The elder brother I never had

Written by Suraj Shah. Inspired by greatness.

Sometimes I think about the elder brother I never had.

My parents had a son before me, but he had died in a car accident as a baby, before I was even born.

If he was alive today, it would have been his 34th birthday and perhaps we’d have all been out as a big family celebrating this day.

But he’s no longer here. For me, he never was. Isn’t it strange to miss something you never had in the first place?

Over the years I’ve had some great friends and family, but I wonder what life would have been like if my elder brother was still alive.

When I sometimes feel this way, I take it as an opportunity to reflect on and question how good an elder brother I am myself.

Then I think about my younger brother and how he has looked up to and looked out for me all these years.

I am reminded that within my younger brother lives what I would expect from an elder.

It’s at that point when I am mesmerised by the magnificent nature of my bro.

On the days I feel weak, that fills me with both strength and comfort.

Reach out and lighten the load

Written by Suraj Shah. Inspired by greatness.

Struggling to breathe and overwhelmed by all there is to do today? Reach out – it’ll make sense once you’ve done it.

This morning my car wouldn’t start, so I called the recovery company who sent someone round to start it up for me. I got to work just fine, but turns out that it wouldn’t start again. So in the midst of trying to get the day’s work done, I started feeling the heavy burden of having to find a garage and arranging for my car to get there and for me to get home.

It then dawned on me that I don’t need to deal with this on my own. My colleague was prepared to drive me to the store to pick up jump cables or a new battery if needed. My wife was on the end of the phone, happy to ring round and find a garage.

So why the burden of having to deal with it alone?

I got consumed by my ego of wanting to deal with it myself and get the job ‘done right’. I was suffering (in advance!) at the thought of paying for new parts and work required to the car.

But this was silly – it needed to be done, regardless of how I felt about it.

So I sent my wife a message and reached out to her for help. And she delivered. She enquired about local garages and sent me a narrowed-down list, leaving me with an easy choice. I called up the garage, arranged for my car to be towed there this afternoon, and got on with the work I needed to do today.

The car hasn’t been fixed yet, but I feel better already. I told Heena how grateful I am of her quick response and now she feels wonderful too.

Whatever heaviness you may be feeling right now, think about what needs to get done (ask yourself whether it really does need to get done), then consider who you can reach out to help you and contact them.

It’ll lighten your load and will help them feel great too.

Finally remember – the people around you care for you massively – they won’t let you fail.

The carer’s role

Written by Suraj Shah. Inspired by greatness.

Have you lost someone who depended on you for their well being?

Some people in life are natural carers. They behave towards others with great respect, care and love.

Others are faced with a situation where they are forced to be a carer for someone who needs their support, fulfiling their duty the best way they can.

I believe you’re the second type, gradually becoming the first.

The care giver

You may be the husband, who looked after his wife right through to the day she died.

You may be the father, whose daugher married into a family that lives far away.

You may be the mother who waved goodbye to her son who has left home for university.

Whatever your role, you are a carer, a care giver, the giver of love and support and comfort.

Preparing for goodbye

As the husband with the severely ill wife, you may welcome her death, thinking that it may stop her suffering. With no prospect of a cure, you may have adjusted to the idea of your dear wife dying.

As the father whose daugher is about to be married, you may welcome her departure, understanding that she needs to start her own family.

As the mother whose son is about to leave home to start university, you may welcome his progression, realising that he needs to study and commence his career.

Whatever your role, you are a carer, a care giver, the giver of love and support and comfort.

Feelings of loss

When we care for others and the time comes for them to depart, it creates an inevitable vacuum in our lives.

We may feel bewildered or guilty or dislocated.

We may feel lost and confused and hurt.

With their loss, we may feel that we have lost our role in life. But does it mean we’re no longer a carer?

Continuing to care

Whatever the loss, the caring need not stop.

Find someone, something, anything to pour your love into.

Find someone to care for, mend a broken heart.

The pain of loss gets a little softer, the warmth of your presence expands.