#5 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.
Friday 18th August 2023
you ask, how does it feel to be more raw, authentic and honest? It scares the shit out of me!
I love it and hate it!
I want it more than anything and I cower away from it, still afraid of failure. Still afraid of judgement. Still afraid of rejection.
It burns a hole in me to be my True Self.
My body revels in it sometimes and yet it holds on to so much pain still so I can’t embody it fully. So much fear. It still doesn’t feel safe.
I can’t push it, as it gets tighter. The tightness is like a hard leather belt around my middle. It’s suffocating. It pulls inwards and upwards under my ribs. Presses down on my belly. It’s like a steel fist in the middle of my back.
I sometimes feel in flow. Creative, fun, humourous, expressive, pure magic, full of energy.
At it’s best I feel like I am having so much clarity and insight. It’s expansive and feels like a dance. That’s how life should be, like a dance.
There’s a part of me that still can’t let go completely. A part that thinks I’m crazy for sharing so openly. A part that thinks it’s unsafe.
It doesn’t want me to get hurt and yet it’s hurting me anyway. But it doesn’t believe me. It believes it is the only thing that can save me.
It’s expansive when I am in flow. Unbreakable. Strong. Fearless.
We’re here to feel it all you say. I feel but it’s like my body doesn’t want me to feel so it keeps trying to shut down again and again and again. Like it’s too much. Like I’m not allowed. I want to feel but can’t, not like when Luke died and I felt EVERYTHING for a few weeks.
What could you have done to help me back then? You came back. I thought that was enough. When I said I was okay you could have challenged me on that. You could have asked: Is it true? But I can only know this in retrospect.
And if you were struggling as you say you were, and you were needing help yourself, you wouldn’t have wanted to know I was not okay, that I was dying inside. You were protecting yourself from my pain and dealing with your own. I understand that now as I did then.
My stress levels are pretty high at the moment. The garden is all overgrown. I can’t do it on my own. It does attract more wildlife though. We had a sparrowhawk visit yesterday and a little hedgehog is a regular hoovering up the left over cat food. We still feed the feral cats that help to keep the rats away. Only two now. An old guy we call Brutus because he used to terrorise our domestic cats. He, like others before him, now treats our garden as his retirement home.
To add to the stress, the new door to the kitchen is not working properly and the light that had to be disconnected not working at all. That’s why my body is holding on so much. Too many things that are out of my control going on. It’s really uncomfortable. I am hoping when Ashley has his surgery next week things will begin to get easier.
I plan to convalesce with him. He won’t be able to work for six weeks. Six weeks off! Unheard of in the twenty seven years we have been together. Last year we had one weeks holiday in the summer and a week for Christmas when we had flu. He doesn’t like to take time off but that impacts the rest of us. I’m tired.
Life living with others is full of compromise and sometimes you have to draw the line. I am trying to draw lines. I am trying to work out where I place my stick in the ground and say ENOUGH! I am trying to remain kind and compassionate as I figure out my boundaries.
I have told the boys that if they haven’t gone by Christmas I’ll leave instead. ‘Where will you go?’ I was asked. Good question! I was only joking of course. But it’s time they flew.
Life used to be a lot simpler. Do you remember that conversation we had about being grateful to be brought up in the seventies? Enough gadgets to make life a little easier but not so many that they took over our lives.
I feel like most people are overloaded and overwhelmed. Too much choice and not enough freedom.
The weather has been shit this summer. Cold and dry, then warmer but wet . I long for heat and sunshine that reaches my bones. I long for the sumptuousness of bathing in warm seas.
What is it like where you are?
Lots of love, hugs and kisses,
XX Karen XX