Season 3, Episode 4

Jillian Prouse / Brandon

Jillian’s Sibling Loss Story: Unresolved Issues, Family Conflict, and the Loss of a Sibling to Suicide

In this episode, of The Broken Pack: Stories of Adult Sibling Loss, surviving sibling Jillian Prouse, a mother and a teacher, shared her personal journey of grief and loss, highlighting the weight of unspoken words, the impact of suicide, and the need for support.

  • Jillian emphasizes the importance of empathy, understanding, and seeking help for those navigating this difficult experience of sibling loss.

  • She shares how her grief for Brandon has been complicated and delayed due to multiple other primary and secondary losses as well as difficult circumstances that occurred prior to his death.
  • Jillian’s experience with suicide loss and sibling loss highlights the unique challenges of grieving the loss of a sibling to suicide including a gamut of emotional experiences.

Additional key points:

  • This epsiode highlights the need for improvements in both the Canadian and US healthcare systems to ensure that people who are struggling with mental health issues can get the help they need when they need it.
  • Together, Jillian and Dr. Dean emphasize that by understanding and acknowledging the unique challenges of sibling loss, we can create a more supportive and compassionate society for those who have experienced this loss.

Content Warning: Information presented in this episode may be upsetting to some people. It contains talk of suicide.

  • If you are in the US and would like support for yourself or someone else with substance use, suicidal thoughts, or other topics discussed in this episode, please call SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or Text your 5-digit ZIP Code to 435748 (HELP4U) or call a warmline. For more immediate crisis call 911, 988, or go to the nearest emergency room.
  • If you believe you are witnessing an overdose, call 911 or your country’s emergency number immediately even if you are administering Narcan.

    In the USA an updated directory of warmlines by state can be found at https://warmline.org/warmdir.html

  • A warmline directory for trained peer supports in over 20 countries can be found at https://www.supportiv.com/tools/international-resources-crisis-and-warmlines (some of these may be hotlines).

Sibling loss survivor Jillian and her brother Brandon
Transcript

Dr. Dean: 

Hello and welcome to the Broken Pack, a podcast focused on giving adult survivors of sibling loss, a platform to share their stories and to be heard. Something that many sibling loss survivors state that they never have had. Sibling Loss is Misunderstood™. The Broken Pack exists to change that and to support survivors. I’m your host, Dr. Angela Dean. In today’s episode, Jillian and I discuss losing her brother, Brandon, to suicide, some challenging family dynamics, the Canadian healthcare system, and how difficult it has been to grieve her brother. she’s very early in grief. We recorded this in September of 2023. She lost her brother less than a year ago. Her heartbreak is palpable as many of us have experienced. Take a listen. Content warning. Information presented in this episode may be triggering to some people. It contains talk of suicide. Welcome to the show, Jillian, I was wondering what you wanted our listeners to know about you.

Jillian Prouse: 

My name is Jillian. I am a mom of a two and a half year old and a teacher. and I lost my only sibling, Brandon, this year.

Dr. Dean: 

Thank you. Before we talk about losing him, I was wondering what Brandon was like and what you want us to know about him.

Jillian Prouse: 

Brandon was very funny. Very funny. but also very introverted. So you had to really know him to get that side of him. He was very smart. very responsible. He also had this side of him that I share where you just decide for lack of a better term, you say fuck it and you just grab onto life and do the really fun things and the really crazy things and the really wild things. He lived like that in his younger years and so did I. He was a dad, two small kids, one stepchild. It’s all he ever wanted, was a family. He just had the biggest heart for the people in his life.

Dr. Dean: 

Sounds like a good guy Yeah. I can see that this is really hard for you to talk about him. What was your relationship like with him?

Jillian Prouse: 

We had a good relationship, when we were kids, very typical. There wasn’t too much sibling rivalry or anything like that, we were four years apart so we had our own things going on but also still each other. Then I was out of the house at post secondary when he started high school so we had that gap. And then in our adult years we both ended up settling in the same town that my parents had moved to. So we could all be close so that when we eventually had families we could raise our kids close to our parents and my house is actually just down the street from his house. We were best friends like fairly close up until he met his wife who was his ex wife at the time of his death.

Dr. Dean: 

That’s hard. So they were already divorced or in the process of it.

Jillian Prouse: 

They had separated and then, just prior to his passing, there was some claims of reconciliation, but it was all very dark and not the route.

