I Can Still Hear Him Whistle

I have found that my scans seem to fall on dates where either joy should be felt, or an anniversary of a death. This week, happens to be the week my brother died–6 years ago.

I have a different view of death, I celebrate the life filled with memories. Even though the loved one has left their body, they are all around us. They are part of us, part of what we do, part of everything.

My brother’s death is the one I struggle with. Not in a grief sense, but as in acceptance, and erasing some visions. It took me a while to work through the death of my sister, but I will blog about her philosophy some day. She was an inspiration.

There are times I blog, and blog, but leave my posts as drafts. Therefore, I never remember what I published , and knowing that I repeat, this may be another repeat. Skim as you wish.

Just a quick update on my cat. He is doing much better. I have made two more trips to the veterinarian, but he is finally eating, and acting like his usual self. We may have to dip into our retirement fund to pay the bills, but he’s much, much better.

While I don’t give anniversary deaths that much sad energy, I do take a moment of the day, thinking about what I loved most about them. I do this with my brother, but I have haunting visions of him at the same time.

It was my mom and I who found him. As much as I have tried to erase the vision of him lying on the floor, and every precise detail of what happened after that moment, while trying to support my mom, I continue to struggle. He died of natural causes due to the ravages that Type 1 diabetes does to a body.

I previously had bouts of insomnia–it goes with depression and anxiety. After the death of my brother I would have dreams about him dying. Each morning I would wake up reliving the day of his death. I created a mountainous problem of going to bed at night. The problem went on for many, many months. I no longer have the dreams, and I don’t relive the day over and over, but the insomnia lingers.

And then there is the anniversary. A time when I concentrate on the life of my brother, not the death—but try as I might, to focus my thoughts elsewhere, seeing his face for the last time is the first vision I have.

In an odd sense, this has relieved my anxiety over the scan results.

I don’t think I published an updated post about my oldest son, but he finally found a job. Yes, one of the Vampires in the Basement has a day job. Unfortunately, his commute is pretty long, and he is already griping about it. But he has to save his money, and he’ll just have to suck it up until then.

The reason why I had to drive to Atlanta last week, was to take the second vampire to her therapy session—a session we pay for. The journey with her, is a frustrating one. We love and care for her, because our son does—she doesn’t believe it, and it doesn’t look like she’ll be comfortable around us—ever. It has been over 4 years? Maybe longer.

I think I will be able to avoid the stress of driving to the city.

If a person won’t help themselves, and we keep giving them assistance, don’t we become enablers? That was the discussion we had with our son last night. We can’t do any more, we have reached our limit of kindness. Now, it feels like out-and-out manipulation, leeching, and exploitation our kindness. The hard thing for me, is knowing the stress we are now placing on our son, who has his own mental issues to work through.

We have financially supported her by giving her food, shelter, paid for some pricey dental work, and emotional support–I have always been here to listen. I’m not sure if I can be any more accommodating, open, or kind.

Meh, it is what it is. We have lost our son to this world of taking care of her, and ignoring his own well being. He will be 25 soon, and there is nothing we can do. I refuse to be a meddling parent. I’m extremely sad that this is the path he is taking, but it is his path to follow.

Anyway—Thursday, is the anniversary of the death of my brother. It is also the day of her therapy appointment. The day I have to push myself beyond my anxiety, to drive to the city—with way too many other thoughts running through my mind–and I’m not going to do it.

This anniversary, I’m doing something different. I’m going to listen to some Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath (ugh), and Rush, and think about all the times my brother was rotten to me and my sisters. How we can laugh about his rottenness today, even though it wasn’t funny at the time. I will remember his red hair, his sense of adventure, his chatty pants personality, and his fascination with the thoughts of Carl Sagan.

And, maybe I’ll sleep.

– Carl Sagan



About April

I'll come back to this when I find out who I really am. I've been through some extremely rough patches but they have made me a better person. I blog if my brain is functioning first thing in the morning.
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30 Responses to I Can Still Hear Him Whistle

  1. I hope your day contains at least a moment of wonder, beauty and peace.

  2. meANXIETYme says:

    I don’t think grieving for our loved ones ever ends, we just learn to live with that new part of our lives. I hope you can honor your brother in a way that gives you peace.
    And I agree with you, there has to be an end point with the vampires in the basement (which I think comes when your life changes for the worse to accommodate theirs). You can’t live their lives for them or fix them. They are adults, they have to make their own choices and live with them.

