Bryan had passed peacefully with my dad and sister at his bedside, holding his hands. I could not believe it. It did not seem possible that my brother of 39 years was no longer here. He will never get to meet his nephew or see him grow up. He will never get to be the uncle he had always talked about being. He will never have the opportunity to show him things and do things with Ryan he had long anticipated doing.  I will never get to see him again or even say good-bye.

Why did his life have to end five days after Ryan’s life began? Why did God allow the timing of it all? What good can come out of his passing at this very moment in time? Why did the joy of Ryan’s birth have to be a part of this tragic circumstance in my family’s life? How will this affect Ryan’s life, my life, my sister’s life, or most importantly my parent’s life? How was I supposed to have joy for Ryan when I was distraught over losing my brother? All these questions kept racing through my mind. I wanted answers from God, which I knew I was not going to receive at that time or even on this side of eternity. I was overcome with sadness, guilt, and  a great deal of anger.

The next few days were very difficult, to say the least. Devastation set in knowing Ryan and I would not be able to travel safely back to Knoxville, TN for my brother’s funeral. Ryan was only one week old, and I faced the possibility of a blood clot if I traveled. Life is just not fair. I could not even say bye and be there with my family during that time. I truly felt like an outsider looking in, like I was no longer part of the family because I could not be there with them. They would get to be there for each other and share that moment together while I was left behind. “Why me and why now?” That is all I could say to God. The time that was supposed to be the most special and joyful time in my life was stripped away with tragedy and will forever be a part of Ryan’s birth.

Death is never easy, but this one has been one of two that I have not been able to get through easily. With death comes the five stages of grief: denial, isolation, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. I have to honestly admit I am still on anger in this process and have been since before Bryan passed. I despise this in myself and have tried to move forward, but I know it will just be a matter of time. I have been angry about the timing of everything – his age when he passed, not being a part of the healing my family experienced with him before he died, not being able to share in those last weeks with him like the rest of my family did. Hearing their stories regarding those last few weeks they shared together has been difficult, along with being unable to travel back for his funeral, withstanding the effects from his death, and knowing the loss my parents have experienced, one in which no parent should ever have to go through.

Like I said before, time will heal and it will get easier, not just for me, but also for my family. I will have moved on through the other stages of grief to acceptance and be able to enjoy the sweet memories I had with my brother. I also will never forget Bryan and will always love him. I look forward to the day where I can share about his life to Ryan and let him know how much his uncle loved him and desired to be a part of his life.