Dr. Dean: 

Yeah. Not the route you wanted for him.

Jillian Prouse: 

No.

Dr. Dean: 

What would you like to share about that loss and losing him?

Jillian Prouse: 

I think the shock of it, He died by suicide. So that’s an added element. He was hospitalized in November for ideation and then it seems. Like he was getting the help he needed, the therapy he needed. He was off work on a leave to just focus on his mental health. He was separated from her. he had reached out to me and just said, I know I owe you an apology and it’ll come, but I just really need you right now. And I said, of course, like anything you need through this time. Shane and I, Shane is my husband, we are absolutely here. My parents were helping him take care of the kids because she just left the kids there. and then I had him over for Christmas and that was the last time that I saw him alive. It was my parents and him and all of our kids and… And he let it slip when we were having a private conversation that, oh, they were working on things and I had just said to him, you know that this isn’t going to end well, and you know that if she’s in your life in this way, I can’t be around. And that was the last kind of conversation we had.

Dr. Dean: 

Sounds like it was a heavy conversation for you.

Jillian Prouse: 

Yeah. Because prior to that, at the beginning of December, I had accompanied him to pick up his kids from her home in a different city. She was staying with her mom. He stopped on the way and got out of the car and said, I need to throw my wedding rings into the fields and it’s done. And I just remember breathing a huge sigh of relief that, we were all gonna get him back. the Brandon that we all knew, that actually enjoyed living, where everything wasn’t a struggle. I was so hopeful for him.

Dr. Dean: 

Did you see any glimpse of that in that month?

Jillian Prouse: 

I think him starting therapy, he seemed to be really self reflective, and he seemed to be taking it very seriously. He seemed to be taking it in. I know he was reaching out for some other resources. He talked a lot about shadow work. And I think he was finally starting to address some of the things that were maybe the cause of some of the behavior and problems to do with his mental health. He was on the right track.

Dr. Dean: 

For frame of reference, because you’re in Canada, what is the mental health system like there, meaning how accessible is it to get the help you need.

Jillian Prouse: 

I would say… It’s not overly accessible or, helpful. After he was hospitalized for ideation, they basically sent him on his way and said a psychiatrist would be in touch. And my mom got involved because days were starting to go by and nobody was getting in touch. And they said, Oh, because there’s a very long wait list. So because of public healthcare, which is incredible in many ways, the wait lists are very long. And dealing with something like this, time is very important.

Dr. Dean: 

So is mental health care covered under your national health care?

Jillian Prouse: 

No, so his hospital stay was covered, and then his psychiatry would have been covered, but we didn’t know when he was going to get in. My parents stepped in and got him a therapist that his job had some private coverage through.

Dr. Dean: 

Okay. Thanks for clarifying that. Cause I know I talked to someone in the UK and their system’s similar. Here everything obviously is private, or mostly. So as you watched him struggle, what was happening with your relationship then? You set a pretty firm boundary. It sounds like.

Jillian Prouse: 

Yeah, Prior to that conversation, because he only died. a little bit more than a week after that conversation, I just would text him and check in on him, and just say we’re here, but I definitely carry a lot of guilt for not showing up on his doorstep more and making more of an effort. It was very complicated. There was so much in the year that we didn’t really speak that needed to be addressed, I knew it wasn’t the time and I was comfortable with that, But I also had just really started my battle with infertility, and for the first time in my life was actually experiencing my own depression, so it was difficult to be there, in the way that I wish I had

Dr. Dean: 

I think with these unexpected losses, especially with something like suicide, you’re left with all of this unsaid, unresolved conflict

Jillian Prouse: 

Yea I did have the opportunity to speak to his therapist because she happened to also be one of my therapists and she had shared that similarly to how I felt that when he was clear he was very clear. He knew that repair needed to happen and he was excited to do it just wasn’t the right time.

Dr. Dean: 

yeah, I’m glad that you were able to get that confirmation. And I’m sure that as you alluded to, it’s hard to carry that. Where are you today with grief?

