For Jonny, and all our darling departed sisters and brothers..."the ir diminished size is in us, not in them".

(999 Posts)
evansmummy Wed 05-Nov-08 16:44:55

I have remarked over the last few months that there are a number of us on this forum who are living through the death of our brothers and sisters. I would even go so far as to say I never even imagined there could be so many!

I have also noticed that the thread for bereaved mummies is the most amazing place of support, a great place to go and say how you feel without being judged, and knowing that others are going through something similar. And of course a place to go and get a good old MN hug.

So I wondered if those of you who have lost siblings would like to join me in making a place where we can say how we are feeling and to be here for each other, and even to gripe and moan! If you are interested, just let us know a bit about your sibling and a bit about your grief journey if you like. I'll start!

My youngest brother Jonny died a little over five months ago as a result of head injuries sustained during a hit and run accident. My family spent a week in intensive care with him in a coma before he died of heart failure on Fri 30th May 2008. Horrible, just horrible.

I feel down most of the time. But will admit to the strangest mood swings, from very depressed to almost hyper-excited. I still drink and smoke a lot, but less than right at the beginning. Suffice to say that things are not getting easier or better. Maybe even the opposite. I'm dreading Christmas, Jonny's birthday, and then the inquest and court case. I hate it all so much and wish often that it would just all go away. I still can't believe I'm writing this tuff about my own brother.

It's hard to quickly put into a short paragraph the pain and turmoil of the last five months. But I'm sure if this thread works out we'll have plenty of time to go into more detail.

Over to you...

Love Me xx

cyteen Wed 05-Nov-08 16:52:44

Hi EM Great idea, albeit one I wish we didn't need

My older brother Simon died of cancer last year, in April, aged 34. He was happily married and had everything to live for. He was my only sibling and we adored each other. My family has been through a lot of bad times already, particularly my mum's suicide when Si and I were teenagers, so to lose him to such a ridiculously rare disease is an unbearable kick in the teeth. I still can't really believe it, tbh. I don't think I'll ever come to terms with it; in fact I don't want to. Part of me wants to preserve the hurt and the anger I feel at how someone so wonderful could be made to suffer like that.

And of course there is no focus for my anger, because he died by a freak of biology, not by human intervention. But then I doubt having that focus would make things 'better' - what happened to your brother sounds utterly unbearable and I so hope that some kind of justice can be served, however short it will fall of making things right.

Anyway, I will post the eulogy I gave for him if you don't mind - it says a lot of things I would want people to know about Si, and I am proud of myself that I could do that last thing for him when no one else could.

cyteen Wed 05-Nov-08 16:56:07

My eulogy:

I don’t have to tell you what kind of man Simon was. The fact that you are here means that you knew him, and if you knew him, then you loved him. So I thought I would tell you a bit about what he was like as a brother, because no one knows that but me.

Simon was the constant star in my world. Of course I loved all of my family, but Simon was the one I looked to for friendship, equality, allegiance and of course fun. My grandma has often told us about when Mum brought me home from the hospital as a newborn; Simon was apparently so proud to have a sister, he wouldn’t let anyone else hold me. He always involved me in everything he did, and I was well into my teens before I realised that not all little sisters are this lucky.

As kids we played together around the flat where we grew up: launching fleets of paper planes out of the bedroom window and then leaving them to go soggy in the rain; making toy crossbows and catapults out of odds and ends of wood so that we could play wargames; spending one particularly hot and idle day boring holes in the wall of our block of flats, which our parents were not too happy about! On rainy days we would paint, draw, play with his vast collection of Star Wars figures, or make silly recordings of ourselves to laugh over later.

As we got older, Simon of course got more interested in music, girls and parties, but he never shut me out. I was the annoying 12 year old hanging around his oh-so-grown-up 15 year old friends. Once I hit the teenage years, I would spend long hours sitting in his room after our folks had gone to bed, as he excitedly introduced me to whatever new music he’d lately discovered. Connecting with each other through music remained a key part of our relationship.

Our mum’s sudden death hit everyone hard; I was 14 and wounded, but Simon was 18, almost a man, and I sometimes think he put his own grief aside to be strong for me. He shielded me from his anger and pain, to allow my own feelings a clear space. That was typical of him – always more concerned for the feelings of those he loved, than his own. I hope he knew that in those endless late nights spent sharing our dreams, our days and our interests, he saved me from despair and helped me back towards a happy future.

