One of my fondest memories of my brother was when he took a Greyhound bus from Fort McMurray to Edmonton.
Anyone who knew Michael knows he could sleep anywhere and anytime. So as he would he fell asleep while the bus was driving.
If you knew him you’d also know that he is incredibly bad at waking up. Like I’m talking he will swing at you. Which increases my awe of the stranger who became a good Samaritan in this short story.
Him and another passenger were the last people on the bus. As he came out from the bus I could see him wave goodbye to an older Asian lady. I thought maybe he knew her.
Once he was in my car and we are on our way he kind of chuckled out of nowhere and I asked him what was so funny. He told me that he had fallen asleep on the bus right at the first hour of the five hour drive. And that lady had tried to wake him up once once bus stopped.
He said that the lady didn’t have very strong English skills but he kept hearing her say over and over “way up!”
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.
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.
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.