I keep thinking he’s going to call me any day now……
My little brother passed away from a brain hemorrhage 6 months ago now, I was 32 weeks pregnant and never imagined anything so shocking could happen to our family. My brother suffered a hemorrhage in his sleep and was found by his flatmate the next morning, still breathing. HE was rushed to A&E and the brain surgeons waited to see the MRI scan to see if they could operate. There was no chance to save my brother; the brain stem was crushed by the massive pressure that had built up in his brain. He was alone and I hate the thought that he would have felt anything as this all happened.
I was on my way to work when I got a call from my sister to say she had a SMS from his flatmate that he was in A&E. I called a close family friend in Christchurch who went directly to the hospital to find out more. By the time I was at work I heard that the doctors were going to call me, no one could visit him yet, that’s when I knew it was serious. I called my mother in Holland and my sister in Australia to say I would be in touch when I had heard from the hospital. The doctor called me half an hour later and told me what had happened, I didn’t know then the extent of damage to my brothers brain, I was simply told that he was on life support and the best thing was to be there as quickly as possible. My husband collected a bag of clothes for us from home and got me to the airport within the hour. I think we already knew to expect the worst but my thoughts were with the rest of the family who had so far to travel to reach us. The next four days were spent in ICU, holding my brothers hand and waiting as first my sister, then my mother and finally my father arrived at his bedside. His breathing was labored and the staff had worked so hard to keep him alive those four days so we could all say goodbye.
I feel like it was all so surreal, we lived in different cities and spoke on the phone frequently. He had come to visit not a month before his death and stayed 10 days with us, joking, laughing, working on our home renovations with us. My brother was so protective of me, he would hardly let me lift a hammer because I was pregnant. It gave me a real buzz knowing he was thinking of his niece/nephew so much. The whole time at the hospital everyone kept fussing over me and the big unspoken message was ‘what a shame he will never meet your baby’. I can honestly say it is one of the hardest parts of bringing our son into the world; knowing his uncle will never meet him and that he will never experience the amazing human that Jos was. The bike rides, the horsing around, the ability he had to infuriate me with just a single comment! Our son has his uncle’s eyes and I am sure he will show us many more family traits in years to come. It hurts but I also feel so privileged to be able to look at my son and see a part of my brother every day. I still feel surprised when I see his photos and remember he’s not going to call me “Hey Sis, how’s it going” and I would always say “Hey kid, I’m good, what’s happening?”
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