52 Comments

  1. Christie, thank you for your words of guidance. Interestingly, we are also dealing with a sudden death – my husband’s younger brother a few weeks ago. Although they were not close (they just had nothing in common except the same parents), it’s hit us both quite hard. Your paragraph “let it propel you forward. Start treating every day like a precious gift. Make the most of every opportunity. Hug your loved ones and tell them how much you care about them. Drop the trivial matters and focus on those things that are meaningful to you. On a daily basis, leave as little unfinished business as you can. ” – that is what I’m focusing on. You articulated it perfectly!

    • I am sorry you are going through this, Pat. Dealing with a sudden death can’t be easy no matter how close or distant you were. I suspect losing a sibling you were not close to has challenges all its own. May you and your husband be well supported and surrounded by love during this difficult time. Here’s to living life fully and embracing each moment!

  2. Christie,
    So very sorry for the loss of your brother. I’m glad you wrote about it, that can be very helpful I think.
    Words sometimes seem inadequate when attempting to comfort someone struggling with grief, but it is – as you said – important to say you are sorry and you are there for them. It’s uncomfortable for many people, but so critical to offer that support and condolence.
    And you are right…the greatest honor is to embrace those close to you and be thankful for their presence in your life.
    Peace and comfort to you and your family.

  3. Shauna Rasmussen

    Christie, I always love your articles; this is beautiful. Most of the loss of our family members have been expected and after long suffering. The last few deaths, however, have been unexpected and tragic. Last month was the second anniversary of the tragic death of my daughter in law’s niece and they are still struggling. It is hard enough to recover from an expected loss, but these tragic accidents hurt in ways that no one can understand. I will share your wisdom and thoughts with my family.
    I miss you so much, but this permanent “vacation” has been great.

    • Hello Shauna! It’s so good to hear from you. I miss you too, but am happy to hear that retirement is treating you well. Thank you for sharing my post with your family. I hope it brings them some small comfort.

  4. Wonderful post Christie and great advice! It’s hard, very hard to lose a dear friend or loved one that you feel had a long life to live and then suddenly they were taken too early! I’ve experienced it twice now and although I can’t say I know how you’re feeling because I don’t exactly, I do know that we must cherish the memories we had of them and don’t ever stop talking about them. We have to let them go on living with us in our thoughts and memories ♥

    • Thank you Dee. You are so right that cherishing the memories and sharing stories of our loved ones keeps them alive within us. Losing loved ones is difficult, but the only other option is not to have any loved ones in the first place. I am truly grateful to have had the time and attention of those that I am now missing.

  5. Cindy

    You’ve said how I feel so perfectly, but didn’t have the words. Thank you. I’m so grateful for our family and that we have each other. I can’t imagine not having others who knew, loved and miss Bryan like I do. I love you 💛

    • We are pretty lucky to have each other, aren’t we Cindy? I hadn’t thought about it quite like that–how lonely it would be to miss someone all by yourself. I love you!

  6. Larry

    Such beautiful words my dear, he would be touched for sure.
    One of the hardest things I’ve ever done in our time together, and Pray I’ll never have to do it again. But as you do with everything, you take the negative and make it a positive.
    You are an amazing partner in life, and I’m so Blessed to have you in my life.❤️

    • Thank you dear. This may sound strange, but if someone had to deliver that news, I’m glad it was you. You handled it with love and sensitivity. We are great partners. I love you.

  7. Christie, I am so very sorry for your loss. I can’t imagine the horror of receiving news like that. To suddenly lose your little brother in those circumstances is just awful. Despite the pain you’d be feeling, you’ve written this post so beautifully. He would be so proud of you. Interestingly, I am guest posting today as part of Denyse Whelan’s ‘Women of Courage’ series sharing my thoughts on grief and losing my Dad.

    • Thank you for those kind words Min. There have been a lot of tears for sure, but also much laughter and joy in our memories. I find it interesting how often when you are thinking about something, that thing shows up everywhere. I will definitely be visiting your guest post on Denyse’s blog.

  8. Thank you so much for this heartfelt post Christie. I’m so sorry for your loss but please do know that you have touched me today. Just a few days ago,14 July, was my late sons birthday. I didn’t post anything at all on social media or my blog, for the first time since his death. I thought people might think ‘here she goes again’. I identified so much with your thoughts in this post. You really have honoured your brother.

