Talk about your experiences with others.

Posts by VicKie D

5 posts in 5 threads

A life without my brother by

It is strange I find myself here, quite regularly, I read the stories of others. Stories that resonate, that could have been written by me. A sibling, whose only brother is gone, lost to addiction so many years ago. Time seems to have raced on, my children are grown all but one. I find myself here because I know if you are here too, you understand. Not many people do, I have faced so much criticism for still grieving, but if you have lost someone so very special to you, the grieving never really stops. Eventually, you accept that, you have to, there's no choice. Even after so much time has passed, the grief is in my parent's eyes, it is in the words of my father, it is in the hugs from my cousin, and it is in every tear that rests on my mother's cheek. It is strange to think that in just a few short years it will be 20 years since my brother Nicholas died. I felt so lost when he passed, I suppose you could say, I have found a way through, unless you know me, then you would know, that I have scars. Horrible painful scars which I know will never truly heal. It saddens me to think that, my brother who loved my children like his own hasn't been able to share them with me. I find it comforting that my son is his uncle's image. My daughter, my firstborn, remembers snippets, and I do remind her often how special she was to him. He was an amazing uncle, I could never take that away from him. I have another daughter now too, one who knows about him, but never met him. The day she was born, when everyone else was asleep, I held her close and cried, because she will never get to experience the love he gave to my other two children. He had faults, but who doesn't. He drove me crackers, but I loved him fiercely, I sometimes wish he knew that. We fought like cat and dog, but that didn't mean we didn't have that sibling love I miss so much. Nicholas was a beautiful soul, kind, compassionate, loving and giving. No matter who came into contact with him, the response was always the same, "he's a lovely lad" and he was a sweet, sweet boy. I do find it odd that I am now so much older than him. I have done so much to honour him, won awards for the commitment I have to addiction charities. Written a programme that is now used for volunteers in over 60 places. It helped me because I know his life, his death has not been in vain. That every time someone delivers training or uses my book, that it may very well help a family just like mine. People call me inspirational, but I am not, I am just a sister trying to make a difference. I could not change the outcome for my family, but I hope and pray that It's made a difference to another family. I miss my brother every day, but his legacy lives on, I've achieved so much because of him, and forever I will be grateful that even though it's painful, I did have the chance to truly understand sibling love. x

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A message of HOPE for bereved families by

So, I have blogged a couple of times about how my brother's addiction and death impacted our family. Nick was 29 years old when our father found him overdosed in his bedroom. It was catastrophic, blew our word to pieces and everything changed. I was angry, confused. hurt and desperate. I missed him every day, I still do and the tears flow as freely today as they did the day he died. BUT, losing Nick has given me a strength I never knew I had, he taught me to be kind to others no matter what, he has moulded me and shaped me into someone I am proud to be. At first, it was too painful, too raw and too emotional, but slowly I have recovered. It is 15 years since Nick died and for the first 10 years, I did not deal with the loss of my only sibling. At 13 years I had a breakdown. However, after many counselling sessions, I have recovered. I smile when I speak his name, we share funny memories, remember his loving caring nature, he was such a sweet boy. I eventually stood up to be counted in the memory of Nick, I still volunteer with addicts, because addicts are always someone's special person. Never give up hope of recovery, I have seen addicts of 30 years recover! I have volunteered with various charities and still do, this was such a positive move for me. I couldn't top my brother's addiction from taking him, but I can use his story to inspire, to educate and to show empathy to others. This is Nick's legacy and I am proud and loud about him, in the hope that I might save one more family from facing the same fate as mine.

by DNAnon

1 of 3 posts

Grief is timeless by

My family and I are approaching FIFTEEN years since my brother passed away. Fifteen years of heartake for my parents, fifteen years of longing for their boy! Fifteen years of watching a million tears shed by our mother. Fifteen years of guilt, of despair and hurt. Fifteen years that seem like fifteen minutes, so vivid the memories of such an awful day. Our mother has never been the same, nor have I. My friends not understanding that the trauma of losing my only sibling has left me with PTSD. That every day since he died I have felt that half of me is gone, my first friend, my partner in crime, my best friend all rolled into one. I am fed up with hearing 'get over it', move on, Judging me for missing him still. Tuesday will be the fifteenth anniversary of his death. I wish I could celebrate his life but instead, I will hear our mother cry and see the pain etched on her face. Moving on feels like a betrayal of his memory and so I am stuck with no idea how o stop feeling so sad


