal-Mart. When someone we love dies we are left feeling raw and vulnerable. A response such as the one you received is shocking. We have no control over another individuals thoughts or ways of communicating those thoughts. This realization is shocking too! So - what we can do as individuals is take care of ourselves and honor those you loved by doing the work of grief.

I wish there was a clear road map for this process, but there is not. What you are doing by writing your thoughts and experiences is one way that many have found helpful.

Those on this website will be a great source of support to you as you find your way through this difficult time.

Keep writing and talking about how you feel.

Peace and blessings to you.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Sometimes I am not sure if I am losing my mind or what. I think I may be losing my will to live. I have relatives telling me what, how to feel, and expect me to be over losing my brother in the four months that he as been gone. I had my brother in my life for 18 out of 22 years so I don't remember a time of not having him in life. I can't just get over losing him in four months. Sometimes I think that if I hurt myself physical I can stopping hurting emotional.

On September 26, I went to the Chapel that is in the hospital where my brother passed away at. I remember sitting in that chapel and i didn't realized just how angry at God I was until I was inside that chapel. I broke down crying there because I remember very vividly that week we spend there waiting for my brother to get better. I had never prayed so hard in my life than I had that week.

My grandfather has made me really angry at him. My great-grandmother died 8 weeks after my little brother. My grandfather sold all of my great-grandmother's stuff (that he hadn't already sold when he moved her to a nursing), he sold stuff that my great-grandmother had promised to my dad and my aunt. But he gave a bunch of stuff to his step-children (they are in the 40s).

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Dear Nathan's sister,

I am very sorry for your loss. I want to reach out and give u a hug and comfort u. I am also on my 4 months, and we almost have the same story.

I have gone through lots of emotions..pain, anger, sadness, but numbness sustained me through the past months.

I wish i can say that it will get better as day passes by, but in my case, the pain lingers on. I will keep u and your family in my prayers, and i wish someday we will be able to find peace.

Please continue to express how u feel, it will help a lot. Being on this site keeps me going, and gives me comfort in my darkest hours.

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

I really don't like how this year is going for my family. We have lost 16 family members this year. My mom has been trying to get in contact with my grandfather since August to let him know that he was a great-grandfather, she finally got a hold of him and he tells her that his mother passed away 2 months ago and that he tried calling once to tell her but someone answered the phone telling him that she was asleep.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Nathan's Sister,

I am sorry that it is 6 months today that you lost your brother. It is actually 7 months today that they found John. It is very hard but we can get through this. They will always be with us in our hearts and memories. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers today.

Hugs & prayers, :wub:

Corinne

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I am dreading this Christmas. I know that it will be hard. Christmas will mark the 7th month anniversary of my brother's death, the first Christmas without my brother and the first with my niece.

I hated Thanksgiving because everybody acted like they had forgotten my brother or that he never existed. Besides my mom, dad, great-grandma, and me all my other relatives acted like they didn't care.

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Hi Nathan's Sister

I just came upon this....it must be hard to be going through this. My heart feels for you. I am a grandmother with 3 children and 2 grandchildren and love them dearly. I lost my husband a bit ago. People act differently when this kind of thing happens. I hope you know they all care about your brother...maybe your feelings are so much more pronounced to you than theirs are, but I bet they just love him so much, too. You know 7 months is not a long time and missing him will go on for a long while and you'll always have such good memories as you go forward. I'm so sorry, it's got to be so hard. Hang in there....you'll feel better after a while. Do your best to enjoy the holidays even if it's bitter sweet. You sound like a beautiful young, caring girl....stay that way.

Your friend, Karen :wub::wub:

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  • 3 weeks later...

I am so angry at my cousin Kendra who organized the benefit for my brother. She posted a blog on myspace basically saying that my family didn't know my brother, didn't care about him and only act like we give a damn after he passed away. Kendra wasn't around my brother but at thanksgiving, christmas, and a few other holidays for about an hour; and my brother didn't like her at all he was just polite to her. She accused my family of being greedy and draining my disabled grandmother (she is disabled because of her back). Kendra is also mad at my mother because she didn't attend the benefit because it was too soon and too difficult for my mother to be there.

My sister and Kendra have never gotten along. In the blog my cousin calls my sister "that whale of a cousin of mine" who steals anything she gets her fat fingers on; What you have to understand is that my sister is bipolar - manic depressive and yes my sister did steal money from my parents and stole Kendra's Christmas gift last year but my sister has since been treated for her bipolar, has repaid my parents and returned Kendra's gift. In her blog Kendra calls me "a spineless dip**** that follows in her mother's shadow" and how the family doesn't expect me to be better than my mother. My mother has taught me and my siblings to be open-minded and non-judgmental. My mother and I have the same taste in different stuff, and my mother has never tolerated my cousin's bull****.

What started the blog (kinda of) was me texting Kendra to find out which of four camera brands was the best (because Kendra is suppose to be a professional photographer) and in her blog she also put "oh Miss Photography Major get a real camera and some real talent." I would love to correct her on that point because I am not a photography major but a Graphic Design Major. I also feel like telling her that any moron can point a camera and click, where as a graphic designer designs their own ideas.