    • Hello Jennifer. I’m glad my post spoke to you and I hope it brought some measure of comfort. I cannot imagine how painful it must be to lose a child. I hope you feel free to express your emotions and thoughts about him for as long as you live. Anyone who has ever lost someone they love would never think ‘here she goes again.’ I would love to know more about your son, if you feel like sharing something. May you be surrounded by love and well supported in your memories of him.

  9. That was beautifully written and so obviously from deep in your heart Christie. I feel a little teary now and it really does make me aware of how short our time may be and how we need to treasure those we love while we have them.
    I’m so sorry for your loss of Bryan – he looks like such a kind and sweet person xxx
    Thanks for sharing this with us at MLSTL xx

    • Thank you Leanne. I’m pleased to hear that my emotion came through in my words and that it touched you. Life is short, but glorious, even in all its messiness (maybe because of the messiness). Hug someone you love today! Thanks again for #MLSTL.

  10. Christe I am so sorry for your loss. I am sure it is an ongoing struggle for you and anniversaries are difficult. You write about this event beautiful and give us much to think about. I love what you said about your loved ones living on- in and through you. It is so very true that they become a part of us and influence our lives in many ways. I see my father’s eyes every time I look in the mirror and find it comforting, a regular reminder that he will always be with me.

    • That is beautiful, Michele, that you see your father’s eyes looking back at you. Sometimes I hear my father’s voice repeating a phrase he would frequently use in a certain circumstance, like if you asked him how he was and it was a good day, he’d say, “If I was any better, I’d be in heaven.” It never fails to make me smile.

  11. I am so very sorry for your loss, Christie. Thank you for your bravery and courage in sharing this with us. This is a beautiful tribute to your brother. Sending warm virtual hugs your way.

  12. This was going to be a hard one to read as soon as I saw the post title. I feel for you and your family Christie and agree with everything you say. We lost my brother-in-law suddenly and unexpectedly 5 years ago this week. And my father-in-law’s first anniversary is coming the week after. We are heading to be with family for this intense period and understand the need to share stories. They are still with us in many ways but it’s still hard to comprehend they were here one minute and not the next. I wrote a similar post after my brother-in-law died, as it was the shock of the loss that got to me and writing my thoughts helped me work through it. Thanks so much for your lovely post and sharing your thoughts of your brother. Take care xx #mlstl

    • My experience has been similar, Deb. While I truly find comfort in my memories and the sense that Bryan (and others who I’ve lost) are still with me in many ways, there remains deep sorrow at not having them near in person. I’m not sure we ever get over the shock of, as you said, having a loved one there one minute and gone the next with no warning. I am glad to hear that you are going to spend time with your family. I cannot imagine going through these intense emotions without others who love Bryan and miss him just as much as I do. May you be well supported and surrounded by love.

  13. Christie, thank you for sharing such an intimate and difficult post with us at #MLSTL. I can’t begin to imagine the feelings you all went through and I thank you for providing some guidance on ways to comfort those who have lost someone. My brother and I hadn’t spoken for over 30 years, not because of a rift but just life. 3 years ago I received a call from my niece to say he had been diagnosed with cancer with only weeks to live. It actually was only about a week in the end. He lived in Thailand so I couldn’t get to him but his daughters arranged a phone call. Although he was very weak we chatted and he told me the best time of year to visit Thailand. He died within 48 hours and I never got to speak with him again. I am so grateful we had that last conversation. I flew to Sydney and spoke about my brother who I had always admired but didn’t really know at his memorial service. Take care my friend and again thanks for sharing. xx

    • Thank you for the kinds words, Sue, and for sharing your personal experience with your brother. I’m glad you had the opportunity to speak with him one last time. It still must have been a shock. A week is not a lot of time to digest news like that, and I imagine being separated from him as you were brings a different set of emotions to the grieving process. Life is messy, and we’re all in it together. May we enjoy the journey and lift each other up along the way.

  14. Christie, I am so very sorry. The disbelief is palpable via your words. What a time you had been celebrating and then…this. The shock and the awfulness. I know that you are writing, saying and doing all the ‘right things in grief’ because there is no longer the story it goes away. It does indeed become part of who we are. Megan Devine’s book on It’s OK not to be OK has been a great way for me to learn. Whilst I have no immediate grief via death of a loved one, getting cancer is like that in its own way along with ageing.

    Thank you for sharing.

    Denyse #mlstl

    • Thank you for your well wishes, Denyse. While I have thus far been spared serious illness, I imagine receiving a devastating diagnosis like cancer is similar to learning of the death of a loved one in many ways–both are shocking losses that you must come to terms with and that change the trajectory of your life. They also create the same shaking of any sense of security. Thank you for the book suggestion. I will check that out. Here’s to health and happiness!

