Grief & Loss

4 Things I Learned From Losing My Brother

Kyle died on my mom’s birthday unexpectedly. That moment changed my life forever. It also changed my view on life and taught me lessons that I didn’t grasp fully until experiencing grief.

1. Forgive (or let it go)

Anger, miscommunication, and jealousy are a few of the reasons arguments happen. It could even be an argument that you don’t remember how it started, but you’re still pissed off at the person. Feeling negatively about someone and dragging out those feelings does nothing for either of you. Forgive them, yourself, or just move on from it and let it go.

I know it’s easier said than done, but oftentimes arguments can be things we look back on and just shake our heads about. We all mistakes in life. Forgiveness can help you let go of the things bringing you down and allow you to start focusing on better things ahead – even if it means you’re not friends anymore.

2. Tell the people in your life that you care

It’s easy to get caught up in life and forget to really check in with the people you love. Please remember to tell check-in with them, meet with them for coffee, or just reach out to let them know you care. I regret not telling my brother this enough, but I know he knew just because he knew me well. It’s important to show people that you appreciate and love them though because we all love to feel that we matter. It’s also nice to be open and connected to the people we care about.

3. You never know what someone is going through

Illness, loss, heartbreak, poverty, depression – these can happen to anyone. You never know what someone else is dealing with which is why it’s so important to be compassionate to everyone you meet. A simple act of kindness goes a long way for someone going through a tough time.

After losing my brother, I’ve realized I don’t jump to conclusions for the way people are treating me. I know that being kind could do more good than giving attitude back. I’m not saying you have to hand out high fives and hugs, but I believe we should be gentler and judgment-free towards the people we encounter.

4. Asking yourself “will this matter in the long run?” when something minor happens

Spilling coffee all over your white t-shirt. Dropping your pizza face down in the dirt. Realizing your favorite show is canceled. These are all unfortunate, have happened to me, and were probably the cause of ruining my entire day. I might still be upset if something like this happened, but I ask myself now: will this matter tomorrow or weeks from now? How important is this to me? Sometimes it helps to shift my perspective and understand that there are bigger concerns to focus on.

However, sometimes these moments can be all back to back causing stress, anxiety, and frustration. There are ways to stay positive in tough times, but I also completely understand if you want to put on a movie, let out your frustration and cry while petting your dog. Life isn’t easy, but I do promise that there are better days (experiences, trips, jobs, laughs, relationships) ahead.

There is a lot I’ve learned after losing my brother, especially to hold the people you love close to you because life is too short. These are just a few of the things that my perspective has changed on. If you’re struggling with loss, be patient with yourself, allow yourself to grieve, and don’t be afraid to seek additional help from a trained professional.

What’s something you learned when dealing with a tough time in life? Let me know in the comments.

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