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I only realised why I was getting so emotional on the journey home in the bus on Tuesday evening of last week as I was reflecting on my second Toastmasters meeting when the date had sunk into my mind.

The day before was my wedding anniversary. I would have been married for twenty three years yet I ended it at fourteen for my inner peace and personal growth. So I was on an emotional roller coaster on Monday due to the what if’s and but’s of the inevitable marriage and divorce that brought me many sad, painful and valuable lessons along with my three intelligent and gorgeous sons.

Then it dawned on me that it would have been my big brother’s 45th birthday on Saturday as the bus journey home was quiet and smooth. I felt a huge gush of negative emotions come through as I was listening to some music on my phone. I wanted to cry there and then yet I always get a headache when I do so I tried to think of the happy memories of big brother.

I took some time to relax, calm my emotions and accept what was coming through on Tuesday evening in bed and I wrote in my journal as I usually do for therapy and to track my progress. It had become a daily habit of mine’s to write in my journal about my day and this evening was no different. Yet due to my tiredness from my negative emotions, I left out the importance of my emotional roller coaster journey home because I was feeling drained so writing about it would no doubt tire me more and I needed my beauty sleep.

I have been crying everyday since that roller coaster journey home on Tuesday evening from my Toastmasters meeting. Anger, resentment, pain, sadness, rage, abandonment, abuse, torture, fear, shame, hatred and disgust all came flooding through me in the last few days.

I pushed myself to be productive last week under the circumstances and the weather has been so kind to me. I made the conscious effort to walk to pick up Calvin, my youngest son from school which is a mile from home because it was dry, calm and so much warmer compared to previous days and weeks. I loved being outdoors and walking that mile helped me to stay on the positive side and that lifts me up. My body felt tired from the mile walk yet my mind thanked me for making that wise choice.

I told Calvin that it is my big brother’s birthday on Saturday so we are going to visit him then I will take him to go shopping for new shoes for Chinese New Year which is on today.

I woke up after 9am on Saturday morning from being tired out on my volunteering at the charity shop once a week the previous day. I slept like a baby and I had a late start to my day so I needed to “get cracking” as we say here in Glasgow, Scotland.

We took the number 240 bus to the crematorium and I presumed the walk to Glade three where big brother’s ashes are scattered would be at least fifteen minutes. So I timed our walk and it only took a short ten minute walk, much to my surprise.

The weather was again very kind to us on this dry and calm day. I felt a little cold yet I was grateful that it stayed dry for our first visit of this year. Calvin seemed to enjoy the walk with me and he was chatty. I felt heavy and weighed down with my two small flasks of hot water, food for big brother and a bigger flask of his favourite Chinese tea.

We walked onto the damp grass and arrived at Glade three after a delightful stroll on a quiet Saturday afternoon in the crematorium. I laid down a black bin bag onto the damp grass with Calvin’s help and placed the yellow table cloth down to put big brother’s food down for him to devour. This is one of our Chinese rituals that we follow.

I brought my home made Scotch broth soup and shredded potatoes for a change because I always made him chow mein. I forgot to bring chocolates and crisps which is what big brother loved to eat yet he was on a weight lose program before he passed on so he was told to cut them out of his diet. I poured out the Chinese tea for him to enjoy and it smelled very strong, just the way he loved it.

Calvin was observing the glades next to Glade three and he was distracting me from talking to big brother. So I gave him my attention and then came back to talking to big brother. I felt close to my one and only lifetime companion as I stood there, looking around the glade. Calvin had nothing to say to his uncle yet when I asked him about this he said “I miss you”!  So it was sweet of him and I know he feels uncomfortable talking to his uncle now he has passed on so I teach him that talking to his uncle is quite alright by doing it myself.

Then we heard something that caught our attention. A man was wheeling a trolley with a mental box and he walked up the the glade to our right and I saw ashes being scattered onto the grass.  The man spread the ashes onto a wide area of the glade, much to my wonder and surprise. This was my first time witnessing ashes being scattered and it brought some sadness to me. I was thinking of who the ashes belonged to and of the pain their family must be feeling at this emotional time. Calvin watched with me and it took less than a few minutes then the scattering was over and the man had two small metal boxes in his hands and he was then on his way. His wheeling the trolley brought more sadness to me and I was thinking that this is what the man does everyday. So he’s used to this yet I was feeling the emotions of the family who had only just lost their loved one to death.

Death that comes to us all yet we are all affected in different ways to the pain that we all feel. My pain is more intense because I was so close to my big brother as we were lifetime companions. We did everything together as babies, young kids, teenagers and then we were there for each other during our adult life. He was a better father figure to my three sons than their biological father ever was because he was giving them his time and attention where their biological father had neglected to do so.

