Monday, 16 September 2013
Julian and the loss of my brother
A couple of days ago, Mum asked me how Julian was coping with my older brother’s passing, and I had to take a few minutes to think about it. To be honest, I’m not really sure. Given the fact that he and I have been at loggerheads these past few weeks, I’d hazard a guess that it’s not fantastic. The problem here is that, he won’t talk to me about it and I’m left wondering if I should push him to talk or leave him be . . .
I’ve decided to leave him be. He’s seeing his psychiatrist this afternoon, so he may feel more comfortable talking to her.
I’ve also decided that this time around, I need to focus more on myself than on Julian. I know he has lost his Uncle, but I have lost my big brother. As you grow older, you can sometimes lose the closeness you had with your siblings, especially when you have families on your own. Unfortunately, this happened with Robert and I, especially over the last few years, and there’s a certain amount of regret coupled with my grief.
Robert was a huge inspiration to Nigel and I when Julian was diagnosed. He was born with a Congenital Heart Defect called ‘Secondary Pulmonary Hypertension’ caused by ‘Eisenmongers’, and also developed another condition called ‘Polycythemia’. Our father and his mother were told that the chances of surviving his childhood were virtually non-existent, and yet he went on to be one of the oldest surviving people with his condition in Australia, passing away just 2 days short of his 49th Birthday.
You can see why Nigel and I took comfort in Robert’s life. When Julian was diagnosed and we were told that he probably wouldn’t survive his childhood, he reminded us that the doctor’s had been wrong about how long he would live since he was born. We used his life to remind Julian – who will turn 13 in November - of how it is possible to beat the odds the medical world tells you are against you. Every year was a milestone for Robert, and every time the doctors told him “You won’t” he looked them in the eye and said “I will”.
I have asked the psychiatrist to talk to Julian about Robert. I hope that this appointment will help him ease his grief and worries. And I hope that it will help him to feel that he can talk to his Dad and I about it as well.