I miss my brother
My brother Chuck passed on June 24th, 2006. He was 39 years old. He had an ATV accident on April 12th, 06 and didn't survive his injuries. He wasn't wearing a helmet and sustained a severe brain injury as a result of the accident. (Please relate this story to anyone you know who rides).
I'm his younger brother by 2 years. We were close, but I still don't know if he realized how much he helped shape the direction of my life. Yes, we fought like brothers do. Even though we're totally different people, it's the little things that we did together that really count. I'm sure that (he'd never admit to it) I also helped shape him.
I've read several of the post here and I can relate to the grief that many of you are all going through. We both lost our mom on December 12th, 1993 of a sudden illness. She was only 63 years old. Neither of us were prepared. All I can tell you is that the pain gets easier to deal with over time. You have to remember the good times that you shared and not focus on regrets (ie, "I didn't visit that last Holiday", etc). It's easy to beat yourself up over things that you can't change.
My dad Earle is still around, (he's like a Timex) though he's 79 now, and I know how hard this has been on him.
Elizabeth (Chuck's longtime girlfriend) has also taken it quite hard. They had their first child, my niece Hailey, on January, 6th, 2006; just a few months before the accident. I can't believe she's just turned 1. Hailey looks so much like Chuck, especially with her big blue eyes. Elizabeth managed to find a support group to help, but most grief counseling is focused on older adults. It's hard to find younger people who can relate to such a loss.
It's tough for me as well. Aside from being his only brother, I'm also the administrator of his estate and am learning how much (damn paperwork) is involved. I've also had my moments of crying (it's OK to cry). My dad really doesn't need the extra stress, so I took on the task of trying to settle his affairs, while making sure Hailey is taken care of. The worst part is that he was in the process of getting a living trust started, but didn't sign the final papers before the accident.
Chuck was cremated and we had a 'Celebration of Life' party for him in July. It was good to see some old friends and realize just how many people my brother touched while he was here. He lived life to the fullest (even on the day of the accident). Chuck wasn't one to have everyone feel sad at a funeral. After this Summer (one year) I will take little bits of his ashes with me to some of his favorite places, whenever my travels allow, and leave a bit of him behind.
I still have trouble seeing the inside of a hospital (ICU). He received great care; and I thank all the nurses (esp) and doctors who worked so hard to help Chuck. I know he could hear us, even though his body was broken. I'm glad that I got to share a few last Lakers games on TV with him. He was a fighter til the end and lasted longer than anyone thought he ever would. We were lucky enough to be able to be with him during his last days (hospice care) and say 'goodbye' in each of our own ways.
It's OK to feel bad, sad, angry and everything else that goes along with grief. Talk to each other (family/friends) and know that you're not alone in this experience. The Holidays were hard, but we got through them. It will get better, day by day.
I miss you Chuck. I will always love you. I know you'll greet me on the other side. And I'm sure that you're already off on the next adventure (with Mom worried all the while). Peace be with you brother.
ps. Thanks for letting me vent.