Lindsay, my older brother and only sibling, died in a car accident on Easter Sunday in April, 1985. He was to turn 20 in two months. I was 17 years old and full of dreams and hopes for my future, which were to change forever. Lindsay was not only my brother, but my best friend, my ally and my hero. We stuck together through our parents marriage breakdown and the turbulence that came from that, through both parents remarrying and the issues that come from trying to meld two families, not too successfully in our case. We were as close as a brother and sister could be, and I was lost. All the enthusiasm I once had disappeared. All my hopes for a normal life, which I had never had to question before, were gone.
When he died, I was selfish. I only cared about how much I had lost, how much I was hurting and how much I wanted him back. I was fully aware of my parents’ grief also, particularly my father, and it broke my heart to see him so shattered. That in itself added to my grief because I found myself constantly worried about my father and how would he ever be able to find peace after losing his only son.
I remember my first contact with The Compassionate Friends Victoria and though there was no sibling support at that time, the bereaved mums who would answer the phone always had time to sit and talk to me and listen to me cry and work through my anger. I attended my first sibling support group at the centre in Canterbury nearly 20 years after Lindsay had died, and for me it was like a fog lifting. It was the first time I had been able to talk to others like me, feeling the same loss and anger and utter sadness that I felt. Of course I had friends, wonderful friends, who tried so hard to be there for me. But it got wearing for them, and they had to move on – I was stuck.
As the years have passed, my grief has changed. I still miss my brother terribly, and I grieve the things that should have been. That we should have been at each other’s 21st Birthdays, weddings, the birth of our children and all that comes with that. For my children not having an uncle and aunty and cousins. But I have also found a kind of peace, largely due to being able to help others through my association with The Compassionate Friends.
31 May 2011