What I Wish I Had Known Before My Brother Died
Matthew Hall

I can’t speak from the perspective of dealing with a loved one who is coping with addiction, but I can relate to dealing with death. I lost my father when I was 9, my friends brother in middle school and some grandparents. I also almost died myself in Dec 2014 at the age of 36 with 2 kids and a wife at home (one who was just 24 DAYS old at the time). Luckily I am here.

The common denominators are that we are never truly prepared for it and we would give just about anything to have a few more moments, days, weeks, years IF WE HAD ONLY KNOWN.

Nearly dying myself truly made me aware of my mortality and finite (but unknown length of) time we have. I think about this just about everyday now — and I am ok with that. Sure, we get into our daily grooves and easily take things for granted. We have to… or else we would go mad feeling like every second is our last.

We can also torture ourselves about the “what ifs” related to losing someone close to us. I think about my Dad every day. That’s every day for 29 years since he passed. I will KEEP on thinking of him. But we can’t change the past and it is not fair to torture ourselves about things we can’t undo. We have to remember the happiest of memories and think of how are lost loved ones would want US to live.

So outside of saying “I’m sorry for your loss” (which I am) or “We are thinking of you and your family” (which we are), I will leave you with these thoughts…

Grieve, but do not torture or blame yourself. Look around you — at yourself, your parents, grandparents, kids (if you have any), your friends. Don’t live like you (or anyone) could die at any second, but also don’t live like there are an infinite amount of seconds or moments left. Think hard about what gives you pleasure in life. Think twice before missing out on a silly little moment with your kids or loved ones because you “are busy”, distracted or upset about something trivial. Tell them you love them — all the time.