Jump to content
Grief Healing Discussion Groups

My Brother,my Best Friend Stolen Away


Recommended Posts

February 23, 2008 at 2:50 am will forever be etched in my mind, and it seems that I cant get past that day. At that time on that day my mom called to tell me that my brother was murdered. Its now been 18 months and the pain that I felt at the time I recieved that phone call stays with me. No person should ever feel the grief of loosing a loved one, when that loved one is murdered that grief, is so hard to understand. We never got a chance to say goodbye,never got the chance to tell him I loved him one more time. I remember her telling me to go the hospital, as my other brother was hurt too,my dead brothers twin. I remember going with my other brother there were four of us kids me the oldest,then my other brother and then the twins. I remeber thinking how can we manage with just us three?? Going past the crime scene and my dead brother still out there, laying there, and I was begging them to cover him up, to get him a blanket that he will be so cold. As being the oldest sibling and the only girl, I always felt my job was to protect my brothers, and that night I failed him. A friend and I usually met up with my brothers when we went out, that night at the same time my brother was killed when she asked if I wanted to go meet them I told her no lets just go home, I was tired and didnt feel that great, that my stomach was in knots. The guilt I feel for not going kills me, I feel in some sense that maybe I could have prevented this, in my head I know I couldnt have stopped it but my heart tells me different. The time that followed was so hard, planning my brothers funeral, picking out his coffin, my parents needed my help, my mom was in denial. I felt and I still feel so much anger to those that did this, and to the justice department, because even though my brothers killers were caught days after we still havent gone to trial, and that is something our family desperatly needs in order to have some type of closure. For the past 18 months I have done things to try and forget, things that have now brought me to the point of having a breakdown. I have talked to counsellors they were more interested in hearing facts about the case that they cant hear because of a media ban,and I thought maybe talking on here can try and help me understand and to learn how to deal because I really cant.......

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Tash, I am so so sorry to hear of your loss, and I cannot imagine what it is to deal with the fact that your brother was murdered, let alone that you lost him at age 16, or even lost him at all.

Perhaps you could see a different Counsellor who is more interested in you than the details! Please check that the counsellor is a Bereavement Counsellor, as they are specially trained to help you.

You sound like a wonderful sister and daughter - so caring and supportive, yet I felt (reading between the lines) that perhaps you are or were pushing yourself quite hard. During the first few weeks, I think we all do that, because the adrenaline surges through our veins and our hearts beat so fast and hard in our chests (I thought I was going to have a heart attack and secretly wished that I would) ... but when the adrenaline leaves us we have to remember to be gentle and kind to OURSELVES. Grief is so tiring. More tiring than anything else that I have ever done or experienced. You are grieving as well. It's wonderful that you are supporting your parents and I think any one of us here in this Forum would do the same ... I'm not saying you should do less ... but I am saying to remember to take time for YOU to grieve too. Even if it is just one hour a day.

Know that whatever emotions you are feeling are normal (guilt and anger) - it's natural. Let it out, let the tears flow, be angry. After a while the guilt should dissipate because it certainly was NOT your fault. I really tortured myself with the guilt and it was awful ... but am now sailing on a calmer sea :-)

I really don't know, but would imagine that it must be hard to progress with your grief work whilst the murderers are still awaiting their punishment/sentence. I have pasted below a piece from NOVA which I think they should give to all bereaved people in hospitals instead of the list of Funeral Directors (that you can look up in the Yellow Pages in 5 seconds) that they currently give out here in the UK ... I cried when I initially read this because I seriously thought I was losing my sanity at the time, and this told me that everything I was doing and feeling was in fact a natural and what I now think of as a sane reaction to an insane event.

I have just found a few articles amongst Marty's wealth of articles and weblinks that you might like to read too:





Here is the NOVA article:

Stress and Trauma

Your Day-to-Day Life

Individuals exist in a normal state of "equilibrium" or balance. That emotional balance involves everyday stress, both positive and negative - like being late to work, getting a promotion, having a flat tire, getting ready for a date, or putting the children to bed.

Occasionally, stress will be severe enough to move an individual out of his or her normal state of equilibrium, and into a state of depression or anxiety, as examples.

But most people most of the time stay in a familiar range of equilibrium.

When Trauma Occurs

Trauma throws people so far out of their range of equilibrium that it is difficult for them to restore a sense of balance in life. Both "acute" and "chronic" trauma may be precipitated by stress:

1. Acute stress is usually caused by a sudden, arbitrary, often random event.

2. Chronic stress is one that occurs over and over again - each time pushing the individual

toward the edge of his state of equilibrium, or beyond.

