A year ago today

At this exact hour, a year ago, my brother was hit by a tram in Cairo and passed away almost instantly. That time I was out with a friend having a drink and a chat. It was about an hour after his death that I got a call from my mom yelling “your brother died”! That phrased still rings in my ears every now and then. I felt like a bullet imploded in my stomach.

I flew back home to be with my family. It took me almost 2 full days before I could reach Cairo from NZ so they had to bury him before I came back. Everyone was sad but it was normal to not have him around in family gatherings. We lived in two different countries for years and it was okay that he is not around. He will eventually appear and we will talk and catch up. Or he will call me or I will call him. When I left home six weeks later, I snapped back into life, kids, work, wife and marital problems etc. I lived in the perfect denial.

I decided to host a memorial service for his soul on the 15th of June which marks 6 months on his passing. That was the hardest part of the year. I planning his memorial service was an admission from me that he is gone. Pain takes over me as I type these lines and find myself overcome with tears. I felt so much pain, I was almost not fit to drive, work, or just do normal day to day stuff. 10 days later I attended my first SLAA meeting. It was the perfect distraction. If you’ve been following my blog you’d notice that I may have never mentioned my brother. And you’d know how much I immersed myself in my recovery.

Yesterday I was in a face to face SLAA meeting. I had so much to share and then I talked about my brother’s anniversary and found it difficult to hold back my tears. After the meeting I was approached by a couple of SLAA members, they tried to console me, but I really needed a moment alone. I dashed outside the hall and started weeping. When I came back in I was warmly welcomed and everyone was very nice. Well they are always very nice anyway. then I shared how the year have been with me, how I dealt with his loss so far and just couldn’t hold it back, I collapsed into tears and this friend of mine hugged me and gave me a shoulder to cry on. With however much pain I was going through, this was a magical moment. I was vulnerable in the arms of another man without sexualizing the situation. It was nothing I would have dreamed of before SLAA. And I know that I did sexualize a hug from a close male friend when I had just found out about my brother’s passing.

Just as I was driving off another SLAA member got into my car and we started talking. He shared about the loss of his father and heard me share what I am going through and we connected. I am so glad for the fellowship.

Today I took the day off, spent it with my mom, we went out to lunch then sat somewhere quiet to pray and remember my brother. We laughed and cried and talked. I had a good rest of the day, my kids were so easy to put to sleep and now I am typing this. I will continue to pray and remember him and his soul and continue to cherish the sobriety that allowed me to honour my brothers passing at a level I never knew I was capable off.

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