Siblings - The Forgotten Mourners
I am excited about this blog post. This week I have a guest who shares her story with us. I met Georgie via Instagram, I was so taken with her insights as she shared about her brother's suicide.
One thing I saw her write that jumped out at me was the concept that siblings are often forgotten. As she says below, people would ask her how her parents were doing, but didn't ask how she was doing. This will be the first of several siblings that will be sharing here in the future.
My name is Georgie Taylor. I have 2 big brothers and 1 big sister. On 26-6-2020, I woke up that morning with unexplainable anxiety that I never just wake up with usually. It was a beautiful, sunny Friday, and also my sister’s birthday. We both lived away at the time, while my brother Jay lived in our hometown. My brothers played in a band together and he was passionate about his music. I was at my sister’s house for the night. We were celebrating her birthday by having dinner and relaxing with our friends. We were cooking dinner, and at around 6:30pm, my sister, Gabrielle, received a phone call from our Mum. Jay had hung himself. My mum walked in on him. I fell to the floor. But I was mainly numb with disbelief. I couldn’t believe this really happened. This is the sort of thing that doesn’t happen to my family. As a 22-year-old girl, and the youngest in my family, and my big brother’s baby sister (he was 32. He is now 33 in heaven) it was and still is so much to wrap my head around. I’ve grown up with a pretty easy childhood. So having this sort of trauma hit me has been a lot to comprehend, navigate, & work through.
As I’m writing this, it has been 1 year and 2 weeks since his passing. It was only this time last year that I felt like I couldn’t breathe anymore, and I was adamant that I would not make it myself. If I wasn’t emotionally numb, I was just uncontrollably crying and being ashamed of it, making me feel sadder. I wanted to end my own life, to be with my big brother again.
One year on, and I’ve done a lot of self healing, as well as seeing healers & mediums, & joining support groups. Lots of people may be skeptical about mediums in particular, but when you lose a loved one you hold on to any tiny bit of hope you can, that there is an afterlife. I am passionate about spirituality, so I was already a believer in the afterlife. As we heal, and raise our vibration, our loved ones connect with us easier & more frequently, as they’re vibrating at the highest frequency, which is love. So connecting with them, we need to match that frequency. I have strong faith and truly believe that our loved ones are on the other side, waiting for us. Grief is so new to me. Losing a sibling has been so hard in particular. We’re known as the “forgotten mourners” and I agree. I’ve been publicly asked how my parents are, with no recognition of how I am. Sibling loss is just as hard. Siblings are in each other’s lives the longest out of anyone else in your life. It has and is honestly the scariest ride of my life. Yearning and longing for someone when they’re out of reach is heart wrenching. Especially when the cause of their passing was suicide. I just think it’s a different type of death to wrap your head around.
Naturally, we blame ourselves, because there’s no one else to blame. We can’t blame cancer, an accident, etc. we just naturally think back to certain arguments, “was it this comment or that comment that I said to them?” But it also makes you question so many other things. Like why couldn’t they come to us for help? How did they hide their feelings so well? Why were they hurting so much and felt like they couldn’t reach out? Then the blame on ourselves comes on. “I should have reached out more” “I should have seen the signs” “I wish I told him I loved him more” you just re think your whole life, while navigating and working through your new one.
What I have learnt about mental illness is that it’s the same as other illnesses. It is inside your head. If you truly aren’t happy here on Earth side, there was nothing stopping them. I’ve also been learning to ease on the self blame. I know I was doing my best with the information I had at the time, and if I had known, of course I would have been there for him in a second. But we had no idea. He kept it a secret. I’ve learnt so much about grief and truly healing. And talking isn’t always enough. Trauma & grief gets trapped inside our bodies, so suppressing our emotions and pushing them further down will hurt more in the long run, causing our grief & pain to come out in other ways like huge anger outbursts, suicidal thoughts, or even physical symptoms or pain. In order to heal, we need to feel.
I’ve suppressed my emotions in the past so I didn’t have to feel anymore. It hurt too much. But that’s where we block our healing. Crying is one way to release pain. Moving our bodies is a way to release stagnant energy. Talking and connecting with others who are on the same journey and going through what I am is so so helpful, as I’ve learnt that loneliness is a reoccurring feeling when you're grieving. You can be surrounded by so many people, and know that, and still feel alone. Grief support doesn’t feel the same unless you know the person there for you truly truly understands. The stigma to “be strong” has left for me. I don’t expect myself or anyone else to be strong. That is another term for ‘suppressing your emotions’. Cry it out, scream it out, shake it out, breathe it out, just release it! The grief and pain is always there, but our bodies are so magical and we CAN self heal and feel better. Something else I took from this, is learning how to turn pain into purpose. For years I had no idea what I wanted to do as a career. I have recently jumped into studying grief counselling, and I passed my course in 2.5 weeks, so I know it’s calling me. I haven’t studied since I was 18 and usually don’t enjoy it at all, but I smashed out this course and I’m eager to learn and do more. My brother wanted me to take on any opportunity I could for happiness, and I have always been called to help people in some way, and I can truly understand the pain that comes with grief, and I just know he would be so proud and happy for me. I’m not saying the pain isn’t there anymore. Unfortunately, the love I have for my brother has had to come with a price. And that’s intense grief. But it’s okay, I’m learning to live with it. I’m learning to not hold in my tears and feel what I need to. I know I’ll come out stronger than before. The saying “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” is so real. We literally come out stronger than before. We are truly survivors and warriors. What we have had to overcome, with no choice whatsoever, means we can overcome anything life throws our way. We need to keep remembering that our loved ones are so proud of us.
They’re watching us, guiding us, holding us, & protecting us. We just need to be open to that idea and allow their presence to be known. We will all reconnect and be together one day, and that is enough to keep going with faith and hope, and to live the life our loved one’s felt like they couldn’t. My brother is now living through me. So even though he ended his life, he is always living through my heart and sharing my life with me. And one day, I’ll be sharing his new life with him, wrapped in the arms of the angels. And just that alone, gives me hope & brings me peace.