Simon was a dreamer, a talented musician, an intelligent and perceptive thinker, and a gentle, loving soul. This you all know. The things he wanted most in life were things of the soul: a happy life, in a place he could call home, a circle of genuine, loyal friends with whom he could share his passions – music, football and really silly jokes. Most of all, he wanted someone he could love and who would love him for who he was. He looked for these things for many years, sometimes getting his heart broken in the process, but ultimately he found his place and with it, fulfilment.

I’ll never forget the day I realised that this had happened. It was a little while after he and N had started seeing each other. Simon always liked girls with dark hair and pale skin, and in the past had expressed casual admiration for a friend of mine who fit the bill. This friend had just become single again, and I was teasing him about it, saying “By the way, so-and-so is on the market again”. Ordinarily Simon would join in the spirit of things, but this time he looked at me very seriously and quietly said “That’s great for her, but I don’t need to know - I’ve got N”. That was when I knew that he had found everything he’d ever wanted. The love they shared illuminated us all, and I am so grateful for that.

I know that I will never get over losing Simon. The pain will never go away. But I hope that I will be able to make a place for it alongside all the strong and positive aspects of life, and I would not be able to do this if I had never known the love, courage and strength he gave to me. He is my hero, and I am very proud to be his sister.

evansmummy Wed 05-Nov-08 19:33:47

cyteen, thanks so much for posting that. What heartfelt words... I bet your brother was as proud of you as you obviously are of him. Strangely, I can see a lot of my brother in the things you wrote - about him being sensitive, a thinker, a gentle person who knew at the same time how to have a laugh. It's amazing what a picture I can build of your brother just by reading your eulogy - you were obviously very close. And you should be very proud of yourself for reading - did you find it hard? I did a reading at my brother's funeral and it's such a blur. I made a point of not looking at anyone while I was reading because I was so frightened of all the multitudes of people that were there, and I got through it. We all did. Both my brother and dad read eulogies, perhaps one day I'll post them on here too, and my mum spoke too. I think it was important for all of us to show hos much love we had for Jonny, we wanted to do something that he deserved, and getting through that day bravely was it.

I can also see some of how I feel at the moment in your first post. The part of not wanting to let go of the pain, I can definitely identify with. Someone on the bereavement topic talked about their 'grief bubble', and that's something I feel too. I want to stay either by myself or with close family, thinking and talking about Jonny or not talking and just crying. I feel it would be like letting go of him and I just don't want to do that.

I can tell you from my experience that it's not any easier having somewhere to focus the anger. I hate that person for killing my brother, but it won't change anything, so it's not easier. I don't think justice will ever be served. It won't bring Jonny back, which is what we all want, so it sometimes seems by the by. I say that now, but some days I want him to pay with his life, like my brother did, and like we will all have to, living through this most awful grief. I could never imagine how hard it would be.

Anyway, I do go on! Thanks for posting here and let's hope other people feel comfortable enough to come and share with us. But even if they don't we'll be here! We can go on and on with each other!

Do you ever feel that people get annoyed with you wanting to talk about it? Or did you earlier on? I most of the time pretend I'm ok so people won't get embarrassed by my crying, or bored with my going over and over the same details. It feels very lonely, even with my other brother and parents living the same thing...

TheOldestCat Wed 05-Nov-08 22:25:10

Hello evansmummy and cyteen.

I'm so sorry that your brothers have died - your words are so touching; you obviously loved them very much.

Not sure I can really post here as it was my sister-in-law who died (two years ago, a few weeks before DD was born). I do worry so much about DH; he does talk about his sister, but I'm concerned that he didn't really get a chance to grieve properly - losing her then becoming a father almost at the same time.

Still, two years down the horrible line, he is doing ok and thinks of her with love and happiness, remembering the good times. Maybe you never 'get over' something so awful and wrong - and it's so WRONG when someone young dies - but you do just go on.

Anyway, I just wanted to pass on my condolences. And write something about my dear sister-in-law, who was a wonderful person and is much much missed.

VaginaShmergina Wed 05-Nov-08 23:23:14

evansmummy, well done for starting this thread, it is well overdue and tis a place I shall visit if tha's ok ?

To all of you, sibling or sibling-in-law. I am sorry and send you some of those special MN hugs. You have all posted some lovely words and it is so nice we can share here.

Right now is really a very difficult time for me and I shall try and simplify it for you as much as possible.

My brother died in a car accident when he was 18, now 19 years ago. No other vehicles involved, just him, a bend and a tree. Nowt either side, but he hit the tree sad

He had a wonderful girlfriend at the time and they had been boyfriend and girlfriend for years through school. The real deal you might say.

