How News of the Loss of a Brother Hits You

By Frances who experienced the loss of her dearly beloved big brother when he was 40 and she was only 23. 

Some people tend to imply that the loss of a brother is not as painful as that of the loss of a parent or a partner, but I beg to disagree. The pain and the void are no different. Losing a brother will be like coming home to an empty house. For the first time, you will miss the annoying sound of his bullying. You will search for the messy clothes scattered on the sofa, or expect him to be snatching your food at any moment.. You will look around and see a peaceful house without his crazy antics, loud laughter, and petty fights, but you know that this was not the peace you wanted. Silence has never been this uncomfortable.

This is how his absence sets in. You lost your best friend and your worst enemy at the same time. You will go into his room, sit on his bed, and hold on to every little thing that still bears his presence. His scent will linger along with the fading memories of all your good times. The pain will creep slowly into your system, and a part of you does not want to believe it yet. He was just here yesterday, calling you funny names and teasing you over the phone. He was just here reminding you that you cannot have a boyfriend unless they beat him at some stupid games. He was just here loving you in a subtle and weird way as every brother does. Who would have thought that he would be gone in a blink of an eye?


Woman grieving the loss of a brother

Braving Through Your Brother’s Death

The acceptance will not spread like wildfire. Instead, it will be a slow burn. His death will sink in slowly as if it is just a bad dream and there is still a chance to wake up. You will wrap yourself in memories of the good old days when life was as simple as playing heroes and villains. Your big brother was always your brave knight who would come to save you from monsters and bad guys. You will smile at the memory of him being your real-life hero against all the bullies in school and the jerks who came to break your young heart. And as you go through this painful stage, you have no other wish but for him to come and rescue you.

But you know that it is never going to happen anymore.

You know he is not coming back, so you have to take over his role and save yourself. You will have to endure the harshness of the world without your hero. There will be days that you have to cry alone. There will be victories you will celebrate without being completely happy. There will be good days that would have been better if he was here, ruffling your hair or patting your back.

The pain will be comparable to breaking your leg and losing your crutches, except that this pain has no end. You will fall on your knees and feel helpless because he was always one of your strengths. Your backbone. Your lifeline.

Regrets will then flood your thoughts. You should have been a better sibling. You should have ditched classes and come home to his birthday had you known his years were numbered. You should have appreciated every irritating tease while it lasted and told him how you love him still.

You should have answered his last call to you that you chose to cancel because you were in a bad mood.

And you wish you could turn back time.

Things You Wish Someone Had Told You

But the hardest part is that death does not come in manuals. No one will tell you what lies ahead and what you should do to cope. No one will tell you how to grieve properly and how to heal quickly. Sometimes, there is nothing that you can do but sigh as you stare at the empty seat he used to occupy during family dinners. You wish someone would pull you out of this misery, but you know it does not get any better. You know this will not pass easily. You know that the pain will last with the memories, and somehow, it is a comfort to feel every tingle of it because it reminds you of the life that he had. The yesterdays that you shared.

How to Live On After the Loss of a Brother

Here's what I’d like to say to others who are living with the loss of a brother . . .

Be strong. There will be dark days ahead, but he did not save you from your problems before, only for you to give up after his death. Embrace the pain as if enduring it will make him proud of you. I know it will never be okay, but he would have wiped your tears and laughed at your messy face if he was here. He would tell you to be strong and to live for him. He would tell you to continue breathing no matter how painful it is to live without him. 

Live the life that he wanted for you. 
Go to places he always dreamed of going to. 
Chase the dreams you once told him you would reach.
Take him with you as you move forward. 
Honor him in every step of the way. 
And remember him. 
He may have taken his eternal rest, but you were one of the reasons why his life was well lived. 

Whisper to the winds all the words you longed to say to him as if he is here – because he lives on . . .

   through the memories you kept in your heart.
   through the everlasting love you continue to give him.
   through the person you have become.

It will be a long and painful journey towards healing, but you are your brother’s sibling. You are stronger than you think, and he will forever be proud of you.

Related Pages: 

Loss of a brother in a fire accident

How to deal with the loss of a sibling

Eulogy for the loss of a brother

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