I felt happy walking away from the crematorium with Calvin to catch our bus into the city centre to shop for new shoes for Calvin. I was feeling so much lighter than I had been this whole week and the walk itself helped to lift me up. Plus taking Calvin with me and teaching him to pay our respects to his uncle on his birthday felt important to me.

I felt sadness and pain as I walked to catch our bus because I have never seen our dad Going to the crematorium. It is a Chinese tradition not to attend your child’s funeral which it is said to “Bring bad luck”!  What a load of rubbish!  Where is the respect for the dead child?  I felt very angry when my parents did not attend their first born’s funeral yet they were there that morning at the funeral parlour waiting for the funeral to take place. I felt I was the head of the family on that very emotional morning. I brought our family and friends into the room where the body of big brother laid in his coffin. He looked so much at peace yet I could see that the make up on his face was fading as it was done on the Monday or Tuesday and the funeral took place on the Thursday.

That tragic morning of Tuesday 19th November 2013 when we received news from the hospital that my big brother had died very suddenly was a huge shock to me and the pain has become easier to handle. Yet losing my one and only lifetime campanion at aged 42 is a tough challenge on it’s own. I think I have did everything I possibly could to heal. I had one to one sessions with my counsellor. I had regression therapy. I have talked about it so many times and written about it here and there. I have cried so many sad and painful tears and the emotions have been like a roller coaster ride. My heart felt like it was being stabbed each day for the first few months and I was mentally strong from my personal development, practicing meditation, doing my physical exercises and acknowledging my emotions. Otherwise, I would probably have had a nervous breakdown. I understand that the pain shall never disappear because it had such an enormous impact on my life. I feel like I have lost a limb and now I am living without a part of me.

My life goes on, I am doing what I want to do with my life and I am focused on meeting my needs, wants and desires. Yet, there are days when I am reflecting on my progress and I automatically want to share those experiences with big brother because he was the first one I would talk to about my day. It had become a habit as he lived with us for the last fifteen years of his life.

 

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He would listen to me, support me and cheer me on. He would do whatever I asked him to do to help me out. He never said no to any of my requests or demands. That’s what makes him simply the best big brother anyone could ever ask for. He wanted to feel needed and he was pleasing everyone with his time and efforts he made for us. My one and only regret I have was not thanking him enough for all that he ever did for me and my three sons. I was like most people, thinking that we all die at old age when we are weak, frail, gaunt, fragile and vulnerable. That has been the most valuable lesson in this tragic life experience of mine.

I have been very fortunate enough to have dreamt of big brother on a number of nights where he always had a big smile on his face and I know that this was his way of telling me “I am very happy where I am now, I want you to move on and focus on your life, it is time for you to shine”!  He had food in one hand and an umbrella in the other the last time I dreamt of him with his huge smile grinning from ear to ear. I could only see his teeth and his eyes seemed closed from his big smile! Hehe.  He loved his food and he strongly disliked being in the rain so the food and umbrella makes perfect sense. I find huge comfort to see him so happy and free from pain in all of my dreams. The very first dream of him was an extremely emotional one as I was not expecting it at all. He sat in his seat he would usually sit for his dinner and he just smiled his happy smile at me with no verbal communication. He was well dressed and looked so happy and pain free because his eyes lit up the room!  So I knew he was at his most happiest and he was telling me that he was free from pain. That means the world to me, to know that he is at his happiest doing what he wants, when he wants and he is finally free of all the pain he was carrying about each day.

I can be free too, of all the pain I have been carrying for quite some time yet there are just days when a memory or a thought triggers the pain of losing big brother all over again. That’s when my heart feels it’s been broken and stabbed!

Can one be truly free from the emotional pain of losing their one and only lifetime companion to an early and very sudden death?  I think not in my case and from my own personal experience. It is a valuable lesson and the experience totally changes one’s perspective on life and I have certainly learned so much from it as well as gaining so much insight and wisdom. So there are gains from such a tragic loss. I value life so much more nowadays and I take great care of my body because it is the only place I have to live. I think one never recovers from such a huge loss because the pain is always there, deep inside, and it gets triggered from a thought, a memory or an important date. The emotional pain does become easier to manage and handle with the passing of time from my own personal experience.

Life is too short to be wallowing in self pity and becoming a “victim” to life’s circumstances. We are all capable of getting through life’s challenges, hardships, adversities and hurdles with a positive mental attitude. It is about how we handle the hard times with whatever we have that determines the outcome of such hurdles. Life is difficult without a doubt. As my mentor Jim Rohn said “Don’t ask for an easy life, ask for more skills”!  With more skills at hand we are more than capable to see ourselves through those tough times that seems so bleak, dark, miserable and challenging.

I am grateful to have had such an amazingly helpful big brother who was a lot more than any sister could ever ask for and he was a gentle giant. He lives on in my heart and I miss him dearly. His laughter and smile stays ingrained in my memories and that is priceless!

 

 

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