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It's been a year and a half, and I'm really no closer to accepting my loss. Mark was 3 years older than I, but we were not close. He was the black sheep and I the white. He was the lost child, and I the future of the family name. He was not married and had no children of his own. I have 2.5 children and a mortgage. He is now dead and the guilt is more than I can bare. 

I cannot allow him to be forgotten, it's the very least I can do...but I don't know how. It was his shoulders I stood on that let me reach so high. He sacrificed himself for me, so that I could survive. No, so I could thrive. His final years must have been lonely...and hard. Rarely a job, living at home with mom, no future, no savings, no prospects. All the while his little bro getting married, having kids, good jobs, good cars, dogs, Christmas dinners.

How do I honor him? How do I grieve and live a life worthy of what he did. Don't tell me all grief is different. Don't tell me to go easy on myself. Tell me how to honor him. Tell me how to live.

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Maybe you should frame pictures of you&your brother and hang them in your house. Start writing a dairy about the things he did for you,how much he meant to you and important stuff like that. Tell your kids about your brother, tell them about the sacrifice he made for you. Celebrate his birthday or day that was important for him. Ask your mom to tell you some joyful moments from your childhood.

I don't know but I think this might help.

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Yes mom's angel is right. I spent less time with my brother in his last year. I feel so guilty about it. 

I got his pictures framed right after he went away. I love looking at his smiling face when I am missing him.

I don't know if this is the answer you are looking for but you should remember him as much as you can. Let your children know about your childhood days.

Help the needy if you can. Make donations on his birthdays or anniversaries. The blessings will reach him. I mean this is what we are planning. It has been only 3 months since I lost my brother and there is no way on earth I will accept his loss.

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Hi jmo,

I am sorry for your loss. Having lost three of my siblings what I can tell you is what I do each day. Two of my siblings were younger by four and five years. Both died too early in their lives. One to a cancer that spread throughout her body and one who died from a traumatic brain injury caused by an accident from a fall when he was in the Navy. My older sister died after being diagnosed with small cell carcinoma in her lungs. The doctors thought she had pneumonia and treated her for that for over a month. When she did go in for x-rays the cancer was found and she lived only a few weeks ~ not enough for those of us far from her home in South Dakota to see her. We said good-by over the phone and on Skype.  We were very close. I love her. She knew that I was taking care of my husband and could not get away that quickly. He suffered from Alzheimer’s disease and my leaving him was not recommended since he was being cared for at home and he was already in the late stages of the disease. It was in the dead of winter and SD was having the worst blizzard in decades. Her advice to me was to live life as best I could, take care of my family and always be kind to others.

I tell my story because you asked how you could honor your brother. I think you continue to live your life as you have been. Take care of your family and be kind to those you come in contact with throughout your day. Mention his name often and share stories to your children. Others will not forget your brother because you will not forget him.

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I just picked one picture of my brother to frame. When I look at it, i imagine what he would say to me to comfort me and what he would want me to do. I imagine him telling me that I can't turn back the past but I can take what I have learned and use it from this point forward.

I try to live up to at least some of his ideals.

Like you, I was the younger one and I think that brings a special guilt because we were always oblivious to what our older siblings did for us when we were younger and sometimes when we were older too. And I am very conscious that I was always a thorn in my brother's side. So, that, combined with my ungratefulness still dogs me.  I would do anything now to bring him back and tell him I do appreciate his love and protectiveness toward me.  And that I am sorry I didn't understand it at the time. I can just hear him saying now, "How could you understand? I didn't really understand it myself at the time either."  I know for sure he would want me to live as full a life as possible. Sometimes I think the biggest betrayal would be to throw my life down the drain now that I know what I know.

Another thing I say to myself for comfort is to remind myself that he did and said a lot of thing he regretted, too. So. we were both just being oblivious to a lot of things. I guess the difference is that I had a chance to learn from his death (just as he would have, if I had died first) and so I have a responsibility to him to use that learning while I am alive.

Reading these sibling posts, i notice that we all have different relationships with our siblings and would grieve hard no matter what it was. if you were very close to them, saw them daily and were best friends, of course you miss your best friend. But if you weren't close, there is a huge burden with that. too, because you have extra regrets and guilt over the relationship. Obviously, one isn't worse than the other, but its just a commentary on our diversity and the fact that we all have strong reasons to grieve.

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jmo,

I'm very sorry for your loss.  Is there something he loved, enjoyed, did he have a passion for anything?  If so, support that.  If not, try to live your life to the fullest to honor him.  Strive a little harder, a little further, for him.  

I don't know why you feel guilt, is it something specific or is it survivor's guilt?  Had things gone worse for you, it would not have helped him or furthered him.  My son felt survivor's guilt when he was in the Air Force because they stationed him in WA while so many went overseas and were killed or maimed...but had that been his end, it would not have helped or brought any of them back.  Life is so unfair and it can be hard to accept.

When my husband died, I set up a shrine in my bedroom, commemorating him.  I spent 17 hours straight copying pictures, etc. to make a collage...his life before me,his life during our courtship, our life together.  It's been over ten years and I still have it, I still have his dish he dropped his trinkets and keys in every night, I still have his hat on the hook, pictures of him on the wall.  I haven't kept everything, but I have kept enough that he's still with me, and always he's with me in my mind, not a day goes by but what I think of him and miss him.

You say your brother was the black sheep of the family, yet I bet he had some really good qualities too, even if he didn't live to please others' expectations.  

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I've heard it said the for someone to win, someone else has to lose. This is what I mean by black sheep. The one that's cursed to lose. Bad luck just seems to follow some people. My guilt is survivors guilt, yes, but it's also more. It's winner's guilt. 

I love all your responses, they are so very kind. It's nice to say something to someone who isn't obliged to listen, and still get an audience.

The world killed my brother and somehow I'm expected to keep my head up, stay positive and contribute.

The Obliterated Place was a good read, thank you.

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It's hard to keep your head up and stay positive and contribute when your world is knocked for a loop, ask any of us.

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JMO, thank you for posting. Every time someone joins us, I learn a lot and i think the rest of us do, too. I'm further along my grief journey that some people here but still I come here to learn and sometimes to cry.  One thing I can say for sure is that it takes a long time and a lot of thinking to deal with your feelings of sadness, guilt and anything else you feel. But its really worth it to keep at it, keep learning and sharing, and you always are welcome here.  I have learned that sometimes its best to  just feeling the feelings (ie. let myself cry or feel the depth of all the negative feelings). Sometimes its best to forget those feelings and distract myself with other things.  Sometimes, it means writing, reflecting and thinking about my feelings so I can find ways to channel them.  Only you will be able to work out your own rhythms over time (and it can take a long time), but do not under any circumstances try to be positive all the time!

 

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Hello .. new and I hope I’m doing this right.  I lost my younger brother 2 months ago.  Why was I so mean to him for the few months before he died unexpectedly .  ?? All our years ( we r both seniors ) I was loving and supportive except towards the end ..guilt regrets about mean things i said ...I was under a lot of stress ... I think he woukd forgive me .  I miss him so much and getting depressed

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@Susan5  I'm so sorry you lost your brother.  Kids do bicker when they're growing up, not sure why, fighting for their placement maybe, finding their own identity, who knows.  Seeing my own kids' closeness, I know there's something deeper, a bond, and I'm sure you're feeling it too.  I'm sorry for his unexpected death and the grief it's left you with.  Be kind to yourself, we need to be our own best friend when we're in grief.

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