I am Jack’s grief

Parenting Family Solutions Harrisburg Angel

A part of me is dying!

Within the past 6 months my family and I learned that my only brother was facing terminal cancer at the age of 45.  Originally, they thought he had 2 years; but, his cancer is aggressive and chemo isn’t slowing it down.  Now they’re saying he only has a few months.

For some that may have not had a great relationship with their siblings growing up it may not mean as much. But for me, it felt like I was being told a part of my body was being amputated.

My brother is 8 years older than I am, married with 3 kids and an amazing person. You never have enough time with the ones you love; but, 45 seems especially too early! We used to joke that I was “the Golden Child” because I’m the baby of the family; but, in truth it’s him. When it comes to love, family and friendship he is fierce and loyal. There isn’t anybody else I know (other than my parents) that would go to the lengths he has for those he considers loved ones.

At points it seems selfish for me to be struggling with it. I’m not the one dying. I’m not the one having to go through chemo or tell my three children. I’m not the one having to plan my own funeral.

And yet, while it’s happening to him, it’s happening to all of us. They say cancer impacts everyone. “They call em Rogues. They travel fast and alone. 100 ft faces of God’s good ocean gone wrong.” (Brand New, Play Crack the Sky) This one is gonna be huge. This one hit out of nowhere.

How do you say goodbye to someone you never thought would leave? Someone who has always been there for you and through no fault of their own they won’t be there anymore? I know that miracles can happen and that we shouldn’t give up hope. But we also know that the stats aren’t in his favor.

It’s made being a therapist challenging. I know that Dr. Kubler-Ross’ 5 stages of Grief was created exactly for this type of situation – a patient facing a terminal diagnosis. It’s made being focused on work and the rest of life difficult as I no longer have patience for the trivial. I know I bounce back and forth between denial, anger and sadness. But for all my training I’m just waiting for impact. Waiting to see which direction the parts of my family get scattered in the detonation.

And at the same time, it’s made me appreciate what time I have had with him. It’s more than most get and there were very few bad times to speak of. This comes a week after Rob Price’s article announcing the 35 yr old Scott Riddle’s own terminal cancer. It further slams home the knowledge that time is precious and fleeting. It conjures up images of Ed Norton and Brad Pitt’s characters discussing the life of Raymond K. Hessel. “Tomorrow will be the most beautiful day of Raymond K Hessel’s life.” (Fight Club, Chuck Palahniuk) Today should be the most beautiful day of your life. It shouldn’t take a cancer diagnosis to appreciate that. We should be living our lives with love and kindness and authenticity.  That’s what my brother would do. Fully present, fully engaged. Fully.

I love you David. I am who I am because of you. And for that I thank you.


This post was more for me.  Check back for my next post to get a full explanation of the 5 Stages of Grief and


Thanks for taking the time to read this




25 thoughts on “I am Jack’s grief

  1. This must be an absolutely devastating situation for your family. I truly hope if there was ever a time for a miracle, this is it for you all. If that’s not part of the big plan, I hope you all enjoy the time you have left and find peace.

    I’m still a bit new to my life as a therapist, but I’ve struggled through losses and know how hard it can be to care for others while your own world is crumbling. Take care of yourself.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for taking the time to read, comment and follow! Much appreciated. Yeah, our family ranks kind of high on the life stress checklist these days; but, we’re trying to weather the storm and do what we can to take care of ourselves. Love the DIY projects you’ve done!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m so sorry. Your brother sounds like an amazing person, with this diagnosis much too early. It’s wonderful that you have such a great relationship. Thank you for visiting my blog, it’s nice to connect with you! Sending you good thoughts. Take care, Jenny

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I honestly don’t know how to respond to this. Such a touching tribute towards your brother it brought me to tears. To have had all of this hit your family and brother so quickly is… (For the first time in a very long time, I have no words). My thoughts & prayers are being sent out to your family.
    I wish I had close siblings, but we were all torn apart when my family was going through our own personal hell. I wish that it hadn’t happened, but it just did.
    Life is such a gift, and we never realize how fragile that life is when we are faced with such a disheartened, cruel way a person we love so dearly to be taken away.
    God Bless all of YOU!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Beckie! I really appreciate that. It has been tough for all of us. It brings you closer in ways you never thought possible but it definitely takes it’s toll. Sorry to hear of the struggles you went through and how it affected your family!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I understand totally. I was a nurse for 36 years. I lost patients, my parents after Dementia and Alzheimer’s. They don’t leave you though. Enjoy old memories and make more beautiful ones with your brother. Then you can remember them when he’s gone and find some comfort.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Gosh! It sounds like you had it pretty rough too. Dementia and Alzheimer’s are tough to watch and care for a loved one through. I have definitely been trying to take advantage of making as many memories as we can


      • Well my brother is the one who handled their care because I lived 5 hours away. But I did take care of my husband through undiagnosed, then poorly controlled diabetes, mild heart failure, a Wallenberg stroke, and finally fatal heart failure. I could write a book about emotional abuse caused by disease processes on the brain! He died 8 years ago. I miss the man I married. But I have been making my life mine again. I took care of him because I knew he was sick. I didn’t realize how much I was affected. Still working on it. But I love my life, two married sons and their families, 2 cats, and a bunch of real friends. My life is good.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Thankyou for a glimpse into your journey with your brother and my thoughts are with you and your family. Being outdoors in nature and the unconditional love of my beautiful dog Lily who asked no questions and demanded nothing of me are what sustained me while I tiptoed through grief and waited for my body and mind to catch up. You’ll get through it in your own time…be gentle with yourself 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for reading the post and the good advice! We have Buddy, who is an amazing unconditional friend. Although I’ll admit it was much easier to connect with nature when the beach was our morning and evening walk. We’ll find the new normal soon enough and will trade the sand and water for the grass and trees 😃

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I can only imagine the roller coaster of feelings you are experiencing, but that won’t touch your reality. I don’t have words of wisdom. I tend to suck at comfort and encouragement stuff. You and your brother will be in my prayers.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Robin! Prayer is about all any of us can do and I certainly appreciate them. Thanks for your honesty. It’s kinda like Forrest Gump said, “sometimes there just aren’t enough rocks”


  6. A very touching tribute to your brother. I don’t think it’s selfish at all for you to be feeling what you are feeling. You clearly love your brother, and that’s a beautiful thing. My heart goes out to you all. Seems pretty insignificant to say this now…. but thanks for following my blog. I hope it’s encouraging. If not, I apologise in advance.

    Liked by 1 person

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