After John (how odd, another version of Jonny hmm ) died, his girlfriend and I stayed like sisters. She went away to University and met somebody else.

A wonderful man who loved, adored and cherished her as I knew or thought only my brother could, but she had found someone else and I was over the moon.

They married and had three children.

He died in his sleep 4 weeks and 5 days ago now, aged 36.

She is expecting their 4th child, she is 15 weeks pregnant and all alone.

She has loved and lost twice now and it is tearing me apart so I have no idea what it is doing to her.

She lives at the other end of the country to me and I spent a long weekend with them this weekend. Oh how my heart aches for those little children and her.

What I have written so far is very little about my stunningly handsome brother.

I will come to him another day but just wanted you to know evans, there is definately a need for this thread and thank you for being the one to start it. x

VaginaShmergina Wed 05-Nov-08 23:44:38

evans, I knew your name rang a bell...... have looked back and found that I posted on your original thread that you started two weeks after your brother died back in June.

I know it's a well used saying but time does heal.

If you had told me that in the first 5-7 years I would have knocked your block off, but I am 19 years down the road and can say, hand on heart, you will cope and things do get easier.

A weird day for me this year was in April. He died when he was 18 years and 8 months exactly. Once he had been gone 18 years 8 months and one day things were very odd.

Glad we have found one another again to share our brothers. smile

evansmummy Thu 06-Nov-08 12:05:39

The Oldest Cat and VS (can't bring myself to type it in full!), thank you both for posting. I'm glad you think there's a need for this thread. I hope it will be helpful to people.

TOC, I'm sorry for your and your husband's loss. Lots of people have said that you never get over it, just learn to live with it. But VS is a long way down the line, and I guess has come to some kind of terms with it. I'm not sure how I feel about that atm, but it's still very early days for me.

VS, how sad about your brother's first love. It feels like such a waste, doesn't it? My brother (actually Jonathan, Jonny to his family and Jon to his mates) didn't have time to find the real thing, and I'm sorry for that, because he would've made a fantastic husband and father one day. Again, a waste.

You ought to be careful about saying it'll get easier, though. Someone might knowk your block off wink

Last night I watched a dvd of my brother in a play he did 2 years ago. He did an Acting degree at Leeds Uni which he graduated from last year. He gave me this dvd at Xmas 2006 and I'd never got round to watching it, which of course I feel dreadful about now. So last night I finally sat down and watched Ajax, in which Jonny had the title role. Blew my socks off. He was amazing, the whole cast was. It's originally a Greek tragedy, so Ajax commits suicide at the end, which was hard too because I couldn't help but remember him dead at the hospital. I cried a lot of the way through, particularly through the interviews at the end of the piece. It was just him, glasses (he wore contacts when out and about), rugby shirt n all. Just how I remember him. Very painful. I'm crying now.

frasersmummy Thu 06-Nov-08 13:31:00

hijack alert...I dont belong on here but..

I just popped into say well done Evansmummy for starting this thread.

I am really sorry that everyone is having to meet under these circumstances but I hope you all find the love and support that I found on the bereaved mummies thread.

hijack over.. wanders back to whence she came from

pushki Thu 06-Nov-08 13:54:45

evansmummy, good on you for starting this thread although bloomin rotten reason that we are all on here for sad I will definitely be visiting and sharing my story - although no time just now!! Just wanted to post a quick hello while I remember......wink

VaginaShmergina Thu 06-Nov-08 14:41:30

block still on shoulders here grin

It is the worst thing anybody can say as the pain and emotion are so raw.

frasermummy, hello and hello to you too pushki, come back soon smile

evansmummy Thu 06-Nov-08 20:03:19

Hi frasersmummy, thanks, I thought it a good idea. It can be so hard in RL to find someone to share this stuff with, so 'meeting' with people on MN who have similar losses can only be good.

Echo that I wish we didn't have to...

pushki, hi, and we'll be here whenever you do have time!

VS, it's hard to believe it'll ever get easier, but people like your good self do give me hope. I think. I meant what I said though, that at the moment I don't want to 'be' anywhere else but in full-on grief. Would feel wrong and impossible to be anywhere else.

VaginaShmergina Thu 06-Nov-08 20:27:14

evansmummy, I completely understand.

You have yet to do all the "firsts"

Christmas, Anniversary of his death, anniversary of the accident, the funeral etc etc They were all awful for us and still can be now.