  15. Oh Christie, What a horrible event and terrible loss for you. I’m so sorry you lost your brother, especially like that. He had a really lovely smile. May the pain ease and the good memories live on. Sincere condolences.

  16. What a powerful post. Im so sorry for the loss of your brother and his dog x…I remember when my mother passed away, she was old maybe that was the difference II didn’t cry I just went around like I was in a fog. Its been 6 years and I still haven’t shed a tear. Is that wrong? Or is that my way of coping. visiting from #MLSTL

    • I have lost older loved ones, including my father, to natural causes, and while there is definitely grief, it is different than the grief of suddenly losing a healthy, young person. I can relate to that feeling of being in a fog after someone passes. I’m no expert in behavioral health, but I wouldn’t say that not crying is wrong. Our honest emotions are never right or wrong. They just are. Of course, if we suppress emotions so as not to cry, that’s something different. Also, not crying doesn’t mean there isn’t sadness or loss. Thank you for your vulnerability in being honest with your grief experience, Bree. Hugs to you!

  17. Thank you for this beautiful tribute to your brother as well as your wise words of advice to anyone who reads it. When I lost my husband, the love of my life, over 3 years ago, we had time to talk about his leaving. We told each other ‘I love you’ over and over again. I think in some ways it was helpful to me to have time to prepare, even though the actual loss is still devastating. I absolutely agree with you that we must 1)cherish every day that we have with those we love and 2) keep moving forward, every day, no matter what happens. #MLSTL

    • Thank you Candi. I can’t imagine the pain of losing my husband and partner, even with time to prepare. Love and condolences to you. I am glad that you had a chance to tell each other how much you love each other. Given enough time, we all lose important people in our life. It is part of living. And so we keep moving forward with them in our hearts and minds. Hugs to you!

  18. Dear Christie, Your honesty, courage, and dignity amazes me. Thanks for sharing this personal story. I too have experienced sudden death of a loved one. I’m grieving the death of my adult son, and moving forward one day at a time. Thankful I know each one grieves in our own style own way. This is a great awareness I use every day. I’ll keep you in my thoughts and send healing energy your way.

  19. Hi Christie
    I am so sorry for your loss. I posted a similar story this week as well, but it much more removed for me. I am watching my friend go through unbelievable grief.
    I was just listening to a podcast about sibling relationships and how they are like no other. No one knows you quite like your sibling.
    Again, I am so sorry and I hope you are drawing strength and comfort from those around you
    -Theresa @ fabinyourfifties.com #MSTL

    • Thank you Theresa. I just came from reading your blog post. What a shock that must have been for your friend, and how challenging for you to watch her suffer and not be able to “fix” things. I’m sure just having you near is comforting. My family and I relied heavily on each other in those early days of intense grief and have continued to do so over these past four years since Bryan died.

  20. I have said so many times over the weeks since my husband past that at least I had 15 months with him instead of him passing suddenly. I have friends whose husbands passed suddenly and though I will always grieve over my loss we had time to say and do things that others aren’t given the chance for. A very good post Christie. I am so sorry for your loss it is never easy to lose someone we love.

    • Welcome back Victoria. I have missed you and have been thinking about you a lot. I am deeply sorry for your loss. Losing a spouse–a life partner–must be another whole level of grief. I am glad you got those 15 months together. May your many happy memories comfort you. I am sending love and healing energy your way.

  21. Connie Devivic Nokes

    “Grief only exists where love first lived.” -Francesca Cox

    Thanks for your beautiful article, Christie. When grief feels overwhelming, it helps me to remember how grateful I am for every minute I had those people in my life. As you said, they live on in us, and though they are no longer here, the memories bring a sweetness to the sadness.

    • I love that quote, Connie. Thank you for sharing it. Those words perfectly describe how I feel. Though there is sorrow, there is also deep gratitude that I loved someone (and they loved me) enough to miss them.

  22. Wow. Wow. I am just a mess over here. First with your differences-similarities post and now this one has my eyes welling up with tears and my nose twitching as I try to keep the tears from spilling over. You are such a gifted writer. But you are also so incredibly wise. A sage. Thank you so much for this post. For sharing your feelings, a little about the dear brother (and his pup) that your family loved and lost, for making me feel sane about seeing my father in every butterfly. Thank you.

    Thank you!

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