When I was growing up, my two older brothers were my protectors and my friends. I was a tom-boy and I wanted to do everything they did. I would go outside and they would talk me into chopping some wood. I would go with them to haul water from the well for our home and our grandparents. I would be their bat catcher while they practised their pitches. I would wake up and cook them food when they came home late. These are some of the flashback memories that I have.
Grief can touch you at any time of the day when memories surface. Sometimes they overwhelm you and you forget what you are doing. Other times they bring a brightness to your spirit. These feelings are normal, they are part of the grief work we have to do in order to deal with the pain. I am so fortunate that I have my family and friends to talk to about my grief. I also have my culture, my spiritual beliefs that strengthen the core of me so I can deal with the pain of loss.
Part of my grief is regret. As an adult I grew apart from my brothers. I didn't see them as often as I could have. Their lives went into directions that I couldn't follow or condone. They were a part of the intergenerational trauma we experienced as aboriginal people. The trauma my parents went through in residential school was passed on to their children and if, left unchecked, could affect our children and grandchildren. We didn't talk about our feelings and we didn't hug or say we loved each other. These were the experiences we were fed. As adults we can make choices but we need new knowledge to help us to change and stop it from happening to our children and grandchildren.
I honour my brother's memories. I loved them and I will miss them for the rest of my life. I am grateful to have known them.