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Andrea| 4 years | Brother

What were some of his quirks?

“Everyone  remembered him for his belly laugh, straight from his stomach, just the  funniest chuckle which is something I can still hear. He was known for  being selfless, and always wanting to take care of everyone else before  himself.”

Can you describe your grief journey?

“It’s  something that you imagine will never happen to you, and so when it  does, you don’t really know how to handle it. One of the hardest things  for me is just understanding that it actually happened. I think it’s so  easy for us to mentally block out that something like that would have  ever occurred. My brother lived in New York and I didn’t see him more  than twice a year after he went to college, so it was kind of easy to  think that I might see him over the next holidays.”

What is one pro and one con of your loss?

“A  pro is that I absolutely have become a better person. A lot of other  friends have experienced close loss and I’ve been able to be a better  friend to them. It’s not just because I can empathize - I think it’s  that I know I don’t have to skirt around the subject. I can talk to them  about it, I can ask them the right questions, I can be there for them  in a way that is only possible through experiencing what I went through  and to me that’s a huge pro. It helps me ground myself that even though  this happened, there are better things that have come from it. A con is  that I was very sensitive to other things going on in my environment,  especially in the first year of experiencing the loss of my brother. It  was very hard for me to empathize with individuals that were complaining  about their job or talking to me about something that I perceived to be  so insignificant or inconsequential to what I was experiencing. I ended  up just comparing other situations to mine.”

What are three words to describe your grief journey?

“Fluctuating, lonely, but warm.”

What has shocked you about grief?

“I’m  so used to always progressing, getting better at something, and  completing things, and that’s not the case with grief. It is never over,  but just being at peace with that reality has helped. I’m still  acknowledging that it’s going to suck that he’s not there for so many  milestones of my life and that I don’t get to see his life continue but  I’m doing well and will carry on with this path.”

How do you celebrate his life?

“My  brother loves gin and tonics so every year on his anniversary I make  one to honor him. I will find myself either on a rooftop deck in San  Francisco or out in the woods, and I celebrate his life by toasting to  him.” 

Published by Luna Peak Foundation, pages 40-41. Copyright 2021.

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