“You have to be strong for your sister You can’t cry, she needs you.” I must play that in my head over and over again. No matter how prepared you think you are, the truth of the matter is you never are. It’s been almost 12 years, and it troubles me to this very day, having created deep scars that remain open. I remember sitting in the little pale white room at the hospital. My sister, my brother- in -law’s parents and his 2 siblings waited patiently to find out what was causing such problems for my brother in law, Bobby. He was having a surgical procedure done to find out what was wrong, and possibly have it taken care of, so he can begin to feel better.
We were all saying what we thought might be wrong with him, but then the doctor came in no expression on his face and delivered the blow—knocking the breath out of each one of us. He uttered the shocking diagnosis that Bobby had colon cancer.
We were all overcome with disbelief and sadness. Not Bobby! How can this be? He’s so young! He has his whole life ahead of him!
As I sit writing this, I find myself becoming distraught as I relive that devastatingly painful day. It took several attempts for me to enter the room where my brother in law was being viewed. This has to be one of the most heart-breaking days I’ve ever had. I saw my sister standing over his coffin looking down at her dearly departed husband. Just the sight ripped my heart to pieces. I wanted to comfort my sister, because I know she needed me. However, doing so has caused me to struggle with not being able to mourn the loss of my brother- in -law and has left me with resentment. Anytime I think about the day my brother-in-law passed, it causes such torment within me. I wasn’t to grieve or show any emotion for the passing of my brother in law, because I had to be the strong one-the shoulder to cry on. Come on, I’m human too.
Grieving allows us to heal, to remember with love rather than pain. It’s a sorting process, and I’ve begun to embrace healing. One by one, I’m letting go of the negativity and things that are gone and mourning for them. In a way, the pain of grief is a gift because it’s the comfort and healing I’ve needed for so long.
I miss him very much. I’ve struggled for some time about how Bobby was taken from us way to soon. I know he’s only gone physically, but I would rather he was still here with us. He was so strong—our rock—he just had a way of making everything okay. I really miss that. I’m blessed to have had the privilege to call him my brother-in-law. He’ll always be remembered because he lives in his 3 boys, in our hearts and the many memories we have of him.
Death evokes a weakness in all. It creates such havoc and chaos in our lives and has us going through many phases of emotions that will send us “mad.” Mourning is a necessary and healthy part of the healing process, and I never got to grieve the loss of my brother- in- law. I should be able to celebrate his life. Instead, I dwell in the sadness of his death, not able to really move on, because I had to be the strong one.
Angel Baxter is working on a degree in Nursing at Hagerstown Community College to become an RN. She enjoys spending time with her family and being outdoors. Angel likes watching horror movies and is addicted to ghost hunting shows