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My brother is dying
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CloseYourMouthLynn · 15/06/2022 20:56

My brother is 41 and dying of terminal cancer, he only has a few weeks left. I'm going to see him this weekend in the hospice to say goodbye. How do I do that? How do I live without him? I'm heartbroken. He's my whole childhood.
This is so surreal and incomprehensible.
I'm rambling but hope others may have been through similar with a sibling and can identify.

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DeeCeeCherry · 15/06/2022 21:04

I'm so sorry OP. I lost my brother in 2015. You dont get over it. But you do learn to live with it. I can't tell you that your grief won't be raw. But, small steps. I dont know how you say goodbye as I never got the chance. But hopefully someone will be along soon who's done same, and can give you words of comfort💐

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CloseYourMouthLynn · 15/06/2022 21:13

@DeeCeeCherry I'm sorry about your brother and that you didn't get the chance to say goodbye. X

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CloseYourMouthLynn · 16/06/2022 20:08

Anyone?

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pfills · 16/06/2022 20:14

I don't have any advice but wanted to say I'm sorry.

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FannyFifer · 16/06/2022 20:18

You go, you hold his hand, you talk about when you were kids, how much you love him.
Im so very sorry, he is so young.

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GoldenEclipse · 16/06/2022 20:21

I’m sorry this is happening. My only advice is to say everything you would regret not saying to him.

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FT123456 · 16/06/2022 20:23

So sorry your going through this, it's never east losing someone you love do dearly. It's berry difficult to tell you how to say goodbye as everyone does this so differently. I think when you get there you will just know exactly what to do and say. My thoughts are with you all.

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FT123456 · 16/06/2022 20:24

Never easy *

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heartchakra · 16/06/2022 20:30

I'm so so sorry I lost a son recently with no warning. I wish I had words of comfort but at least you'll be able to say all the important things and that you love him. Grief is the price we pay for love and your heart must be breaking in two. You won't get over it but a new you will grow around the loss. Keep his memory alive and in time you may have little rituals on certain days dedicated to his memory.

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Luredbyapomegranate · 16/06/2022 20:31

I am so sorry, I lost my brother a few years ago at a similar age.

I don’t mean this in a Pollyanna way - it’s fucking awful - but go with the intention to celebrate him, tell him how much you love him, talk about brilliant memories, laugh as well as cry.

What is likely to mean a lot to him, as well as knowing you love him, is knowing that he matters - he touched your life, and others, his memory will be carried on in your kids, in your heart, in your family traditions. Talk about how he’s touched your life.

I am so sorry again, it sounds like you are a great pair, and he must love you very much.

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Strokethefurrywall · 16/06/2022 20:31

I'm so so sorry OP - I lost my brother in 2012. It was the 10 year anniversary 2 days ago.

He was 28 when he died, of cancer as well. The lovely doctors at Royal Marsden told us on 12 June that it was the end, that we should prepare ourselves. And so began that 48 hours of preparing family, friends, gathering together to say goodbyes. We were all with him when he took his last breath.

Oddly, I remember just wanting the wait to be over. I wanted to be able to move past the feeling of helplessness of watching someone suffer and struggle, into the raw grief of death. At least then I could grief for myself and my loss - the grief I'd felt in the run up to it had been all for him, for the fear he must have been feeling, grief for my parents, my sister-in-law.

Without sounding trite, grief, as the old saying goes, is an ocean. At first the storm is raging over you, and the grief crashes over you over and over again in giant waves so that you don't know which way is up. And just when you come up for air, another wave hits you. You have to accept that you have to ride the wave, expect the unexpected.

It's only with time that the ocean starts to calm itself - the ocean is still grief, but with fewer waves, and the occasional big ones. Soon, perhaps after a number of years, the ocean is a flat sea under a warm sun. The wave only comes when there's a birthday or anniversary, or birth. When my brother died, I cried all the days (and nights) for weeks, then one day I only found I was crying at night. Then I cried every other day, then once a week, once a month and so on.

I've personally always visualised his death as a giant gaping hole ripped into our life. At first, the hole is black, ominous and terrifying, the edges raw, jagged, weeping, bleeding and painful to touch. A wound that can't be healed with stitches or band aids. I made a decision to fill that hole with as many positive things as I could. I started singing again, running marathons, performing live. I made a vow to my brother that I would take him with me on my adventures, made him a promise to live a life he would be proud of.

10 years on, the hole is still there of course. Only now the edges are smooth and healed. It's no longer dark and ominous, but a hole filled with light and joy. It no longer hurts to touch.

I'm so sorry you have to start this journey of grief soon, and that you have to watch someone you love so much leave. Please do lean on your friends and family and allow those who love you to look after you.

Is there any possibility you can be there with him at the end? Do you have other family for support?

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CloseYourMouthLynn · 16/06/2022 20:33

Thank you everyone, it's just so surreal and heartbreaking. I've been crying all day but trying to hide my upset from the kids. I don't want him to be scared.
I've written him a card and put a photo in from when we were kids.
I'm almost scared to see him, what he is going to be like.
Last night I dreamed he'd already died and I didn't get to see him.
How do I live without him in my life forever. I'm not religious but I can't cope with the idea that we'll never meet again.

