Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Karen, and being kind

45 Responses

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  • David MacGregor,

    Thank you Russell.
    Love and loss seem to go together.
    Like bitter and sweet.

    Auckland, New Zealand • Since Feb 2007 • 41 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Emma Hart,

    Russell, your sister was obviously Quite Something, and she looks like one of those somethings was “a bunch of fun”. We are lucky to have had such people in our lives, for however long.

    Example: Greg’s surname is also Brown. When they married, she went around insisting that she was going to be Karen Brown-Brown, just to make it clear she hadn’t taken his name.

    She hadn’t been a big partier in the sense of drinking since her mid-30s, when she developed that allergic reaction that some women get (including Fee – I’ve never met a man who suffered it) to alcohol and wine in particular. The need to stay healthy was important after her cancer too.

    Not drinking, as it turns out, is a very good attribute in someone who organises events where everyone else drinks. (See: charity queen Rose Horton.) I think she and I inherited the host gene from Dad. We like to have folks around at ours.

    Seeing as it’s just us here, this story always made me laugh. When she was about to have her double mastectomy, she had the understandable fear that Greg wouldn’t desire her any more. She admitted this to him, and he said:

    “Aw, honey … I’d still love you if they sewed up your box!”

    Sometimes, you have to love Australians.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22811 posts Report Reply

  • David MacGregor,

    Thank you Russell.
    Love and loss seem to go together.
    Like bitter and sweet.

    Auckland, New Zealand • Since Feb 2007 • 41 posts Report Reply

  • Nick Kearney,

    A poignant tribute, Russell. Nice words, at the appropriate time.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 73 posts Report Reply

  • Sue,

    Much love russell

    For me it's not that it gets easier it just gets different
    For us we totally Changed christmas and spend it at Te Papa or going to the movies

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 527 posts Report Reply

  • Greville Whittle, in reply to Sue,

    it's not that it gets easier it just gets different

    This is true for me as well, you never get back to normal as it were, you just find a new normal. It is our second Christmas without Mum and we are relearning what works for us all.

    I want to join the others thanking you for sharing this story Russell, and for providing such a nice place to visit.

    Hamiltron • Since Oct 2008 • 50 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Greville Whittle,

    I want to join the others thanking you for sharing this story Russell

    You're about the millionth person who's thanked me on one forum or another today, and it's a response I genuinely didn't expect. So thank you, too.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22811 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Bennett,

    Thank you for sharing Russell. I'm thinking of your family and your loss this Christmas. My sister died 23 years ago (she was 23). She will always be with us in her absence.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 172 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark, in reply to Russell Brown,

    People find it extraordinarily hard to talk about loss. I think what they are thanking you for is that your expression of your grief and loss reflects how they feel about their own losses, and give them words for what they're feeling.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3136 posts Report Reply

  • Phil Wallington,

    That is a lovely and loving tribute to your sister. I lost my "big" brother 10 years ago on Boxing Day... I miss him every day but good memories abound and the great sadness I believe is how he has missed seeing his four daughters grow into strong, confident and talented women, each following a different path. You too will miss your sister each day but burnished memories will still gleam in your heart. Take special care of your Mum this Christmas.

    Waikawa Beach • Since Sep 2013 • 41 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    Thank you, Russell.
    This is strangely detached Christmas as we are in Nelson on a deathbed watch. Josephine's father is in steep decline, stricken with cancer, after living a life as a rugged forester. It may be today or tomorrow or next week but I am returning home today as I don't want to leave my daughter alone any more days. Josephine will stay on with her sisters, So, 'Merry Christmas' seems a bit forced.

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2557 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Geoff Lealand,

    Oh Geoff, that sounds terrible, but being with your daughter seems the right thing. My deepest sympathy.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22811 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to Geoff Lealand,

    ‘Merry Christmas’ seems a bit forced

    So sorry, Geoff. x

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3891 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    Having not ever lost someone properly close to me, I can only imagine what it is to experience.

    Sending love your way, Russell, Geoff, Emma, and all who are feeling the loss of a loved one.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

  • Hebe,

    Russell, thank you for this moving post. You have found words of succour and insight.

    And thank you for sparking and being the centre of a community where such a post is respected and honoured.

    Christchurch • Since May 2011 • 2898 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand, in reply to Russell Brown,

    What a wonderful story about your brother-in-law, Russell.

    Peter, Josephine's father, stirred a little on Christmas Day and scoffed down smoked salmon, after not eating for days. Must have sparked memories of Christmas' past in the old fellow.

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2557 posts Report Reply

  • Hebe, in reply to Geoff Lealand,

    My Great-Aunt's last food was Christmas pud and custard: her favourite food.

    My sympathies Geoff to you and your family.

    Christchurch • Since May 2011 • 2898 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark, in reply to Geoff Lealand,

    I am so sorry that this is happening, Geoff. Being old is no fun for the elderly, and dying is no fun for the living. I was just saying to a young friend who is on death watch that it's one of most pure expressions of love, holding vigil. May Josephine be able to take some breaks, and may he die peacefully. All love to you, my friend.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3136 posts Report Reply

  • llew40,

    Kia kaha to you and your mum Russell - we lost our sister Sue to the same disease nearly 6 years ago now. Mum will never really recover from it, but we do learn to live with the grief and we do always get little reminders of the myriad of ways we miss her - and what Sue has missed in terms of the lives of her family and friends - particularly at times like these. Hold onto the best of those we love.

    Since Nov 2012 • 140 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    Lovely words Russell and you have my sympathy for your loss.

    My brother died when I was 25, after 6 months of brain cancer. I think I was still too young to properly feel the loss and certainly way too young to be able to put words as good as yours to the emotions I felt.

    Thank you so much for your post. They are your words and your emotions but somehow, as you share them, they resonate, the tears come back and the memories with them.

    /hug

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4458 posts Report Reply

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