I Can't Believe He's Dead



A young woman wrote that she was from another country but living in the US with her American husband. Maria learned her brother had been killed recently in her country of origin. She was unable to go home for his funeral because she lacked money for travel. Maria couldn’t get over the feeling that her brother wasn’t dead. She wrote: “He feels alive to me but I am so sad for him. Why can’t I believe that he is dead? Please help me.”

Dear Maria,

I am so sorry for the sudden death of your brother. I can think of several reasons that you believe your brother is still alive but you feel sad for him. Of course you are sad--he was your brother and you loved him. You are grieving. His death is still so new. It may be hard for you to believe that he is dead because he was young like yourself. His death is not in the natural order of things.

But, I think it's also possible that your brother still feels alive to you because you did not have a chance to say good-bye to him or go to his funeral. Without actually attending a memorial service, it is difficult to believe that he is dead, especially because you have been unable to grieve with your family.

Consider having your own memorial service for him, even if it is only for you or you and your husband. A special remembrance of your beloved brother might help you to say good-bye. Can you talk to or write your mother? Are you able to contact other family members or friends who attended his funeral? Perhaps you can write or call one of them and ask about the details of his memorial service. This might help you slowly adjust to your loss.

You wrote that your husband is supportive but you are far from home and your family. This makes your grief even more burdensome because effective grief work is not done alone. The most important thing you can do right now is to grieve. Grief needs to cry and cry some more, to talk and talk some more, to remember and remember some more. Surround yourself with people you love and people who love you. Tell your story--often.

You may find comfort now online with others who grieve or eventually find your way to a grief support group. Your grieving heart will tell you what you need to do in order to grieve your brother's death and when you need to do it. Listen to it.

You can visit a web site called Grief Healing and look at the section called 

Death of a Sibling or Twin.

You wrote that you lost your brother "by guns." Click
here for a link to articles about the special grief of traumatic loss including violent death.
Or, try the online discussion group for grievers because there is comfort in connecting with others who grieve.

You found your way to The Grieving Heart® for a reason. Maybe you are doing the very best you can right now. We never know about the divine timing of things. The healing from grief is like a burn: healing (with scars) does occur but we are never the same again. I am certain that your loved one would want you to enjoy life and be happy again—but it takes a very long time. Give yourself the time to grieve. You hurt because you love your brother. You will always love and miss your brother. May he live inside your heart forever.

Wishing you peace and healing,
Christine J.

Death ends a life, but it does not end a relationship.
Robert Anderson

Go to next page: She's Pushing Me Away
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How complicated and individual mending is,
the time required for healing
cannot be measured against any fixed calendar
Mary Jane Moffat
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