Some years are easier than others, as long as I can have a good blub in the morning, I trickle along for the rest of the day.

I can remember the intensity of my grief in those first years.

How dare people go about their business, people out shopping, laughing, having fun etc....... Didn't they know my brother was dead, how dare they angry

I also understand the wanting to be in the hell hole of grief that you are in too.

I am very proud of you watching that DVD. One of the hardest things for me still now is to watch footage of John. So for you to sit and watch yours now is admirable and also a good thing as I think it helps you talk about him too.

Do you have any other siblings ? Is it "just you" left behind ? That is how I felt. I had an accident on the very same road, 3 miles further on only 2 years before my brothers.

I was a bit of a vagabond and he was a good steady young man.

For quite some time I questioned how come I lived and he died. I had always been the one to give my parents a hard time, he was the easy one.

All very deep rooted psychological stuff and am happy to thrash it all out with you here.

I also lost my cousin and her husband 10 years ago. They drowned together on honeymoon whilst walking in the Lake District. It was awful, just awful. My other cousin and I are the two elder ones and have both lost our younger siblings.

If I can help anybody here with anything, then please just ask away.

Grief is unique to each individual, there is no right or wrong way to grieve.

cyteen Thu 06-Nov-08 20:40:24

Ah Vaggy, what a lot of awful loss Have no adequate words really, except to say that you must be one strong lady.

Hi pushki and TheOldestCat, welcome to our little crew. Let's hope we can all support each other

evansmummy, it's funny you should ask about whether I feel people are tired of me talking about it...I actually hardly talk about it at all. With my mum I went on this whole grief journey, talked about her and the suicide all the time, explored my feelings with anyone who would listen. That journey is still ongoing, obviously, as the space she left in my life keeps changing over time as I change. But with Si, I just feel like there is nothing to say and it worries me a little bit. I don't feel like I'm travelling along the grief road. I feel like I am still stuck at the point of his death and cannot even access my feelings to start to understand them myself. It's not good.

Possibly having my son has contributed to this, I don't know...two such major life changes in such a short space of time is a lot to take in, maybe I've just overloaded grin

I too am very impressed that you watched the DVD, glad for you that there's a record of him performing (even though it must have been hell to watch in some ways). We have lots of pictures of Si, of course, and there's tons of music that I play that just is him. Sometimes I get a strong memory of the smell of his hair, which sounds weird, it's not like I spent hours sniffing it deliberately of course. But when he was sick I spent lots of time by the head of his bed so I guess it must have crept into my awareness then.

Also when DS falls asleep with his head on my shoulder, he looks so like Si, sleeping in the hospital.

VaginaShmergina Thu 06-Nov-08 20:50:50

cyteen, hello. I have gone back and read about your Brother and your Mum too.

How much does any of us have to go through ?

Your brother sounds like an absolute star. What you said about staying up til late talking to him, listening to music is very thought provoking for me too.

I cannot imagine the loss of your Mum too sad I'm really very sorry and send you some hugs.

I'm glad we have found one another and can share our experiences, our memories and just have a good old blub without anybody seeing us wipe our snooty noses up our sleeves or the panda eyes when the mascara has run all down our faces.

evansmummy Fri 07-Nov-08 06:59:00

Which is what I'm doing now. Reading your both your posts has made me cry. Thank you for your honesty.

VS, I'm so sorry for your cousin too. My mum said after Jonny died that she felt kind of invincible - like a horrible death in the family had happened once, so couldn't happen again. I remember telling her your (you posted it on my original thread) and shabster's stories. We're all so vulnerable, and until it happens to you, I don't think we can always realise it.

I have another younger brother. I'm the eldest. Jonny was the youngest. One of the first things my other brother said after Jonny died was, "well, i'm the youngest now". Heart breaking. He was also the best behaved, probably, or at least the least trouble. I too have thought it should've been me. He had so much to live for. I know I have a dh and ds, but at least with them I've left a piece of myself, I've mde a mark. And he didn't get the chance. He didn't deserve to die so young. But then none of them did.

He had two other accidents while at uni - one falling off a fire escape and breaking his jaw. The other, he was attacked on his way home from work and beaten. It's like the place had it in for him, or like he was a 'marked man'. That sounds weird but it feels like that.

