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  • Writer's pictureKim M Horwood

What Do We Do Now?

My little brother died. He was 53.

The shock of his sudden death extended far beyond us, his sisters, and his parents. He had a beautiful wife, dearly loved children, and adored grandchildren. He also had aunts, uncles, cousins, brothers-in-law, nieces, nephews, and friends. The outpouring of grief was swift and overwhelming, almost hectic. Some of us were inundated with messages, some with regret.

Grief is suffocating, paralysing, and painful. But where a doctor can ask, ‘on a scale of one to ten, what is your pain?’ – grief is pain that cannot be measured. In grief, there is no sliding scale.

My parents and sisters continue to remind each other, there is no right or wrong way to grieve, but there is also no way to measure our grief against the grief of others. My brother was somebody different to each of us. We cannot grieve like a wife grieves a husband, or a child grieves a father. We can only grieve like parents who lost a son, or sisters who lost a brother.

There were two things that united us in our loss – love, and the question many of us asked, ‘What do we do now?’

What do we do, with that space in our hearts where our love for him lived?

What do we do with regret? Regret over words that were said, and words that were left unsaid.

My sisters and I are writing our heart thoughts, family anecdotes, and conversations, in a collection of stories to help others find the answers to these same questions. Our stories will be fictional sprinklings of our unique selves, embedded with love, conflict, sibling rivalry, and our experiences of grief. In sharing, our hope is that we all find our answers, or that our answers serendipitously find us.

There is an old proverb, “grief shared, is grief halved”. Sharing will not stop the pain, but with it comes an emptying of emotion, heartache, and tears, that will help lighten the burden. In our darkest moments, that heart connection can be a shining light.

Our shared DNA ensures that for the rest of our lives, we will dedicate every sunrise and sunset to the memory of our brother, David. Big-hearted, determined, quick-witted, stubborn, fiery, legendary, he was a man of his word, who arrived quietly into our world on 11th August 1968, and broke our hearts when he left on 4th July 2022.

“This is us.

So please be a unit.

Stay together.

Love each other massively because you don’t know how long we’re all here for, so just have fun.”

David Morris, 26 January 2019

P.S. The best memories come from that imperfect photo.

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