Five weeks ago on June 8, 2014, I got the call that no one wants to receive. My 39-year-old brother drowned in a boating accident. He was an avid fisherman and an excellent swimmer. My parents had just seen him 2 hours prior. He and his friend had stopped by to charge the motor/battery. The boat capsized and both men were thrown out, but my brother did not survive. He was my only sibling. I live in Georgia and arrived in North Carolina the same day. Since this accident happened on a public lake, I had to talk to the park ranger, the medical examiner and the local sheriff. I had to plan his funeral, select clothes to bury him in and select his casket. I also spoke at the funeral on behalf of our family. I felt like I had to do those things because I'm the oldest and I'm the survivor. My parents simply could not handle such details. They were mourning their son. My hands are trembling as I write this because it's still so painful. I literally feel like I have a hole in my heart. I know it's only been a month but I still cry every day. I'm glad to have found this forum because even though my husband is a fantastic supporter, he cannot know exactly how I feel.

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Thank you April.  Saying his name is an issue I had forgotten about. You will be able to say it eventually.  I had to change my focus from the pain it caused me to the thought of honoring him by using his name.  It seemed that not using it made him more invisible and I did not want that to happen.  I am by no means saying it is wrong to not use it, just saying what worked for me.  You need to heal at your own pace.

Hugs to you.
April said:

Mary Anne, I'll be thinking of you this Saturday. I'm glad that you mentioned your brother by name. That's still something that is a little difficult for me; saying his name aloud hurts. And, I hope that someone is there to comfort you now and whenever you need it.

Mary Anne Hines said:

Dear April, I am so sorry about your brother's passing.  What a shock it must have been to get that call and to have to handle all the arrangements and care for your grieving parents.  It is coming up on my brother's first anniversary this Saturday and I am trying so hard to hold myself together.  Both my parents had passed before Mike, but I felt the same "responsibility" to lay him to rest they way they would have liked, but also respect Mike's wishes.  I know they were waiting for him on the other side.

The crying will subside a little, but you will miss him always.

Hang in there, Mary Anne


April, I am so sorry for your loss. I am fairly new to this group so I didn't see it before now. I understand some of what you went thru because I lost my only sibling last May. I, however, did not have to go thru all you did. He had already made his arrangements and had paid for them. I have done the same. I am so sorry you had to talk with every one , and pick out his cloths and casket. I feel your pain. I will hold you and your family in my prayers if ok.

Robbin McManus

Thanks so much, Robin. It's been 3 months now and I still cry nearly every day but I can honestly say that the pain is not as intense all the time. I visited his his grave site for the first time this weekend. I wept so much that my body was wracked with pain but afterwards, I felt a since of relief. I'm grateful for his life. I talked with a mother that day who lost her 8-year-old daughter to brain cancer. Her daughter was a triplet and one of her sisters was standing next to the grave site. I considered how brave she was to visit her sibling. You never "get over" losing someone you love dearly - you get through.  Because you loved, you weep and you feel pain. And yes, prayer is absolutely Ok. Knowing the Lord doesn't take away the pain, but it helps in the midst of it. Wishing you well and thinking of your brother.

Thank you, Mindy!
Mindy said:


April, I'm sorry for the loss of your brother.  It is very heartbreaking to lose your only sibling.  That happened to me when my brother committed suicide.  You are such a  blessing to your parents.  It's hard to imagine losing a child.  You stepping in helping out with everything helped to relieve some things for your parents since they are grieving.  I'm not sure if you are a praying person, but I'm going to pray for you and your family.  The grieving process is not easy, but try to hang in there and continue to take good care of your parents. 

Thank you, Chris. And I'm sorry about your brother. Losing a child is unthinkable; parents don't expect to bury their children. Likewise, the converse is true. Children don't expect to bury our siblings. It seems unnatural to not outlive our parents. I appreciate your prayers, it certainly helps knowing that other people care enough to lift you up.

Dear April,

I am very sorry for the loss of your brother. Having to make preparations for a funeral is no easy task for anyone and one you hope you never have to do.  Your parents have been blessed with a wonderful daughter to help them through this difficult process.  It's ok and normal for you to cry, let yourself grieve.  Grieving is a necessary emotional release. 

Looking to God for help is also beneficial.  The Bible assures us: “Jehovah is near to those that are broken at heart; and those who are crushed in spirit he saves.” (Psalm 34:18) He is the God of all comfort and makes the pain easier to bear.  I'd  like to share a promise found in John 5:28,29 "Do not be amazed at this, for the hour is coming in which all those in the memorial tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who did good things to a resurrection of life, and those who practiced vile things to a resurrection of judgment." You and your parents have the opportunity to be reunited with your brother when God brings the dead back to life!

I hope these words can offer you some hope and comfort.

My deepest sympathy,


Claire, thanks for your kind words and those powerful, comforting scriptures. And yes, crying is a normal reaction to grief. I've accepted that as difficult as it was for me to orchestrate those activities, my family considered it a gift.


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