Jillian Prouse: 

It’s all pretty complicated. His ex wife has basically, we’ve become the enemy. so there’s a court, situation happening for my parents to have visitation with the children. I have not seen them. I have not spoken to them. and they are just following the court orders and rules and waiting to, they’ve had a couple of video chats with them. They’re going to keep pursuing that because Logan, the youngest was living with my parents when Brandon died to help him My parents were very involved in their grandchildren’s lives and they were there to help. Initially, my husband and I and my parents were very close and rallied around the fight that needed to happen. In our case, it was more the fight came before the grief. so I think definitely for my mom, her grief has been delayed. and for myself, it’s a mixed bag. I’m less at the forefront of the fight I’m more on the sidelines. So I’ve had my grief creep in. My husband’s extremely supportive. I’m very lucky to have him, but I would say in these later months, things between my parents and I are definitely becoming strained.

Dr. Dean: 

Mm hmm. It’s so hard when we lose anyone, but especially I think the sibling in that family unit just changes so much.

Jillian Prouse: 

Yeah.

Dr. Dean: 

What was it like for you to find out that he had died?

Jillian Prouse: 

I think just the ultimate shock I can picture the entire day as if it were yesterday. I was Christmas holidays so I wasn’t working I was at home with our daughter. I had just been to a different city for a fertility appointment. I was holding our daughter for her nap, a very normal day,

Dr. Dean: 

hmm.

Jillian Prouse: 

and my husband came upstairs to tell me something. He said, you gotta put her down, and I was like, just tell me. You know something’s not right, but never in my wildest dreams was that what was about to come out of his mouth. and as I mentioned earlier, my house is just up the street from my brother’s, so I. immediately jumped up and was at his house within minutes. My parents were there. Police were still there. It was a very chaotic, emotional scene.

Dr. Dean: 

hmm. Do you replay that often in your mind?

Jillian Prouse: 

I do, but there’s also a part of me that’s really grateful that I don’t, it’s, I can’t explain it, that we were there for him at the end, we weren’t, or he would still be here, but that we were the ones that were there and showed up and

Dr. Dean: 

I do want to share with you. So when I was a doctoral intern, my mentor said to me, there’s a lot that we have responsibility for as mental health professionals, but we can ultimately not control what someone does. And I want to share that with you because it sounds like you’re carrying this grief of we were there, but Ultimately, you weren’t is what you said, and and still you were there, right? You did as much as you can, it sounds like, and I know with suicide, there are so many mixed emotions

Jillian Prouse: 

Yeah, it’s, complicated to say the least,

Dr. Dean: 

sibling loss is disenfranchised, but that so is suicide loss. So you’ve got the double whammy of disenfranchisement, which just simply means other people don’t understand or acknowledge it. Did you get some period of time off after that for work?

Jillian Prouse: 

Yes, I was lucky. I just happened to be in a contract that allowed me to be off almost the entire time that the school year was still in. So from January until June, I only worked a handful of days in June I’m lucky now I have another part time job and I’m only going to be doing that until this coming January. So I have essentially a year off with a little bit of sprinkling of work in there.

Dr. Dean: 

Has that helped you with your coping

Jillian Prouse: 

Yes and no. Yes in the sense that Very much after this happened, my own four walls became I didn’t want to leave my home. I didn’t want to see anybody. I didn’t want to, but my grief has also been delayed because I’m at home caring for a two year old. In the early days, grief just happens. It wasn’t a case of I can tap in and turn it on and off and that it just, it would happen. And I would have to stuff it down because. two is too young for me to just be totally losing it in front of her. I would let the tears out and I would just say to her like, all feelings are okay. Sadness is okay, but I couldn’t, stay in my bed all day or,

Dr. Dean: 

You had to compartmentalize it so that you could take care of her. Yeah. Plus you were also going through a difficult thing with the infertility,

Jillian Prouse: 

yes.

Dr. Dean: 

Yeah. That’s a lot.

Jillian Prouse: 

Yeah.

Dr. Dean: 

Yeah. that you wish you had known? around grief and loss or sibling grief specifically.

Jillian Prouse: 

I just, I wish I knew anything about grief. I didn’t expect my first experience with grief to be, Brandon. You know, the relationship that is your entire life and expected to be almost your entire life. I had no idea what I was in for.

Dr. Dean: 

You were the older sibling?

Jillian Prouse: 

Yes.

Dr. Dean: 

Yeah, so he was there from most of the time that you can remember, I’m guessing

Jillian Prouse: 

yes.

Dr. Dean: 

What other things did you want to share?

