My brother died about 18 months ago. It was very traumatic to say the least. He had been diagnosed with colon cancer and had undergone surgery. His doctor felt his chances for survival were very good and we were happy that he would be around for many more years. He wasn’t feeling well after being released from the hospital and his wife took him to the emergency room. My brother and I spoke after I talked to the doctors and nurses attending him. In the end I felt good about his care once he was in one of the intensive care units.It was my week to work, so, I told him I would call and check in once I left the hospital. ( I work overnights). About 4 am, I received a call from a nurse and assumed it was one of the people I work with in the emergency room needing me to come over and counsel/consult about a patient. But, what the nurse said to me was, “I’m sorry, but, your brother has died”. I was in shock and I remember telling her that she was wrong, that she had obviously called the wrong person by mistake. It had only been a few hours since I spoke to my brother and he was alive and well. But, it wasn’t a mistake.
I got up from my desk and left work, not speaking to anyone or telling anyone I was leaving. I literally fell into my car and hoped I would not kill anyone on my way home.
Why am I telling this story?
Tonight I was speaking to a patient about her medical history and discussing an issue I uncovered with her medications. She told me that she wasn’t eating, that nothing would stay down and she didn’t know what to do. Then, she talked about the grandmother who raised her had recently died and the funeral was this past week. The grandmother was in her 60’s and had undergone what was thought to be a successful surgery. She had begun feeling and acting like her old self again. But, before she could be discharged from the hospital, she had a relapse and died.
I am not a social worker, a therapist or a grief counselor. I am a sister who lost a brother who finds herself drowning in memories and riptides of loss when I think of how I shall never speak to him again. However, I did tell that young lady, that walking in the valley of grief is a lonely and treacherous journey, and that with each stumbling step, you see less darkness, even as there is less light. I reminded her that when people tell you stupid stuff, like God either needed another angel or another flower in His garden, just do like I did, run to your room, lock the door and keep all the sharp objects in the kitchen. At the end of the conversation, I had tears and she was laughing.
Boomer wisdom wants to remind you that although grief is a personal struggle, its’ story should be shared. To care enough to be open to the pain of those around you who must be able to see and feel a kindred soul is of the utmost importance. Although our paths converge and then move in different circles, we walk in the same tight shoes that at times, restrict our breaths and our hearts. Sharing loss to others newly in this experience is a lovely way to show we care about those who are hurting, even as we still mourn.
Boomer gal prays that your story helps someone to understand that love never ends because life does, but, with leaps and bounds increases exponentially forever and ever and ever. Sharing is caring, in ways, you could never imagine.
Blessings to you all and may every broken heart experience healing through sharing!
In memory of my brother Ron(12/7/1953-5/12/2016)