Trauma can come from acute, unexpected stressors such as violent crime, natural disasters, accidents or acts of war. But it can also be caused by quite predictable stressors such as the chronic abuse of a child, spouse or elder.

The Crisis Reaction

The normal human response to trauma follows a similar pattern called the crisis reaction. It

occurs in all of us.

Physical Response

The physical response to trauma is based on our animal instincts. It includes:

1. Physical shock, disorientation, immobilization and numbness: "Frozen Fright."

2. "Fight-or-Flight" reaction (when the body begins to mobilize):

· Adrenaline begins to pump through the body: heart beat increases, perspiration starts, hyperventilation and hyper-alertness

· Increased sensory perception

3. Exhaustion: physical arousal associated with fight-or-flight cannot be prolonged

indefinitely. Eventually, it will result in exhaustion.

Emotional Reaction

Our emotional reactions are heightened by our physical responses.

1. Shock, disbelief, denial accompanies by regression

2. Cataclysm of emotions

· anger, rage or outrage

· fear, terror or horror

· confusion and frustration

· guilt or self-blame

· shame and humiliation

· grief and sorrow

3. Reconstruction of equilibrium - emotional roller-coaster that eventually becomes balanced,

but never goes back to what it was before the crisis - a new sense of equilibrium will be


Trauma and Loss

Trauma is accompanied by a multitude of losses:

1. Loss of control over one's life

2. Loss of faith in one's God or other people

3. Loss of a sense of fairness or justice

4. Loss of personally-significant property, self or loved ones

5. Loss of a sense of immortality and invulnerability

6. Loss of future

Because of the losses, trauma response involves grief and bereavement. One can grieve over

the loss of loved things as well as loved people.

Trauma and Regression

Trauma is often accompanied by regression - mentally and physically.

1. Individuals may do things that seem childish later. Examples include:

· Singing nursery rhymes

· Assuming a fetal position or crawling instead of walking

· Calling a law enforcement officer or other authority figure "mommy" or "daddy" – or at least thinking of them that way


2. Individuals may feel childish. Examples include:

· Feeling "little"

· Wanting "mommy" or "daddy" to come and take care of you

· Feeling "weak"

· Feeling like you did when you were a child and something went terribly wrong

Recovery from Immediate Trauma

Many people live through a trauma and are able to reconstruct their lives without outside

help. Most people find some type of benign outside intervention useful in dealing with


Recovery from immediate trauma is often affected by:

1. Severity of crisis reaction

2. Ability to understand what happened

3. Stability of victim's/survivor's equilibrium after event

4. Supportive environment

5. Validation of experience

Reconstruction issues for survivors include:

1. Getting control of the event in the victim's/survivor's mind

2. Working out an understanding of the event and, as needed, a redefinition of values

3. Re-establishing a new equilibrium/life

4. Re-establishing trust

5. Re-establishing a future

6. Re-establishing meaning

Long-Term Crisis Reactions

Not all victims/survivors suffer from long-term stress reactions. Many victims continue to re-experience crisis reactions over long periods of time. Such crisis reactions are normally in

response to "trigger events" that remind the victim of the trauma. "Trigger events" will vary

with different victims/survivors, but may include:

Sensing (seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, tasting) something similar to something

that one was acutely aware of during the trauma

"Remembrance dates" of the event

Holidays or significant "life events"

News reports about a similar event

When recounting one’s story (e.g. to a therapist, social worker or judge)

Long-term stress or crisis reactions may be made better or worse by the actions of others.

When such reactions are sensed to be negative (whether or not they were intentional), the

actions of others are called the "second assault" and the feelings are often described as a

"second injury." Sources of the second assault may include:

· the criminal or civil justice system

· the media

· family, friends, acquaintances

· health and mental health professionals

· social service workers

· clergy

The intensity of long-term stress reactions usually decreases over time, as does the frequency

of the re-experienced crisis. However, the effects of a catastrophic trauma cannot be "cured."

Even survivors of trauma who reconstruct new lives and who have achieved a degree of

normality and happiness in their lives - and who can honestly say they prefer the new,

"sadder-but-wiser" person they have become - will find that new life events will trigger the

memories and reactions to the trauma in the future.

