Death is a terrorist

I’ve never been one to fear death. Yes, I’ve always been aware of it, maybe just something about the closeness of my brothers passing that brought new light to it. I’m not sure.

I don’t think it’s the death I fear I think it’s the inconvenience to my family and my friends. The change. And knowing it’s the end of life here.

The knowing at anytime my life could be taken and what heartache that would cause my Mum. I’m not sure how she would survive that.

With that comes a brand new feeling. I have also recently discovered the feeling of death anxiety. Something brand new to me. There is a certain level of fear connected to death anxiety. Fear of dying, which also brings out this odd fear of living at the same time.

I’ve never struggled with anxiety. I have always enjoyed being social. Now, I get the worst anxiety before I have to do something out of the house. I can handle the occasional grocery store run or gas station stop. But I have to be prepared. If I have plans with friends, driving there all I can think about is how to not die, all while thinking about the ways I could die being outside of the house. Such a bizarre feeling. I can’t wait for the summer so I can be outside, but still at home.

Every day is still a struggle to convince myself this is the new normal. That my brother is no longer here. I never would have thought in a million years that my 44 year old brother would die of a heart attack. Completely insane. It will never be ok.

I miss you so much, Michael. We all do.

I’m not mad at you, 2019. Just disappointed

What started off as a great new year surprised us all shortly in last year. Being a new year, I now have to say my brother died last year.

Wednesday March 27th, 2019 is the day he had his heart attack and he died 4 days later. March 31st, the day everything changed.

Nothing will ever be the same. Birthdays, Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, Oiler games, summer, winter, concerts, funny show’s, one liners, jokes-good or bad. I could go on, but the point is NOTHING IS THE SAME without my brother.

I have pictures on my phone from when he was in the hospital attached to tubes, bags and monitors. I still can’t bring myself to even look at them. I took them so that when he woke up I could show him what he looked like so maybe he would understand how scared we were. Had I known that he wouldn’t recover I would never have taken them. I’m not sure I will ever look at them.

My feelings remain the same almost 10 months later. Although I am not mad about it anymore, I do still wonder why everyday. For me not understanding why it happened is the hardest. There simply is no reason. They say everything happens for a reason, but I’m not convinced. For this, there is no reasonable explanation. And I guess that’s okay.

I miss you so much, Michael. We all do.

Seek and Balance

There are a lot of emotions and feelings that happen after you lose your brother that nobody talks about.

In my case, my only sibling was my brother. There is this brand new fear of death. I was never scared of death much before he passed away. Maybe it’s not so much a fear of death and more like pressure to live.

Pressure to live, to not have my Mum go through something like that pain again. Pressure to live and to continue doing the things my brother loved. So he knows that every day I think of him. Everyday. I still have a hard time not crying, at least fight back tears at the mention of his name. Sometimes it only takes a thought of him and I’m triggered.

Lately my emotions get confused and shuffle themselves and buddy up. This new hybrid-emotion I’ve  started feeling is something like a frustration-rage. I have no idea how it happens, but I’m sure it falls somewhere within the grieving process.

It doesn’t last too long, thankfully and if I’m fortunate enough for it to happen while I’m driving I can usually balance my self out with the help of some music.

My People

I miss you so much, Michael. We all do.

Happy Birthday Michael

November 24 1974 to March 31 2019

My brother was always so excited for anyone’s birthday. Not just birth-day but birth-week. He loved to celebrate any occasion. He was usually the guy who sends the most ridiculous cards, memes or picture messages.

He always had a very unique way of making everyone feel so special, no matter the occasion. We are all truly blessed for having known Kool Mike. He made this world a better place.

This week brings us his first birthday away from us. It’s all I can think about, and is literally sucking the life from inside me. This grief is unlike anything I’ve ever felt before. Tonight at dinner my mum and I caught eyes and looking into her eyes I could see exactly what I was feeling.

Next is Christmas, kind of a terrible double header of extremely sad firsts. I know it’s not going to be easy, this next month, but I will try to keep myself busy, healthy and happy.

Happy Birthday Michael. I miss you so much, we all do.

A Day To Remember

November 11th, we take time to remember those who gave their lives so we could live ours. Free and in peace. Those who sacrificed all they had. Some returned home to their families, and some were not that fortunate.

Each year that passes brings even more to remember. More lives lost in this past year. So much to be grateful for as each day passes. Family, health and friends.

I miss you, Michael. We all do.

Death comes and goes with it’s many faces

The past few weeks have been a heavy weight on the heart. My mother in law, who has courageously battled cancer for many years has decided on a medically assisted death.

I can’t agree or disagree with this because I have never experienced this before. What I can say is I am proud of her decision. I admire her strength to be able to make that decision. And ultimately, it’s her decision and she has made it. It’s what she thinks is best.

The level of dignity in that decision is how we all should come to an end. No more pain for all. I know it seems strange to think about and many are not that fortunate. And possibly the most important thing at that time is to know how loved that person was. To be surrounded by your family, who loves you and wishes the pain would go away.

No matter the size of their family, big or small. Coming together to celebrate life and love is what matters most.

