From the time I lost my brother who had developmental disabilities, I searched for anyone to possibly understand what I was going through. I was a child merely 18 years old, two months into college, and his sudden death turned my whole world upside down. I remember sitting next to him at the hospital completely broken down hysterically crying as life support was ended. Returning to campus only days later, I didn’t know what to think or do. The perspective and priorities by all those around me seemed worlds different than mine, at least that’s how I felt. Completely alone and that no one could possibly understand what I had just seen, or what the lifetime of grief I am starting again, at age 18.
Fast forward to age 24, on the exact day that would have been my brother’s 28th birthday, and I am sitting on my bed, in our house, holding my husband’s hand as he takes his last breath. It was consistent with almost two years of holding him through countless treatments, procedures and surgeries, painful nights, emotional breakdowns, denial, and hospital week-long stays. We were married for 6 weeks. Just enough time to go to London and Paris, buy a home, move in, see the life in front of us that we were building. And in a matter of hours, it was all completely shaken to the core by a cancer diagnosis.
I had thought about writing about my brother after it happened, so young people in a similar situation could read my story and hopefully feel like they weren’t alone. And after my husband passed, I really felt the urge to write my story down. I felt like I had one of those stories that is on Ellen or The Today Show – it’s an odd as hell feeling. I thought I might as well try to help someone else’s grieving experience if I possibly can, and maybe meanwhile it will help me with my own.