Grieving…How Much Time Does It Take To Heal?

    I was so excited that I was going home to visit my brother. I had four more days to go until I would see him. I could barely contain my excitement.
   Instead I get a phone call from his wife telling me that she had come home from the Fair and he had died in their living room of a heart attack. He was 43 years of age.
   My excitement turned to disbelief, outrage and pure and complete shock…then anger.
   There was no way that my brother was gone from this earth. He was younger than I was and he was healthy and strong and this was a cruel joke.
   I didn’t want to believe that he was gone. I was upset that he was taken so suddenly when he had so much life to give. How could he be robbed of his breath when I was still here living and breathing and surviving?
   What would I do without him? We didn’t see each other often, but he was a constant shoulder to lean on, a source of inspiration, and a jokester.
   He was my baby brother. I used to read him bedtime stories and watched him when at the age of two, he took a screwdriver and took apart his highchair, screw by screw. He used to help my dad on the farm, and knew terminology at the age of four that would make a licenced mechanics’ head spin. He was so smart and so cute and I loved him unconditionally.
   He was also the baby brother who tortured my friends and me relentlessly when we were growing up.
   There was nothing he wouldn’t do as a child. How many times did he listen in on girl to girl private stuff and blab our chitter chatter to our parents? How many times did he mimic me and make fun of me having a crush on a boy? The worst was him reading my diary and my most private thoughts.
   And even though I can recall all those things and at the time, they were a big deal and he embarrassed me constantly and seemed to thrive on making me uncomfortable…I would give anything to have him here again.
   All those things from the past ended up to be great conversations for the future. We would laugh over his pranks while drinking coffee and sharing stories of our children.
   This brings me to my question which should be logical but I am having a hard time grasping it. Grieving…How much time does it take to heal?
   Some people lose someone and a week later, they pick up the pieces and resume life where it left off before the tragedy. Some people can’t fathom the thought of going through life without their beloved person by their side.
   Psychiatrists, psychologists and clinical personnel say that it takes each person their own amount of time, that you can’t put a time limit on it.
   I have just started the grieving process and yet he passed away 5 months ago. I think because I am a nurturer and tend to worry more about what his wife and children are going through than myself that I put grief on the back burner and will deal with it when I am ready. But perhaps, I don’t want to deal with it, because deep down, a part of me will have to admit that it’s true…that he really is gone…that I will never see him again.
   Whatever the reason is, I believe that nobody should tell you that you’ve spent enough time crying and should move on your life. Nobody is you and nobody knows personally what you are going through. Even though they may have lost someone in the past, no two people are alike and the circumstances surrounding death are different.
   It’s still sad when you know someone is dying from a terminal illness and even though you have time to digest that news, does it  prepare you better for when they leave your side and you will never see them again? Only you know the answer to that question.
   When someone is taken from you unexpectedly, I feel you go into shock and don’t have time to say all the things  you should have said when you had the chance…like “I Love You”, “I’m Sorry”, and other conversations you put on hold because lives get busy and you always think there is tomorrow to talk about it.
   If tomorrow never comes for that beloved person, you feel guilty for all the things you could have done or could have said. You feel cheated and alone.
   I feel so sad for his beautiful wife and children who wake up day after day without a husband or a father. I couldn’t imagine my life without my husband. I couldn’t imagine my children without their father.
   His beautiful daughter is 19 and he called her princess and she truly is in every sense of the word. What about her? He saw her high school graduation but what about all those other special occasions that a father should be at…like her engagement party, and perhaps most importantly, her wedding. Even though she may not be thinking of getting married for a long time, a wedding is a special bonding time between father and daughter where his little girl becomes a woman in his eyes. He won’t get a chance to be there to walk her down the aisle, to hold her in his arms for the first dance, to hold her tightly in a bear hug and tell her everything will be all right.
   His handsome son is only 16 and they were best friends. They went dirt biking and snowmobiling together. They worked on their cars together. They had a connection like my brother had with my father…a connection that cut off way before its time. They were suppose to rebuild a car together, and drive the Camero and Mercedes Benz and Hummer together. They shared so much in such a short time. What about him? His father was his buddy and they did so much together. No teenage boy should grow up without the guidance and love of a father.
   His son wants to be a welder like my brother and follow in his dads’ footsteps. His son is quiet just like he was, but is always so protective over his mom.
   His quirks are exactly like my brothers’ and I am sure he teased his sister merciless while growing up.
   Then there is his wife. She can’t accept that my brother is gone. Since he died in their living room, she feels his presence. She hears him in the house. You can call her crazy, but my brother had a routine and I am sure it’s embedded in her mind and in her heart. 
   He used to get up, make himself a cup of coffee, feed the rabbit. She can hear him walking down the stairs, smell the coffee brewing, hear him get the rabbit food.
   She refers to my brother as her soul mate and she will love him unconditionally till the day she dies. She can’t cope with his death and I have never seen anyone so visibly shaken when someone dies. She visits his ashes every day and carries on a conversation with him telling her how much she loves him, how she is mad at him for leaving her and the kids behind, and sharing all the new stories they are creating without him.
   I think she is the strongest person that I know although she thinks she is a mess. She is loyal and faithful to him, even in death, and she is determined to keep his memory alive and vibrant. She still talks about him in the present tense and who can blame her? It’s easier to think they are still here. 
   Life is so unfair at times. Why was he taken before me? Why isn’t he alive so he can rebuild a car engine with his son and watch him graduate from high school?Why can’t he be here to wear a suit and the dreaded tie, and walk his daughter down the aisle, with tears misting in his eye, because it’s the happiest day in his daughters’ life? Why can he be here to share one more kiss, one more laugh, one more tender moment with his wife? Why can’t he be here for me?  
love my sister-in-law and niece and nephew with all my heart and soul and their world stopped when my brothers’ heart stopped. It is a tragic event…so unexpected.
   My words of wisdom to anyone who has lost anyone in their life and are grieving is to take all the time you need to deal with your loss and if you need help coping with it, get counselling because talking about it slowly eases the pain. The pain will never go away completely. It’s been 27 years since my mom committed suicide and I am still grieving.
   No one should judge a person over their grieving time? It’s a process that sometimes isn’t understood by those who have never experienced it.
   There is no mold or blueprint out there that tells you that you should heal overnight.
   Grieving…How Much Time Does It Take To Heal?
   I can’t answer that because I’m still grieving myself.

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