  3. mewhoami says:

    You have a range of situations to help you to not stay focused on one thing for too long. That’s probably good. My condolences to you for the loss of your brother. Although the circumstances were different, I too have many visions in my mind of my step-dad’s final days. Awful memories that haunt me often, and almost always at night when I’m trying to sleep. So I understand how you feel. It’s so hard, but it’s good that you endeavor to focus on the good memories instead. That is so important. As far as being enablers – sometimes the best thing to do is also the hardest.

    • April says:

      You’re right about the enabling! I have a vision of my dad which other than the fact that he looked like Clint Eastwood, the man who was my dad was gone. The last time I saw him, he was seat-belted into a wheelchair, with pillows stuffed around his head to keep it from flopping. He didn’t know his son was dead, and I had to say goodbye to go back home to Georgia. He died 3 months later. I refuse to remember him that way, and for the most part I’m successful. It is hard to watch our loved ones suffer, but I seriously strive to celebrate their lives, and the memories they left me with.

      • mewhoami says:

        What a terrible memory. As you said though, striving to celebrate their lives is most important. No matter how short or long, they lived a life, and one worth celebrating.

        • April says:

          We have a family joke which helps us when we feel the weepies. My brother used to drive my grandma to her doctor’s appointments, and the grocery store. She finally became unable to take care of herself and had to live in a care facility. She died the day after my brother.

          So—we like to say that my brother was there with my grandma’s Cadillac waiting to pick her up when she reached Heaven. He is driving her around Heaven.

          We also laugh at how surprised my dad must have been to be met by his son, when it was his time.

          Silly, but it works for our family. πŸ˜€

  4. suzjones says:

    I think that is a wonderful way to remember your brother.
    You know funnily enough, although I was with my little brother after his death and sat by his open casket and chatted with him before his funeral, the face I see always is the cheeky, smart-aleck face that used to tease us all. Although I saw my other brother in the funeral home after his accident, I remember only the softness of his beard as I leaned in to kiss him goodbye.
    Take the beautiful things April and remember them. Remember them with love and affection.

    • April says:

      It has taken me 6 years to not continually see his face that day. Not to sound crude, but I would have rather seen him in a casket, than a body bag. That was just too much for my brain. Mostly because I was being the Warrior, and I had to hold everyone else together. I’m just glad that I don’t have to continue to relive that day–only when I write about it, and that is a choice. Black Sabbath is going to be a tough one, maybe I’ll only listen to one song. πŸ™‚

  5. I hope you sleep soundly in the comfort of his memories. And good for you for giving yourself that day.

  6. Gallivanta says:

    Sounds like a good way to remember your brother. πŸ™‚

    • April says:

      After I have my coffee, I will turn on the music. Some of it I still can’t handle today, and my oldest son listens to worse music.

  7. aviets says:

    Love that quote. Carl Sagan was an American hero. And I’m so glad to hear about your son’s job! -Amy

    • April says:

      I have to admit, that I like Carl Sagan as well. My daughter is really into Cosmos too. It was on her Christmas wish list. Carl Sagan is timeless.

      • aviets says:

        Cosmos is great, too! Neil DeGrasse Tyson is a little full of himself, but he’s so brilliant and always so 100% right that I guess that’s understandable.

  8. I think it sounds like a good way to honor the day. You are right, through grief we just learn to live our lives a little differently than before the loss. We are never “over it”.
    Glad to hear the cat is eating!
    There is a fine line between helping, and then being taken advantage of and becoming an enabler. Sometimes the only way people truly learn to care for themselves is when someone else will no longer do it for them. It’s hard when it is our children, but I applaud you for knowing that you have reached your limit. You have to take care of yourself too, while you’re taking care of others.

    • April says:

      My cat seems to be back to his usual self, which makes me happy. I did enjoy remembering my brother, and not the day he died. As far as being an enabler–it is so hard to hold firm on what you know is best. Thankfully I have my husband as back up. He usually plays the part of bad cop. πŸ™‚

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