#1 Dear Steve,
Love letters to my dead brother
Steve was my best friend and losing him is the the most painful experience I have ever gone through in my life.
It has been my intention for some years to write a book as a series of letters to him of all the things I have wanted to talk to him about. All the things I want to ask. All the family experiences he’s missed. I think it will tell a story, a sort of memoir of our lives together, but also show people how to come through grief and live again.
Thursday 13th July 2023
where are you?
I thought you, above all others, would have let me know if there were an afterlife. I thought you would have given me evidence.
I miss you so much. It’s been fifteen years but I still have so much to tell you and ask you. For the first year or so after you left us, things would happen and my immediate thought would be, I must tell Steve. Until it became, I must… and then I… because I would realise even before I got to say your name in my head that you’re not here any more. It would hit me in the chest. I didn’t want to make a fuss so I just let it sit there and ignored it. That watery feeling of loss that ripples up into my throat and eyes like a petulant river.
When you left us it was worse than losing a limb. I felt like I had completely lost my heart. I closed myself in on myself to survive. To function. To be there for Ollie and Jasper. They’re young men now. Ollie said, ‘not again,’ when we told him. He grasped straight away the enormity of losing another family member only eight months after we lost his brother Luke.
You were so kind to come back from Japan to support us. I am grateful for that. Grateful that we had you in our lives for that eight months. Speaking to you almost every day. It really helped me. Mum thinks you might not have died though if you hadn’t come back. Blames the driver that caused Luke’s death for bringing you here. Who knows? Maybe it is fate. Maybe we are destined to die at a certain time and that’s that, whatever we do.
None of us knows what’s around the corner.
I still long to see your sapphire eyes and cheeky grin, feel the support of your bike leathers as we hug each other and say goodbye, the smell of the road.
So much has changed in the world. You wouldn’t believe half of it. Or maybe you would. But phones are now mini computers. People have them in their pockets, and bedrooms, use them as alarm clocks, let people have access to themselves 24 hours a day! They literally never switch off! I remember you saying you found mobile phones made you too accessible and that was when we could only call or text from them.
I have no idea if you are going to receive this. I am feeling slightly mad even contemplating sending it. I doubt you would think me mad. You would think that doing something mad and daring and well… honest was just what everyone should be doing. Not pleasing the crowd.
Steve, how can I reach you? How can I know you’re still here like you promised me you always would be, by my side? I want to hear your words so much. I want to feel your acceptance. Your unconditional love.
Perhaps I am going mad. Perhaps I shouldn’t do this. Perhaps I shouldn’t be sharing it either. Would you mind? Would you mind me sharing my thoughts to the world? To strangers? Would you mind me sharing our stories? Our history?
I had tingles you know thinking about doing this. It was an idea I had years ago to write a book of letters to you. To explore what that would feel like. I didn’t start it though. Too afraid of failing. Too afraid of being vulnerable. Too much work. But it kept coming back, this idea. So here I am.
Did I ever tell you that the only ‘A’ I got in English at school was for writing letters. It was after I read a book that was written purely with letters telling the story of a woman’s life and that of her family. It was called A Woman of Independent Means but I forget the author. I have always been useless at remembering authors names. Funny that because that’s exactly what I need to be, an independent woman. Ashley is heading into his Autumn years. He has a really bad back with a prolapsed disc. Could you imagine such a fit and healthy man such as him furniture walking and barely able to sit?
Things are changing. And I have nothing to show for years of hard work. Years of supporting him in his business. I should have put money aside for me to live on in case… But I didn’t. It’s okay. We’ll work it out. I’m not scared any more. I have been through a lot worse.
But I don’t think I could do a job now. I mean I have supported him and run a home. The three boys are all here now. Jasper hasn’t left yet. Just finishing his Open University Degree in Cyber Security. You may well ask what that is! But things have changed so much since you left… He wants to be a professional hacker!
The other two came back. Jake’s travelled a lot. You would be proud of him. It took a while for him to comethrough the trauma of losing his brother and sort his head out but he’s come full circle and back more to my way of thinking.
Ollie wants to be a Politician but burned himself out working through Covid. Of course you won’t know what that is either.
I wish I could talk to you. Explain. It would be much quicker if we could just have a conversation. Life has changed.
Can you hear me? Are you here watching over my shoulder as I type? Are you right by my side like you promised you always would be when you went to Japan?
I’m listening to the tingles now. Other people get them when I tell them my idea. How I am going to write to you and send it out into the universe via the internet and see what happens. Internet is huge now. People rarely get off it. Everything seems to depend on it. Everything getting automated and virtual. Even combine harvesters can be run by computers. No people needed! It makes me wonder if people wil be needed in the future at all. Certainly it looks like there won’t be many jobs left for people.
I’ve had to do a lot of work on myself. Spent thousands sorting out my shit! But it’s time. It’s time to be me. To be a fully expressed me! I’m sure you would agree if you were here. You always wondered why I didn’t just get on and do what I loved. Well I’m doing it now, fully embracing myself warts and all! Ha ha…
There’s a super cool tool on this guys website that I found to work out your Values in life. Remember doing those on the NLP course and it taking hours? This takes about twenty minutes/half an hour and BOOM! You get a pie chart to print out.
Guess what mine are now? They’ve changed quite a lot.
Authenticity. I call this True Self. I kept hearing and seeing those words the last few years. Now I am writing a blog about it. I have been shedding old layers and identity as I become more myself. It’s not always pleasant for those around me adjusting to a more assertive, more knowing more boundaried version of Karen though! Ha ha…
Expression! Yes I believe everyone deserves to be fully expressed, whatever that means to them. I am painting again. Haven’t done that since school. And I F**king LOVE it! Well love colour. Most of it’s a mess. But it makes me feel so good.
Yes and I swear more now. That feels good too. To be more expressive. I start to talk and it just pops out, when I am not editing myself to please others. I blame Jake. He’s working on site doing ground works and the language there is pretty… well laddish! I’m sure you can imagine.
Family - of course. They will never be far away from my heart. But this also includes friends now too. And Carmen is back!
I’ve noticed over the years I made friends with people who really weren’t like me for various reasons. Friends who were loud, pushy and seemed confident. I think I thought I could get a leg up somehow from them, like they knew more than me. But really they were often people who were insecure in themselves but hid it behind a wall of pretend confidence. I mistook that for them being themselves. I think they actually wanted something from me. Used me maybe. That doesn’t happen any more. I now have friends just like me, ordinary, caring and kind, who just want to hang out and have some fun.
Nature - still can’t get enough walks and elements! The smell of the earth. The wind in my hair. Sun on my skin. Mmm… I was walking my neighbours dogs but they have got a bit fat and slow. I thought for years I would have another dog myself but I know I don’t want the responsibilty of looking after anything else. We have cats which are much easier. I still walk in the woods for hours several times a week. Still talk to you there. Do you hear me?
Freedom :-) I am getting more and more a sense of what this means for me. I think the Gold is in the Emotions. That if we as humans can feel all the feels without attachment that is pure joy. The Ups AND the Downs… Why didn’t they teach us this stuff in school? Why did I have to wait decades to learn it and even longer to EMBODY it! Still a work in progress. ;-)
Steve, please let me know you’re alright. Please connect with me if you can. I know you’re not of this world any more. But I love you and miss you.
Lots of love, hugs and kisses,
Your Ever Loving Sister,
XX Karen XX
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From my True Self to Yours
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