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CloseYourMouthLynn · 16/06/2022 20:39

@Strokethefurrywall I'm so sorry about your brother. It's a loss so deep as he is my whole childhood, all those shared memories die with him.
Thank you for your words, which are really lovely. I know I need to ride the wave, it's just knowing that this is only the beginning of a new life without him, there is so much pain to come.
I am hoping to see him tomorrow in the hospice. Unfortunately I do not live close to my family, but we are all gathering this weekend to be together. Unfortunately my sister cannot make it as her daughter is having surgery, she is heartbroken.
How do I say goodbye to my big brother.

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CloseYourMouthLynn · 16/06/2022 20:42

@Luredbyapomegranate thank you. He was my childhood partner in crime. He had only just begun to live, having met his wife and had his son when he was diagnosed. The unfairness of it all is hard to comprehend.

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CloseYourMouthLynn · 16/06/2022 20:43

@heartchakra I'm sorry for the loss of your son. As a parent myself I cannot imagine and my parents are obviously heartbroken, I don't know how they will go on.

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viques · 16/06/2022 20:54

how do I say goodbye to my big brother

if it is very close to the end he may be drifting in and out of consciousness. Hold his hand and talk to him, touch and sound are thought to be the last senses we retain. If you are not sure what to talk about then take in some photos of your childhood and talk about them, pets, holidays, school, it doesnt matter , they are shared happy memories. “ I was looking through some old photos the other day, do you remember……” He may be able to respond , but might not.


things to remember to say

Tell him Thankyou for being your brother.
Tell him goodbye,
Tell him you love him and will always remember him.

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CloseYourMouthLynn · 16/06/2022 20:57

@viques thank you, I really hope to do this with him. I love him so much and I will miss him so much.
How do I go on without him

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PiggyPlumPie · 16/06/2022 21:05

I don't know how you go on, but you do.

We lost my sister (53) from oesophagus cancer in Oct 2020. She was given 2 months but had just 6 weeks and the last 2 were in hospital. Mid covid so minimal visiting. I'm over 6 hours away but more by luck managed to visit twice in the two days before she died. She was pretty much out of it but we reminisced and told her we loved her.

It now seems a little less raw, I can think of her and smile.

It's so hard and I am sending you strength and so much love to you all.

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itsgettingweird · 16/06/2022 21:09

I'm so sorry.

I lost my mum to cancer 4 weeks ago. I had exactly the same thoughts as you re seeing her and what to do say etc.

But it just came naturally. The truth is you have no control so you have to go with the flow.

The last time I saw my mum she was sleeping and was never going to wake up. That was easier than the day before when she was confused and quite distressed. 3 days before that we were having a normal conversation she was just tiring very easily.

Just remember to give yourself time and accept how you feel. 4 weeks on I still have awful brain fog and forget what word I need halfway through a sentence. I'm just accepting this is how it is and being kind to myself.

I've also found others are so helpful and want to help - let them!

Flowers

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CloseYourMouthLynn · 16/06/2022 21:10

@PiggyPlumPie I'm sorry about your sister, but glad you were able to see her.

Thank you for your wishes. I am thinking of everything. Like his funeral, his possessions (like clothes, how sad it will be to sort them), the first Christmas without him, my kids not knowing him, never hearing his voice again, never having a message from him again.

It's so overwhelming

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CloseYourMouthLynn · 16/06/2022 21:12

@itsgettingweird I'm sorry about your mum, it must be so raw for you right now. Brain fog is the right description. I do not know what I'm doing much of the day. My daughter has chicken pox too so trying to keep calm during her spotty meltdowns.

I find it hard as a sibling. I do not want to bother his wife so feel detached from what is going on. I hope to have time with him on my own.

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viques · 16/06/2022 21:20

CloseYourMouthLynn · 16/06/2022 20:57

@viques thank you, I really hope to do this with him. I love him so much and I will miss him so much.
How do I go on without him

You will. As Larkin says “ what will survive of us is love” . I realised the other day that my brother would have been sixty this year. And I can’t imagine what he would be like at sixty because to me he is in his thirties forever, full head of hair, all his own teeth, a wonky knee, Leeds supporter , cheeky grin, never able to sit still for a second. And he will also always be in his twenties, and in his teens, and he is a little boy in the park on a cold November day clinging on the swing saying push me again, and reading out terrible jokes from his joke book in a serious voice then saying “But I don’t get it Viques”.

I am so sorry you have a painful time coming, it will be awful, but you will get through it, and your dear brother will live on in your memories, in your sisters memories, he has touched your lives and that touch will remain.

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CloseYourMouthLynn · 16/06/2022 21:25

@viques in the card I have written to him, which he may not have the strength to read, I have written how I will love him forever and will meet him again one day.

I remember everything: making radio shows together, dancing to cartoon theme tunes, being drunken idiots at gigs and parties. I just worry that I will forget his voice, how he spoke.

It's lovely that you have lovely memories of your brother.

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Bosabosa · 16/06/2022 21:36

Hello, I am so sorry. I suffered a loss when I was 18. I was numb and swallowed the grief for 10 years....which wasn't healthy and had a hugely negative impact on me. So my only thought would be to keep talking, crying, remembering him, for the days, weeks, months and years to come. Speaking about him, thinking about him and crying will only help, however hard it feels at the time. And I wouldn't hide it from your kids if you can help it. As it is really healthy to discuss and show grief to children. My heart goes out to you.

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CloseYourMouthLynn · 16/06/2022 21:38

@Bosabosa thank you and to you. I have ordered a book about death to read to my daughter when the time comes. My son is only a baby. I'm so sad that they won't know him

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