Memories really are the best things well ever have.

World’s Greatest Gift

Recently this showed up at our place. I had purchased a subscription for my brother last Christmas, 2018.

I kind of forgot about it actually. I was so proud that after all these years I finally found him the perfect gift. He was so excited when he got the first one. I think he only enjoyed the first magazine before he had his heart attack in March.

He used to spend all of his money on the same things growing up- fireworks, Popular Science, Popular Mechanics, and candy. And any left over money went to more candy.

It breaks my heart that he didn’t even get to enjoy his whole subscription. Just another reason that his death wasn’t fair. Every day I find at least one more reason.

I miss you, Michael. We all do.

I’ll Always Have Google, I Guess.

There have been so many feelings lately. My go-to, how-to, how do I guy is no longer here to answer questions or just be there to do things I’ve never done before. Or to show me how to do those things.

Growing up I always had a fear of lawnmowers. Well the time came a few years back  when I had asked my brother to come show me how to use my new lawnmower.

Away he went, around the yard, over and over. When there was just a small patch left he turned to me and asked “wanna try?” I said, no, I’m still scared. So gladly he finished it. That was one of my favorite days with him. He never complained about the work anytime throughout the process.

I guess I’ll always have Google to tell me how to do something, or YouTube to show me. But nothing will come close to the brotherly love I’ve been used to my whole life.

I miss you so much, Michael. We all do.

Memories are all we’ll ever have

This past weekend we moved my brothers family into their new home. It’s the end of a chapter and the beginning of a new one. It was truly wonderful to see all the help from his friends. The original crew mostly. Fort McMurray old school came to help out. It’s amazing to see how many people he touched that are here for our family.

It was an empty feeling standing in his bedroom where he had his heart attack. Such a sad feeling. I often wonder if he knew what was happening that morning. Did he feel it coming on? Was he scared? Or did it happen so fast his body was unaware? I have so many questions that will go unanswered.

I just hope he knows the amount of love and prayers that surrounded him in his final days. At times, I would have guessed there were close to 50 people in the hospital waiting area. Out pouring of such strong love. From miles away. Old friends, new friends.

Michael’s Remember Me Table at his service. April 13,2019

At his memorial service we had close to 300 signatures in his guest book. It was a very overwhelming day. However sad it was, it was filled with so much joy and love for one person. I don’t think my mum realized just how special he was to so many people. I know I had to take a second to take it all in before my speech. As short as it was, it felt like forever, I think because it was the largest crowd I had ever spoken in front of. I also knew if I went into too much detail about Michael it would have been extremely hard to make it through the whole thing.

Most endings are usually followed by a new beginning. In this case we hope it is a happy beginning.

I miss you, Michael. We all do.

Is Anyone Ever Ready To Become The Only Child?

Michael on his 40th birthday

Another question I’ll never know the answer to. I never imagined my brother would suddenly die in my early forties.

This was never the way it was supposed to go. We were going to be old and funny. Go to the mall for lunch, A&W For breakfast, rent mobility aid scooters, get discounted deals everywhere. Simply because we were old, and lived life. Celebrating being old.

I imagine Scot and I will still do these things, but it won’t be the same. I won’t have my big brother. The guy who always had the answers to all my questions. Every single one.

I’ve had so many questions buzzing in my head since he died. I’ve missed him so much and so many times. I’ve done so many things that I would have shared with him. He truly brought the best out in everyone.

I miss you, Michael ❤Always and forever. ❤

Who Needs Mascara, Anyway?

I haven’t worn mascara since March, 2019. I just couldn’t seem to keep it on without it turning to a streaky mess. I’ve come to the point where I am comfortable without it now.

Grief often feels like when you’re driving down a road you’ve never been down before. Except there aren’t many signs which tell you which way to go.                                        

William A. Switzer Provincial Park

I think about my brother every day. All day. I just have so many questions to ask. Not ask him but someone, or something. I guess the hardest question would be why? Why did this happen? I’ll never ever get an answer to that question. Nobody ever does. Maybe as days go by you just start to wonder less.

I miss you, Michael. We all do.

First Annual Mike Lowe Golf Tournament

Hole #1 ❤

On Saturday August 10, 2019 we celebrated my brother and held the first ever Mike Lowe Memorial Golf Tourney. We had about 36 golfers and all proceeds will go to The Royal Alex CK Hui Heart Clinic. Michael spent the last 5 days of his life there.

This event was incredible. We managed to raise quite a lot of money for the hospital.

We had a great team of volunteers, sponsors and players. Rosie’s was the host bar and provided some drinks, lunch and dinner. I’d like to extend a huge shout out to The Bradshaw’s, Melissa, Erin Hardie, Susan and Wayne and the Rocky Mountain Ice House , Regal Steel, HSE, Edmonton Exchanger, and The Sicilian Pasta Kitchen South for their generous donations.

It’s so surreal still for me to think my brother really isn’t here with us. Listening to people talk and remember all the good times, and to have a toast to him, it’s crazy. It really doesn’t feel real yet.

I’m not totally convinced it ever will.

I miss you, Michael. We all do.