I'm dreading all the firsts. Christmas coming up is gonna be sad. Plus Jonny's not even buried yet, so we'll have all that to go through at some point.

cyteen, did your brother get to meet your son? As V said, grief is so different for everyone. My other brother won't talk about it at all, whereas I cold spend the day going over and over it. Do you talk to your child/ren about your brother, or are they too young? That thing about the hair, how touching. There are certain things that get me every time - music, the same as you, he was a great gig-goer! Sniffing my sons hair when I'm tired - I used to do it to Jonny when we were kids (there's 7 years between us). And my son sleeping, too, funnily enough. Looks just like Jonny did at that age.

I feel desperate that he won't see ds grow up - he loved him so much. And that he'll never get to see the others if we have any.
But then I guess we'll all go through those feelings.

shabster Fri 07-Nov-08 07:29:01

So glad you started this thread Evansmummy - well done. xxxxx

cyteen Fri 07-Nov-08 11:14:30

evans, sadly no - Si died last April and i fell pregnant in December. he didn't even know we were trying.

jeee Fri 07-Nov-08 11:18:52

Had a bit of howl, reading this. My sister died on Saturday. I almost feel that I shouldn't be too sad, because she was only my sister, not my daughter. But I know I'm going to miss her. It wasn't surprising, but it was still shocking.

cyteen Fri 07-Nov-08 11:32:19

oh god jeee, i am so sorry please don't feel that your grief should be less because she was your sister. siblings are a unique and intertwined part of our lives and who we are.

please come back and talk to us some more, if you feel like it

jeee Fri 07-Nov-08 11:42:35

I'm still... I really don't know. But I kind of hope that it's not real. She'd been ill for so long (diagnosis was 13 years ago), but despite loads of hiccups managed to keep going. Everything that could go wrong for her did, but she got back to work after 2 transplants and spinal cord damage. She played sport to national standard. She got off her hospital bed this summer, and managed to get a place in the Beijing paralympics, though was unfortunately too ill to take it up. So however you look at it, she made the most of all the time she had. She knew my eldest 3 children really well, which meant a lot to me, and to her... And she was in so much pain by the end that it was horrible.

cyteen Fri 07-Nov-08 11:50:35

she sounds amazing it is so hard watching them struggle through intensive medical care. my brother only had a couple of years of it as his cancer pretty much ate him up, but it was very full on - lots of spinal surgery, horrible chemo, loss of mobility etc. he was so together and strong-minded about it. i doubt i could have managed the way he did without being a total nightmare.

i know what you mean about it being shocking despite not being a surprise - that's exactly how it was for us too.

i wish there was something useful i could say are your family able to lean on each other, do you have good support around you?

lovely idea evansmummy.
My brother died when he was ten - he was my middle brother - I was 13 and my younger brother 6. He was beautiful,dark hair,brown eyes - v like my mum.He was sporty and could draw brilliantly. I'd get very homesick staying at my grandparents - kind but quite strict - and I'd insist on him sharing my room - he was a great ally and a comfort. Of course we fought like cats and dogs but we had a lot of fun too. When he was staying with my grandparents ( on his own for some reason) he had to come home early as he was unwell. It was pretty soon discovered that he had a rare cancer (of the kidney0 and although operated on to remove the tumour it was terminal and my parents brought him home to nurse. He lived for about six months and everyone was brilliant - friends of my parents all helped look after him,an actor friend came in to read stories,Treasure Island - complete with a real parrot on his shoulder..everyone was great and we two children,my younger brother and I, were unaware of how ill my brother R was, which meant that we kept life pretty much normal at home. There was one occassion when he was very poorly and it occurred to me that he might die and the thought absolutely terrified me.
When he did die he slipped away in the night..my older 2nd cousin who was a nurse was there. My dad came to meet me after school that day - they didn't tell me first thing- and I remember exactly where we were in the road on the way home when he told me and the exact words.
I miss what he would have been..a friend, father,husband,son - I think we'd have been close as there was just the three years between us. Every year I think of him especially on November 15th which is his anniversary.

cyteen - I remember reading your fabulous eulogy for your brother - thank you smilefor sharing it

jeee Fri 07-Nov-08 11:57:48

My brother's in a bit of a state, and is with Mum and Dad, who live a couple of hundred miles a way. I'm lucky in that DH has been wonderful. A couple of friends have lost adult siblings (one in very, very similar circumstances), although at the moment I'm not really ready to use support. I'm going to the funeral next week with the family, and I guess I'll have to face reality when I get back home after this. Christmas is going to be a complete nightmare though, because it was my sister's absolute favourite time of the year. She still insisted on a stocking (we never had the heart to disillusion her about the existence of Father Christmas), and would still wake up early on Christmas day.

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