My Beloved Brother and Best Friend, Robert

Lisa Whitchurch

picture of Robert My dear brother Robert, just 35 years old, was taken suddenly and without warning. Rob was my hero growing up and my best friend as an adult. No sister could ask for more. At 32, my world has been tuned upside down. Rob studied and went to college, just finishing short of being in the top 10 of his class. He went on to become a successful funeral director. He was a star employee - Rob was referred to as the Funeral God because of his knowledge and know how. He read extensively and educated himself in many areas. Rob lived life by the book and was the truest and most honest person I knew.

On December 31st, 1998 Rob went to dinner with friends. As everyone was getting ready to leave, Rob collapsed hitting his head on a tile floor. I know my brother never did drugs and drank only socially. I received a phone call - that frightful phone call - that my brother had fallen. That was it. My husband and I raced to the trauma center. I felt myself getting sick inside as we raced there. Rob required brain surgery to remove a blood clot from hitting his head. When I saw Rob before and after the surgery, I denied that was him...I had talked to him that very same day. I denied he was in surgery. I walked around in a trance. There was nothing anyone could do or tell me.. I was up all night. I lit a candle next to his picture and brought it in my bedroom and laid next to it and prayed. When tests revealed that Rob had no brain activity, we shut life support off. In a matter of hours prior to this, I talked to him and then within a flash, he was being kept alive.....Why did this happen. I decided to read a eulogy at his funeral. The words just came to me. How I found strength, I don't know. I just knew I had to do it. I had to tell the world how much love I felt for Rob and somehow thought that he may be listening to his little sister. After weeks, we found out Rob had dilated cardiomyopathy, a heart disease that strikes middle age men with few symptoms. As the disease progresses, you black out. There is no margin for error with this disease and there does not seem to be a cure. Rob blacked out - and his life ended shortly thereafter. Had he lived through the head injury, he would have required a heart transplant. Our loss was a lose lose situation. What a waste of such a beautiful life and bright future. Why ? Why Rob? Why a person who was so dear to me. Rob lived life honestly and lost his life anyway. I don't even think Rob received a parking ticket in his life. He was true to himself and the world.

Yes, life is one big let down. I do believe in God.......but a support group, no example, no person could ever soften my blow. Time will not heal my wound. Apparently, I am destined to be very unhappy the rest of my life. As long as Rob is not in my life, the void will never be filled. I have already read books, watch TV shows, prayed doesn't change much. Loss equals pain. As long as the loss is there, the pain will exist. I do feel Heaven is just a heartbeat away for me. Our bond has been broken but as each day passes, I am one day closer to being with Rob again. I hold that thought very close. Our only saving grace is that we don't believe Rob suffered. He was unconscious but, why this ever happened, I will never understand nor the madness that goes on in this world. I look for relief but it doesn't come. My face doesn't tell the story inside nor the pain and anguish I feel as each day passes. Rob's loss has changed my perspective on life. Live each day acknowledging that it could be your last... you never know what will happen or when. I thank God for my beautiful husband and family......but the void and loss of my dear brother will remain. A part of my heart is in the palm of Rob's hand. Rob can give back my heart when I see him again, someday....I hope.

Lisa Whitchurch

You can send email to Lisa at: [email protected]
mail welcome

anniversary date 01-02-98
date of post 05-12-98

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

Crisis, Grief, and Healing: Tom Golden LCSW