Hole in My Heart

Janet Cook

It was 6 1/2 years ago. I was at home sorta sick -called in to work that day -I'd had a virus but the truth is I had done something very rare for me-called in sick when I wasn't too sick. I was enjoying this 'sickness' when at about 4pm my mother calls to tell me my brother is (not sick...but...) dead. He was at work and collapsed sudden death. Age 36. It was a total shock. We did not know what may have caused it. The next few days were awful. I remember doing errands getting ready for the funeral and I had a fever of 104. I couldn't have cared less. My other brother became so ill vomiting that he didn't think he could make it to the funeral. My dad with a bad heart condition, literally did collapse and we all decided himself included, that he should not go to the funeral. He made a comment I'll always remember that he had been a POW in WWII but the loss of his son is much worse than that . Well, we buried Bryan on New Years Eve day. It felt cruel. Good bye 1993. Good bye Bryan. You didn't make it. Too bad but it's another year and forget you. We found out via autopsy that Bryan died of severe right sided heart enlargement/failure secondary to two very big holes -congenital holes from birth -that no one knew about. (Plus he had an old heart attack at some time in his life that noone knew about).

All this major heart disease on some one who the only heart test he had had his whole life was one ECG (which showed the old heart attack but somehow this information fell through the cracks and never got followed up on). Well, I do ECGs for a living and have since 2 years before Bryan died. (I did not do the one he had done nor did I know about it until later) So I have a lot of guilt about his death. I had also been studying about heart failure in regards to my dad but did not ponder that that may be my brothers problem. I know I'm not a nurse.I have no license whatsoever of any kind.

And I do not earn that much money from my little EKG job. But it still hurts. You know it would. I have had to deal with my hard feelings about Bryans doctor whom he went to several times in just 2 or 3 months before he died complaining he did not feel well. I have had to deal with my feelings about x-rays that he had that stated the heart is normal in size. (wrong )And I have had to deal with my feelings about the ECG he had that was not followed up on in addition to the shock about his past uncaught heart attack. So, that's part of what I have had to deal with - the medical aspect-you know when the coroner says his heart was so bad he would have needed a transplant -and why that wasn't caught. But the main thing I have had to deal with is that it was Bryan. I loved him very much. As our family of 7 would be together ,an invisible arch always went from me to him. I always felt there was something different about him- that he would be well known some day -with a special mission in life. He seemed to have survived several close calls. As a baby they thought he would die of pneumonia (they should have checked the heart) but he didn't. Once there was a fire in his room but I woke him up. Once some stranger threw a brick at his head-his temple area. Several things. All of this was also part of why his death was such a shock.

But it was his personality that made him special to me. He was humerous and loveable. Wish I could have told him of my love. Once , our elderly grandmother recently remarried in her 80's after being a widow a while , visited with her new husband Walter. Visiting, and getting to know us, he inquired of Bryan how he had managed to quit smoking for such a long time. Bryan replied "Lots of sex!". I wasn't there and I'm kind of glad I wasn't. ha. I'm the painfully shy type. Seriously, I am. Also, I am a Christian and always knew in my heart Bryan would love the Lord if he knew Him. I later found out he had been going to Bible studies at work before his death. Bless his heart. Which brings me to how I've been for the past 6 1/2 years. It's still rough. The medical part of me screams out . It seems Bryan's bad luck continues as I seek to resolve this. Sometimes in the past 6 1/2 years , I could just feel someone thinking "You should be over this " and inside I respond ''OK , I' ll get over this if we can go to the cemetary and say to Bryan 'You should be over this !" The one thing that has helped me the most is the shortest verse in he Bible. He wept. It was a story about a sister loosing a brother. And Jesus wept. It was at this time that He and the Father could hold back Christs power no longer and it was compassion for a sister who lost her brother that did it. Jesus wept. And I have wept many a time on Christ my pillow . Thank you.


Date of birth Feb 23, 1957

Date of death Dec 28, 1993

Married/No children

Janet Cook

You can send email to Janet Cook at [email protected]

mail welcome

Anniversary date - 12-28-93
Date of post - 6-30-00

[return to home page] [column] [book excerpts] [honor page] [discussions page]