Not yet real

by Julia

On March 11, 2007 I lost my big brother to a drug overdose. He had been battling this disease his whole life and depended on it to cover up his depression and awful childhood we both suffered.

It has been over a year and I have just started to feel the effects of his loss. I pushed the pain so far down that I convinced myself he was just "off" somewhere and would call soon.

He had a wife and 3 beautiful children yet he could not recover from his depression. The hardest part is thinking of something I want to tell him and then the next moment I realize he is gone. It's almost as if he died all over again.

I am so horribly depressed and my heart aches with every step. I find it hard to walk, wake, face life. I wasn't able to say goodbye because when I got to the hospital he was already brain dead. I have regrets about so many things I never told him. I wish I could have helped him through his depression, but I was to young to realize that he was numbing himself.

I feel as if any moment I will just break down and lose it. I worry that if I allow myself to feel the loss in it's entirety that I will never come back, that I will lose all control. I don't know where to begin. I am so scared to feel that I don't know which piece to let out first. Does anyone have advice for me?

I really miss my big brother.

Comments for Not yet real

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May 17, 2009
I know the pain
by: Laurie

I had never lost anyone so close. I had lost my grandparents. However, on March 17th of this year, 2009 near midnight, I lost my wonderful mother of 77 years to a double stroke and brain bleeding. She never regained anything. I am an only child, along with my dad. We stayed by her bedside for 11 days until she succumbed. We were told 2 days after her hospitalization that she was dying and there was nothing they could do.

I will never forget that day or those words. I screamed out NO and cried so loud. My dad has a hearing loss and I had to tell them what they said. He then broke down. We stayed day and night with her for 11 days.

On March 28, early morning she went to heaven to be with Jesus. I am sitting here and crying now. It has only been over a month. I miss her so much and I never thought I could love her anymore than I did, but I do love her much more.

I have gone a few days with little crying, however, now in the sixth week, and with an accident of falling myself, I feel as I cannot control my tears once they start.

My heart feels as though it is being torn out. I have lost a part of me that will never come back. We were all so very close, and I am so very scared. I do not know what I would do if I were to lose my father soon. I am not married.

Please tell me there is hope. I need to know this. I was looking for work before this and was depressed and seeking help, now my depression seems to have deepened. I am still seeing a doctor. I get up every morning and look at mom's picture and say good morning, mom, I love you, and to the same every night.

I know I will get through this, but how long?
Please....only my close family that have lost parents know how I feel. Please help me.

Dec 08, 2008
My experiences with grief when my brother passed away
by: Lana

Dear Julia,

I am so sorry to hear of your loss.

I too lost my brother. He died 5 years ago due to pneumonia at the age of 20. I was 18 at the time. He had always had a rough time from birth til his passing. He had learning disabilities, behavioural problems, some psychiatric issues and he abused drugs and alcohol. My parents were good parents but nothing seemed to help my brother. We initially thought he died of an overdose but tests later concluded that he died from pneumonia (probably due to a weakened respiratory and immune system along with drug and alcohol abuse).

I find the pain difficult to release as well. I find the grief hard to face. It's like staring at the sun. It's too intense to deal with. I do let it out though. When I let it all out it is very unpleasant. When you allow those emotional gates to open up fully you remember your brother with painfully clear vividness. His image, voice, and memories of him flood in blinding clarity. They will come at you in full voice but you really need to allow yourself to have these painful sessions to cry, to remember, to feel completely and entirely immersed in your sadness. These moments of grieving are therapeutic. You WILL feel better afterwards. I used to try to avoid them. I am very sociable and would surround myself with people all the time. Then when I'd be alone, my mind would wander back to him and the emotions would come pouring out.

As someone else described it, I grieved like a wounded animal. It hurt my core. My body shook with grief and I succumbed to the pain, allowing my body to carry out this pre-wired physiological response to grief that is inescapable no matter how long we try to put it off. These "grieving sessions" come in waves and the more you allow them to happen the "healthier" you will feel.

Other ways I have managed to cope include writing in my journal (anything, thoughts about him, messages to him, drawings, memories, your anger about the situation, etc) and going to a place where I can be alone and just cry uninterrupted for whatever length of time I need. Though I prefer to grieve alone, do talk to other people about it if you desire to do so and feel comfortable. (I always felt like throwing a glass vase on the floor would somehow be a satisfying release to my grief. It'd be a waste of a vase though. :)

Anyway, I too usually have those emotional gates tightly shut but letting them open is necessary and cathartic. Please do grieve because by facing the pain you will make yourself healthier mentally. I hope this has been helpful to you. Again, I am so sorry for your loss.


Jun 26, 2008
let it out
by: Anonymous

I lost my 17 year old son, Christian, just this past December. He was with his friends coming home on Sunday afternoon when his friends car hit ice and the car spun into oncoming traffic. All three boys died instantly.

Christian was my oldest of two boys. Handsome, gifted athlete, bright, and a very happy boy with a bright future ahead of him. He had just been accepted to college.

I remember 6 weeks after the accident and still not being able to say anything but cry and moan like a wounded animal. I was so frightened to talk and "lose control" as you have said for fear that I too would be like Humpty Dumpty and break into a million pieces never to be put together again. I just did not know how to begin to speak of the pain I felt. I have ordered the resource book on this website and look forward to reading it as I just bought it a few moments ago. I did see a therapist though after realizing that I needed to get some things out because I felt like I was being physically tormented by keeping everything inside. The first 4 meetings I talked and cried and cried. It was very cleansing and I think I just needed a safe, controlled environment in which to let go. My best advice is to find others who have had a loss similar to yours. I lost my husband 7 years ago and this was a million times worse. Every death is different due to the uniqueness of the relationship. Perhaps finding a grief support group would put you in touch with others who lost a sibling. I know for me it was very important to speak with other Mothers who had lost a son Christian's age and who had so much going for him. It has helped to be with others who understand the pain I am feeling. Unless someone has experienced this pain, I don't think they can really understand the depth of despair we feel. I will remember you in my prayers-I hope we both are able to find the peace we are searching for.


Jun 05, 2008
You will survive!
by: Jennie

Dear Julia,

Let me say first that I am so very sorry for your loss. I can tell how much you are hurting and missing your brother.

The reason you are in the depths of despair right now, over a year later, is because you pushed away the grief and pain in the beginning of your bereavement. Lots of people do this, but it just delays the whole grief process.

Right now, it sounds like you are just beginning to face the grief and to let it surface. You are so very deeply depressed because you are just now working on the early stages of your grief.

You also sound like you are experiencing some doubts, regrets, and guilt over his death, which is very common in a suicide. (Although he died of a drug overdose, that is actually a form of suicide). There was nothing you could have done to alter his path; he made his own choices in his life.

You will not "lose it" by experiencing the grief fully. In fact, that is the only way to heal from your loss. And time will eventually soften the blow and help you get back to a more bearable life. You will survive!

I have gone into great detail about complicated grief like yours in my Grief Guidebook (click on the button to the left). Also included are some very effective strategies and exercises you may try to help you deal with this.

I would give your bereavement a lot more time, and do try the guidebook. If after another six months or so has passed and you just don't see any progress at all, then professional counseling may be necessary to help you heal.

Good luck, Julia, and once again, my condolences for your great loss.


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