Domestic Felicity

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Thoughts on the death of my brother

MiscellaneousChristina Gavenda2 Comments

I'm a terrible blogger. I don't think it's a good idea to use social media as your primary way to feel connected with the world. In fact, I know it's a terrible idea. People were meant to touch, talk, listen, empathize and look in each other's eyes.

With that said, there have been a couple of blogs over the years whose owners were honest about their losses that I have found very useful. People who opened up about very personal experiences in a way that was not unhealthily dependent on the "internet people" hearing them, but sought to give a voice to others who also knew loss...

My brother committed suicide. He wasn't sober. He was desperate and not thinking straight.

The days full of adrenaline were unexpected and exhausting. The thoughts of his loneliness in those moments unbearable.

Almost a month later, what's left?

Guilt. Moments of piercing saddness. A desire to be angry at him.

Life is often normal, but with a threatening storm cloud always overhead.

I think of my parents and their crushing loss...

The guilt is incredible... What if I had gotten his prints of our family portrait to him for his fridge like he'd asked? Would he have thought of us and stepped away? What if I had been more supportive of his hobbies? What if I had listened more compassionately? What if my husband had developed a closer friendship with him? What if I had offered our house to him more often? Offered to come and get him and bring him down for a visit? What if I had taken his threatening words a few days earlier more seriously?

I can't change any of that, I don't need your words of affirmation.

I have read a few blog and article series on how to help your grieving friend that I've found helpful in the past, Molly at has a great series, she hasn't blogged in over a year but is a great resource. Also, Amy at has a great series on the death of her daughter. They both can offer so much more on this topic than I can.

What I can say is, if you love someone who is experiencing a life altering, wounding loss is:

I can tell the difference between people who have taken a moment to ask themselves, "How would I feel if my young sibling died or committed suicide? What would it do to my family?" and those who have not. When they look me in the eye and say, "I am so very, very sorry." It means more than any card, any word of advice or comfort can.

They took a moment of their life to witness our grief, to share it, and then say so.

What a gift- to share a burden.