One of the most important conversations I had with my brother was shortly before he died.
We spoke about our shared childhood, our grief and our plans to make our futures (and those of our children) much, much better. I had been though a bad time that summer and he implicitly understood.
He didn’t make it.
At the time of his death, I was on a huge dose of medicine to cope with my MS symptoms, mostly nerve pain. After he died, as the pain was so great, I decided to come off all my MS symptom medications; after all, what did it matter when grief was consuming me. I talked to my fabulous neurologist and we devised a tapering plan over six months.
I did it in two weeks – I do not recommend it – but my pain was so massive I didn’t feel it mattered, I would cope.
I went through the detox, I coped and friends rallied round, as they still do, insomnia being one of the lingering effects to deal with.
Stopping medication – I was on 600mg Pregabalin daily, as well as two other meds – made me cry. I cried over a McDonald’s breakfast. I cried about a Wateraid advert. I cried over everything.
But mostly, I cried about my brother.
He was incredible, always wanting to help those least able to shout in our society. He cared passionately about the underdog and championed their cause. He made so many friends, I lose track. Anyone at his funeral would bear witness to this.
We did many things over the years – he teased me, he goaded me, he laughed. But he always, always had my back. He was so proud I was taking my PhD and looked forward to my graduation as he knew how hard I had fought to get this far. We talked about him starting a blog to share his experiences of helping others.
And then he died.
The pain is indescribable. He was so vibrant, so alive. So here.
And now he is not.