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Worried About My Brother After My Son Was Killed In An Alcohol Related Accident

by Cindy2b
(Oregon)

Hello. My son died in a car accident. It has been 5 yrs. My nephew was the person driving, and alcohol was the problem.

I am getting by every day. I have done the grief sessions and I have done the "Every 15 Minutes" program for the high school in my town & victims panel. I seem to be doing ok, but this year has been the hardest for me. Because I seem to miss my son more now.


I just wondered why it seems to be getting worse.

And the other issue is that I have talked to my nephew & my brother, but they won't get into anything that makes them emotional. Because of course they don't like it.

My family seems to say, "We will always remember your son." But then when I talk of him I get the looks and the change of subject. And my brother's daughter just e-mailed me and said that my brother (her dad) isn't doing very good, and that he feels responsible for my son's death. Well, that makes sense, because my brother & his wife were the ones who went out to drink that night with his son & my son.

Anyway, she was wanting me to talk to my brother, which is fine but I don't know really what to say to him. I have told them I forgive their son I stood up for him in court and he did no time in jail. My nephew was like my own child, because my son & him did everything together.

I know my brother is depressed about all of this, but I am scared to say too much or not enough. I'm just not sure what to do.

And I also have my own issues. I know it's an ongoing thing. Anything you can tell me would be great.

Thanks for reading my story.





Response from Dr. DeFoore

Hello Cindy2b, and thanks for telling your story here. I am so very sorry for your loss. Words cannot express the depths of grief you must have been going through. The grieving process following this type of loss is long and challenging, especially in your circumstances.

It is good that you have worked on your own grieving process, and become involved in "Every 15 Minutes." That helps you in your grieving and healing process. If you haven't already done so, I encourage you to read and follow all of the recommendations in the stages of grief page.

Be sure you focus on and write about all of the things you loved about your son. Part of letting go is celebrating his life and not allowing yourself to be fixated on his death. I know his death was horrifying and sudden, and connected with drunk driving by a family member, but your son was so much more than that. You may have already been doing this, but I just wanted to mention it in case you haven't.

One reason the pain might still be there is that it might be a way for you to hold onto him. Sometimes it seems that letting go of the pain is letting go of the person, but it's not. He would not want you to suffer. He wants you to celebrate the best and the brightest of who he was in his life.

Regarding your brother, there may not be a lot you can do. It is really up to him to reach out for help. I'm not sure if you're the best person to help him. It sounds like his negligence is part of the reason for your son's death. You may be asking too much of yourself to be his support person under the circumstances.

But, he is your brother...so maybe the best thing is just to be around him. Hang out with him, but don't worry about talking about his feelings or your son. Let him bring it up, if he decides to. If not, just love him.

You sound like a very fine person, Cindy2b. I respect the gentle spirit that is reflected in your story. I wonder, however, if you have fully expressed your anger over what has happened.

You might also want to do these positive journaling exercises to help shift your focus and increase your experience of positive emotions.

I hope this helps.

My very best to you,

Dr. DeFoore

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