#3 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. And I’ve been through a lot!
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 things I need to express to him. 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 3rd August 2023
so you are there! Or at least my imagination would have it so.
You shouldn't have left when you did. You shouldn't have left at the very time I needed you most. How could you do that!? How could you leave me after you spent all that energy getting back from Japan for us?
I wasn’t right. I was pushing through, but I wasn’t right! Even thoug I told you I was. I lied to you like I lied to everyone including myself.
Everything flipped from support for me to being told to... well stop crying. Not those closest to me in so many words. People wanted me to be okay so I acted like I was but I was slowly dying inside.
I thought I had to be strong for everyone else. I didn't feel I was allowed to grieve again. It was too much too soon for everyone.
It was hard on the boys. I couldn't let them watch me disintegrate again. I shut down and suppressed my emotions. It was an unconscious act. Did I tell you this already? You won’t believe what the menopause has done to my brain. It’s not funny so don’t start!
Anyway… I thought I was being strong. I thought that being strong was knuckling down and getting on with things. At least it looked that way on the outside I think.
I got interviewed by the local press several times. They wanted to know my opinions on road policy, the court verdict etc.
One journalist asked me if I was sorted. He said I sounded like I was but he couldn’t quite believe it because of what we had been through. I said I was, beaming inside at the recognition. I thought I was. I really believed it. But I was in my head and ignoring my body, so it was numb and heavy and at the same time screaming at me in a way. I just didn’t know how to listen to it. I didn’t realise what was happening.
I shut down more. I know so much now. Body chemistry is affected by emotions and emotions not allowed to move through us, persistently affect body chemistry. The body keeps trying to rebalance and to find flow but our minds get in the way of us allowing that. Our egos are narcissists always thinking they know best whilst destroying us. I think my ego is more afraid of dying than I am afraid of physically dying.
Why am I telling you this? Do you even care out there where you are now?
I suppose I am reminding myself. Re-remembering what I've learned. Reinforcing it.
The thing is our teacher, you know the one I mean, he was a very clever man and a good teacher but he was cut off from his own emotions.
Teaching us to 'manage' emotions just became another way for me to suppress them. Which was the very opposite of what I needed to do, of what we all need to do!
E- motions need to move and be expressed. And they need to be expressed safely. Especially anger. Especially sadness. We need safe places to do this and we need safe people around us to be able to do it without judgement.
But people don't know what to do or say when you're grieving. 'That's ok,' I say, 'just say that - I don't know what to say- or is there anything I can do to help?'
To be honest there is NOTHING anyone can do in those first excruciating months except be there for you.
Of course, you often don't know what you need or even want when you're grieving. Except of course that you want your loved one back which is impossible. Then the anger comes and if not expressed it eats you up. A simmering volcanoe. It pops out unexpectedly sometimes over the littlest things, hurting the people that love you most and are still there for you, doing their best but just as lost with it all as you are. They don't want to see you upset. They don't want to see you hurting. So you try to hide it from them. Try to get on. Try to keep functioning even though you just want to lie down and cry or sometimes die yourself. It's all normal. These feelings. These thoughts.
I know that now. I knew it then but I couldn’t allow it. Couldn't fully embody the knowing. I am still learning.
I told mum I was writing to you. I told her I was publishing these letters. She says she still thinks of you up there at the bar with Luke and others who’ve passed, drinking but now drinking water. Strange. I have no idea why she said water but she thought it was funny.
Some people have told me we had a ‘soul contract’ you and I. I don't even fucking know what that means really. I kind of want to believe it in a way but I think they’re making it up to make meaning out of life and death and trauma, to explain why we’re here and have to suffer. They say that as spirits we made some kind of contract. They say that we would go through these experiences, in our lives, in order to learn the lessons that we need to learn, while we're here in these human bodies. Apparently if we don’t learn the lessons then the person we have the contract with does the terrible thing that wakes us up to the lesson. I had never come across this concept before and I don't know if it's true and I don't fucking care. Because I would rather have you back right here in physical form by my side and not learn the lesson whatever it is!
What's the point in life to just die?
Thank you for replying.
Though it hurts to read your words I want to feel and mostly I want to feel connected to you again.
Lots of love, hugs and kisses,
XX Karen XX
PS. I love that you still write hugs with back to front brackets. )))SW(((
We have things called emojis now. They are faces and symbols that represent emotions. Of course we know Granny invented them really. Remember how she would draw faces amongst her writing?