A friend of mine pointed out that my cousin is used to being spoiled by our grandmother, her grandfather (she's my half-cousin), her mother, and her ex-stepfather (the 1st one) and (1st one)ex-step-grandmother, and is also used to being the center of attention and since my brother passed away my grandmother has been paying more attention to my dad and the rest of us, plus she isn't getting any money from my grandmother to spend as she wishes while my grandmother is helping my family out (out of her own free will) while her mother is taking care of her two half-brothers, who one is having medical problems and the other she is in a nasty custody battle over) her grandfather passed away in 1998, her step-father (the 1st one passed away in 2002)

(there is a another story involved in that my dad's has been unemployed since December 15 of last year, my grandmother had to help us make a down payment on my brother's funeral and my brother's life insurance policy has to go through insurance so the money was needed.)

I AM ALSO TIRED OF PEOPLE TELLING ME HOW I AM FEELING WHEN THEY DON'T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT HOW I AM FEELING, KENDRA HAS NEVER LOST A BROTHER SO SHE HAS NO IDEA WHAT IT IS LIKE TO LOSE MY BROTHER. I ALSO FEEL THAT SHE SHOULD SHUT HER MOUTH UNTIL HER OPINION IS ASKED FOR.

I am dreading Christmas because it will be exactly 7 months since my brother has passed, it will also be the first without my great-grandmother and great-aunt who passed away December 28. The only really good part about Christmas is that it will be my niece's first Christmas which is also tough. I feel like I could go to sleep now and not wake up until mid-January.

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What works for me in the past is to stay away from people who are insensitive. Maybe, the best way for you to deal with your cousin is to ignore her. Dont step down on her level of thinking. You know yourself and your family too well. Dont even try to open and read any of her website or blogs, you already know what kind of character she has.

You are a special person who loves your brother so much. I pray that things will get better with you.

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  • 2 weeks later...

My family (my parents,my brother, my sister, my future sister-in-law, myself, and my niece) didn't go to the family Christmas gather because of my cousin Kendra. My grandmother told us that the entire family laid in to Kendra and told her to keep her mouth shut, and told us that everything is now settled. All I can say is We'll see.

Christmas was hard because of it being the 7 month anniversary since my brother passed, the first with my niece. New Year's was pretty much the same.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Friday will be 8 months since my brother passed and My birthday is coming up in 2 weeks (Feb 5) and all I know is that I don't want to go through it. If it is possible I would like to sleep through my birthday.

I miss my brother so much that it hurts. It seems like since he passed the laughter in my life has gone away with him.

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Dear Nathan's Sister,

Your grief feels and sounds so familiar. My 20-year old daughter is having a tough time with the loss of her brother as well. Robert, 18, was killed in a car crash December 22nd, right before Christmas. Lauryn says and feels the exact same things you say and feel. She only lived two years before her brother was born so her whole life was spent having a brother. Now she doesn't have him with her and she is so lost. She has an older sister but they are not as close as she was with her little brother.

I'm not sure if it would help to share your grief with someone who is going through exactly what you're going through but it might. Perhaps you can e-mail each other and share stories of the amazing brothers you lost. Let me know how you feel about this. I will talk to her as well. I know sharing my loss with other mothers helps me feel I am not alone. It doesn't make me happy or forget my son but it does make me feel less alone. If you both agree I will pass her e-mail address along to you.

Try and have one peaceful moment today.

Robert Owen Davis Jr.

11-21-89 to 12-22-07

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I have gotten so tired of people judging me that I posted the following blog on my myspace page and I didn't name names:

I am tired of people telling me that I am not grieving for my brother, or that I don't care about Nathan. What people don't know is that I don't like to break down in front of other people, whether it is family, friends, or strangers. Another thing that people don't realize is that instead of breaking down in front of family and friends, I go to the bathroom, close the door, hold a towel to my mouth and break down crying and screaming. I do this so that other family members don't break down crying.I am a private person when it comes to my emotions. What other people also don't realize is that family members and myself have dreams were my brother is alive and as the dream progresses he dies all over again.

During the week that Nathan was in the hospital, I sat beside his bed as long as I was allowed. I begged Nathan to wake up, I held his hand, I prayed like I never prayed before, I made promises to God to let Nathan wake up and live. When the doctors told my family that Nathan was brain dead and would never recover I wanted to die with him.

One thing that I wish people would understand is that I was about 3 years old when Nathan was born, so I don't remember a time where Nathan wasn't in my life and it hurts not having Nathan in my life. I am sick and tired of being judged by people about my grief over losing Nathan when most of the people judging weren't at the hospital at all during the week Nathan was there, didn't act like THEY cared about Nathan, or didn't even bother to attend his funeral.

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  • 5 weeks later...

Looking at the calendar I saw something that scared the heck out of me. I realized that in about 3 months it will be a year since brother passed away. I can't believe it has been that long since my brother passed. It doesn't seem like it has been that long. One of my biggest fears is forgetting my brother or forgetting what he looks like.

One thing that breaks my heart is knowing that niece will never know my brother except through photos and other people's stories of him.

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