Long-Term Traumatic Stress Reaction

When someone survives a catastrophe, they often experience stress reactions for years. Long-term stress reactions are natural responses of people who have survived a traumatic event. Long-term stress reactions are most often a result of imprinted sensory perceptions and

reactions in the brain and body. The most common types of long-term stress reactions


1. Re-experiencing the event both psychologically and with physiological reactivity.

Intrusive thoughts

Nightmares and distressing dreams


2. Numbing, avoidance, and isolation

avoidance of thoughts or activities that remind one of the event

avoidance of previous habits or pleasurable activities that the individual engaged in

before the event

estrangement and isolation

reduced affect or feelings of "emotional anesthesia"

partial amnesia

a sense of foreshortened future

3. Behavioral arousal

inability to concentrate

insomnia or interrupted sleep patterns

flashes of anger or irritability

startle reactions or hyper alertness

It is not important to know all the symptoms for the stress reactions mentioned above. If you

become concerned about your reactions or how long they last, it is useful to talk to a mental

health professional who is a specialist in working with people who have experienced

traumatic events.

© 2002 National Organization for Victim Assistance, Washington, D.C., USA.

Wishing you strength and peace


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dear Tash,

I am so sorry for your loss. We are here for you. We have felt this wrenching pain in our hearts that just really nails us. I hope that the sentence of those who murdered your brother will be soon, so that you and your family can get a little peace of mind in all the grief.

The guilt is a normal thing. Like you said, you know you couldn't really have stopped it, but you feel the guilt anyway. That is a demon that shows up now-and-again to haunt us in our grief. I think it is one of the most terrible aspects of grief. It hurts so much.

I think it is very admirable, and brave of you, to be taking care of your mother like that, and being the eldest, I am sure your siblings now take shelter in you in their grief. But please, be sure to take some time for yourself, too. That is important.

As for the counselor...! That makes me angry, to hear of the insensitivity of people. I am sorry you had to go through having such a counselor. They are not doing their job properly! I think you should go with Boo's suggestion and try to get a bereavement counselor; if not that, at least someone else, who will hopefully be more sensitive.

(((((Hugs))))) to you,

take care,


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Tash, dear,

I too am so very sorry to learn of the brutal murder of your beloved brother. Your experience reminds me so much of something I heard recently on National Public Radio.

In this fascinating and moving interview, author and poet Kathleen Sheeder Bonnano vividly describes how she expressed her grief through poetry following the brutal murder of her daughter at the hands of a boyfriend in 2003. Many topics are covered, including the effects of traumatic loss on one's view of the world; what to say (and what not to say) to the bereaved; frustrations she endured in dealing with the media, the police and the criminal justice system; coping with and working through her own need for revenge and retribution; and ultimately finding her way through the most devastating of losses, toward transformation, transcendence, and hope. Sprinkled throughout the interview are opportunities to hear Kathleen reading some of her amazing poems.

If you'd like to listen to the program, you can do so here: Slamming Open the Door

You might also find this book helpful and informative: No Time For Goodbyes: Coping with Sorrow, Anger, and Injustice After a Tragic Death, by Janice Harris Lord. Just click on the title and you can read Amazon's description and reviews.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Boo, Thank you for your kind words, it has been extremly hard, just something I need to clear up, as I am not sure where it came from but I was not 16, I was 34 at the time it happened a year and half ago, my brother at the time was 26. In the province I am in we do not have counsellors that are knowledgeable even the bereavement counsellors to help with murder victims. It is a very hard process and unfortunalty our justice system in Canada benefits only the accused. Thanks you again for your words and strength as I still am struggling to find away to deal with my grief.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Marty, Thank you for your reply, and words I listened to the program that you had recommended, it was quite good. The way my brother died is very hard to deal with and on top of that there is so much frustration with the police,media and prosecuters. Thank you for the advice...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Chai, Thank you, it is good to know that there is a place to go too where we are able to vent, and to grieve as well as to be able to share our experiences. I have always been the carrier of my family and although that is a good thing at a time like this it is also very difficult as well, sometimes you need someone there for you as well.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Tash, apologies, I have NO idea where I got the age from either ... my mind does not focus as clearly as it once did. Sorry.

Boo, Thank you for your kind words, it has been extremly hard, just something I need to clear up, as I am not sure where it came from but I was not 16, I was 34 at the time it happened a year and half ago, my brother at the time was 26. In the province I am in we do not have counsellors that are knowledgeable even the bereavement counsellors to help with murder victims. It is a very hard process and unfortunalty our justice system in Canada benefits only the accused. Thanks you again for your words and strength as I still am struggling to find away to deal with my grief.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...