Jillian Prouse: 

I think two of the big takeaways, which are very different. I know that suicide and mental health is very nuanced and very complicated because there’s a big push and a big conversation to do more. but I am having a really hard time understanding what that means. I’m having a really hard time grasping what that would even look like And then because I’ve lived through it, could it have actually applied to my brother? I don’t know, I guess I just don’t know how to to move past that, because there’s this part of you that feels a responsibility now, an obligation almost, to somehow contribute to things getting better. But I have no concept of what that looks, like the tangibility, I don’t know what that looks like. And I struggle with that a lot.

Dr. Dean: 

It’s interesting, you feel like you have to do something, you have to stay involved. Can you say more about that?

Jillian Prouse: 

I don’t know if it’s because of the loss, but I feel this kind of struggle between, for example, September is Suicide Awareness Month and Prevention Month and many people, well intentioned, are sharing lots of things on social media and encouraging people to talk about things, but. It all feels so empty because this, raising awareness, what does that actually do? It’s like these pieces that just are never going to actually connect, as if we can talk about it, but that’s not actually going to stop people from engaging in taking their lives.

Dr. Dean: 

hmm,

Jillian Prouse: 

I think about it all the time. I think about him alone at the end and I just, what conversation could have preceded that event to stop it?

Dr. Dean: 

Mm hmm,

Jillian Prouse: 

I add to that, he was in communication with his ex wife and he had told her that this is what he was going to do and she did not reach out to anybody.

Dr. Dean: 

Mm hmm. So it sounds like there’s some. understandable anger there.

Jillian Prouse: 

Yes.

Dr. Dean: 

I can’t imagine how hard that must be to know that someone knew. So back to your point of awareness, what can we do with that?

Jillian Prouse: 

Yeah. It’s been really difficult to take that. As you were discussing earlier, that personal responsibility component, like yes, ultimately he was going to do what he was going to do. He’s an individual person with his own capabilities and thoughts and free will, depending on which way you believe in that. But somebody had knowledge and could it have been a different outcome?

Dr. Dean: 

that’s so hard to go back to, right? That what if,

Jillian Prouse: 

mm-Hmm.

Dr. Dean: 

I’m guessing you have no communication with her.

Jillian Prouse: 

No, it’s been a very difficult, unique situation, the way that Canadian law works, even though they were not together, she was not living in the home, she is still legally his wife, so she has moved back into his home, resides there with the kids. And the day after he died, my parents and I went back to his home and what else do you do in those kind of early days of fog and you don’t know what to do. We were just trying to keep ourselves in reality and figure out what we have to do, what are next steps. And she very quickly inserted herself and said she was coming to the home and it was her home and we were to leave immediately. She sent police there. So, the day after he died, I was face to face with a 6 foot 230 pound detective saying no, absolutely not, I’m not leaving this home. This is a civil matter. This has nothing to do with law enforcement. You may leave. and that’s how we spent the day after he died. My heart breaks for anyone who has to watch someone close to them, a sibling, a dear friend, a parent exist in a toxic relationship.

Dr. Dean: 

mm hmm It’s certainly difficult for sure. My own brother and his wife were In the process of divorcing, when he died. So I relate with you on that. Some toxic things happened there too. It took away from your grief and your ability to mourn and do what was next.

Jillian Prouse: 

Yes.

Dr. Dean: 

Yeah. Were you able to have a funeral?

Jillian Prouse: 

We planned a celebration of life. The day that he died, a funeral director came, who my mom had reached out to, it’s a small community. She knew who she wanted, so he was present at the home, explained what would happen to his body, that it would have to be autopsied in a different city, and then it would be brought back, and then we could arrange for cremation, because that was the plan. And a few days after that, everything was halted because the ex wife, then spoke up and said, actually, it’s up to me what happens.

Dr. Dean: 

Mm.

Jillian Prouse: 

which then became a fight because, understandably when we were in his home, the detectives, the funeral director, all said, you do not want to see him like this. they would not let us, they very strongly advised us not to go to the basement to see him. So I had said, okay, if we’re not going to see him now, then before he’s cremated we, we need to see him. I knew that it would be important for my parents

Dr. Dean: 

Mm hmm.

Jillian Prouse: 

and I knew that it would be important for me to, to not, not an easy site, but for our last picture of him to not be in a body bag.

Dr. Dean: 

Mm hmm. