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I have been absent from this forum for a while. After the first terrible year without my brother I kind of took a break from my grief work. Just recently I realized that I have been avoiding really feeling the sadness around my loss and I don't think that's very healthy.

Thanksgiving this year was terribly difficult for me. I hate thinking of my family getting together for holidays without my brother John. For the past month I feel the loss as though it is fresh again, getting tears in my eyes just thinking of my nephew being without his Dad for Christmas and my Mom being without her son.

I still hate hate hate hate that this happened to my brother, to me, to my family -

My brother died from a prescription medication overdose. I don't think he had any idea that he would die from his addictions.

I get so angry thinking about our childhood and the pain my brother was trying to avoid.

I guess I want advice about how to "work" on my grief....is it just letting the tears come? is it talking about John more?

Is there any such thing as "healing" from a loss like this??????

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Some things that help me are: taking one day at a time, journaling my feelings, reading lots of books and articles and educating myself on grief, writing letters to Bill (my husband who died last year), sharing my pain with people who really care and listen and do not judge (hard to find those), balancing alone time with time with friends, this forum, grief support group.....and my individual work with a grief therapist.

I think we grieve a big loss forever BUT it gets easier. We learn how to live with our loss and sort of get used to its presence in our lives. I think that your brother's death has the added tragedy that it was an overdose...that is an additional layer of pain.

I am so sorry for your loss and pain. You are in the right place. People here will help you.

Mary mfh

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I'm glad to see you posting again. Like you, I left this site for months, but then realized I still had grief issues that needed work.

I have found some good ways to work on my grief; maybe what I do will give you some ideas. At about the six month mark, I photocopied all my Mother's kitchen recipes and put together a cook book. Now all my family and relatives have my Mom's recipes. It wasn't a big project, just a couple weeks, but it sure felt good having completed the book. It's part of preserving my Mom's legacy. I rant a lot about legacy; I think it's important. Then at the one year mark I inherited my family's photo collections. So I bought a scanner, and started digitizing some of the family photos. A relative prompted me to do a photo history of our family going back a hundred years. Over 400 photos went into that project. And recently, I've been scanning photos of my Mother, mostly from her childhood and years before she married my father. I email the photos to other family; this helps us keep in touch.

OK, here is what I really like about my grief work. It's a structured activity; I just sit down at my computer, find photos of my Mom, and then clean up the photos with Photoshop software. I really don't have to think or plan much; I just do the work. And some of the photos make me cry; this helps me connect with my grief. Something else started to happen when I was working on the cook book and family photos. My memory opened up, and I started to recall all kinds of things about my Mom. Memories and feelings would flood into my mind, not just while I worked, but throughout each day and even when I dreamed. Sometimes the memories were slightly painful, other times I was just bewildered by my recollections. Felt like I was reliving things; I'd connect with moods and feelings of many years past. This memory flooding is part of the healing process, at least that's what I think.

But your grief, Missyme, is substantially more difficult than my own. There is real tragedy in the loss of your brother at such young age. It'll probably be harder for you to face photos and memorabilia from your brother, than it is for me to look at my Mother's stuff. But facing the pain is what we need to do, if only in little doses. If you can look at photos of your brother, or talk about your brother's life, that's a good start. Crying, when you feel so inclined, definitely helps. You could also go in for counseling if you really want to tackle your grief more forcefully. But I think the basic goal is to stay actively engaged with the memory of your brother. Otherwise we can become inclined to ditch and bury painful memory. By doing the grief work we address the trauma, our thoughts and feelings evolve, and we set up good conditions for healing to begin. It's not like trauma just kills us dead psychologically; we can face it and gradually work through it.

Hoping that your kids and your Mom are in good health,

Ron B.

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