1 of 3 posts

Broken Dreams - Surviving the loss of an adult sibling by

Coping with the loss of a sibling through drug and alcohol abuse is something I never expected to face. As a sibling, you feel that you have no right to grieve because your parents are facing their worst nightmare. You stand in the shadows of a family broken, not knowing how to reach out and help your parents. The feeling of helplessness and hopelessness engulfs you as you try and ease their pain. Family and friends rally round, and you watch from the sidelines feeling lost and alone. Trying to make sense of a situation that was thrust upon you through your sibling's addiction. Feeling angry, yet saddened. You go through the motions, burying the pain inside, feeling guilty for being the 'surviving child'. Wondering if only you had done something different, supported them more, tried to help more, done something, anything! to have kept them alive. And then there's the realization of everything you've lost while feeling selfish for thinking about yourself. Slowly the realisation that, you have no sibling to argue with, no one to look out for, to protect with a fierceness that comes with sibling love. The empty birthday and Christmases, the reunions, with a gaping hole that comes with the emptiness you feel inside. Forever wondering what might have been, what should have been. Never holding your nieces or nephews, not sharing their wedding day, or celebrating christenings and birthdays. Other's not understanding why it's hard to move on. Feeling alone in your grief stricken world. Facing the reality that there will be no more phone calls, never again waiting to hear the gate 'clink' at three in the morning. You move through the cycles of grief, anger, hurt, frustration, loss and then finally acceptance. Accepting that, your sibling didn't want to be addicted. Watching the strength of your parents, as they too begin to cope day by day with the loss of their child, and becomming stronger and more resilient than you ever thought you could be. Finally being able to chat and smile about the memories of a happy childhood shared with your first friend and ally. For me, acceptance came with the need to help others. Sharing a story that is personal, yet repeated in families all over the world. Acceptance came with the desire to reach out to other siblings, to hold their hand on a journey of grief, letting other's know, they are NOT alone!

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My brother was decesed through drugs and alcohol by

My name is Victoria I thought it appropriate to give a true life reflection on the way in which my brother’s addiction affected my family. This is our story. My brother Nicholas died of a heroin and alcohol overdose on March the 6th 2001. Nicholas was my only sibling and the loss of him hit me hard. Initially I cried for him but did not have the life experience to truly understand the nature of addiction and spent many years in shock. As I have become older I have searched for answers and it has led me to try and truly understand the nature of this awful disease. My brother and I had a love hate relationship, but also had that deep sibling love for each other that brothers and sisters have, the older we got the better friends we became. Nick and I had a good upbringing, both parents worked and loved us, we wanted for nothing. It took my brother’s death for me to realise that addiction knows no boundaries and affects all kinds of people, from all walks of life. Nicholas started using recreational drugs such as cannabis, ecstasy, and speed (amphetamine) aged seventeen. At the time all (or so I thought) of the local kids in our area were dabbling in drugs in one way or another and I thought it was completely normal, it is for this reason that I never alerted my parents to my brother’s drug use. Nick was so shy and self-conscious that, he used drugs and alcohol to help him feel more confident. At 21, Nick, along with a small group of his friends, began getting in to harder drugs and Nicky’s drug use escalated until finally he tried heroin. By the age of 22 he was a full blown addict. When he could no longer cope with being addicted to heroin, he used alcohol too. Our parents were beside themselves it was so tough to see their beautiful boy ravaged by that dreadful drug, We did not have a thorough understanding of drug and alcohol addiction, we were all guilty of burying our heads in the sand and truly believing that he would just “get over it”. Nothing prepared me for the fact that he would die! It came as a complete shock, we were so naïve. I wish that there had been some drug education and awareness but there was nothing. He died aged just 29 years old. The day Nicholas died I was at work, my parents came to collect me and my mum could barely tell me what had happened. The period of time after this is cemented in my mind forever, my cousins coming to help me, forensics in white suits, and police everywhere. My parents’ house taped up with that yellow tape with crime scene written on and my brother being carried out of the house it in a body bag. My poor mum was unable to take in what had happened and I felt so lost and alone. It felt like someone had dropped a bomb into the middle of our family. For me Nicholas’ death did not sink in, no matter how many tears I cried. I just could not accept the enormity of the situation. There was no support. The Dr gave me sedatives and anti-depressants’ but there was no formal support at all. My parents had to deal with this together, I only had my cousins and friends, and I felt like no one understood me at all. I did not know of anyone close to me whose sibling had died from a drug overdose and I felt embarrassed and not quite sure of what I should tell people, for me this was heart-breaking. I was not ashamed of Nick but I didn’t want others to stigmatise him because to me before anything else he was just my brother, not an addict not an alcoholic just our little ‘Nips’ (our parents pet name for him ) I could not bear others to look down on him. Our parents, especially our mum could not talk about him at all and I found this really difficult. Over the next few years I tried to get on with life. I relocated with a new partner and we raised five children together. It was only as my children began reaching their teenage years that I felt I truly needed to understand what had happened to Nicholas. I read and researched every article on drug abuse that I could, I began to understand the mental and physical dependency my brother had to both drugs and alcohol. It saddened me and I found myself suffering a kind of post traumatic shock. My heart broke over and over for our mother. I grieved for what should have been. I felt cheated and angry that we did not have the understanding or the capacity to deal with such a tragic situation. I had so many questions but no answers. For me this time in my life was even harder than when we initially lost him. Throughout this period of time, my husband was a huge support to me. With his help and support I told our Dr who referred me for counselling. I have steadily come to accept what has happened. I still cry, I still miss him but these days I can also smile and remember his ‘antics’. He was a talented artist, a compassionate and kind individual who lost his way. I am proud he was my brother, because to me over everything else he was just that! He gave me wonderful memories and for that, I am truly grateful. Thirteen years later, I can now openly talk about him and I am ready to raise awareness to help others facing similar situations, he was always helping other’s despite his addictions so I am working hard to get drug education to our youngsters! And by doing so, this is my tribute to my beautiful big brother xx

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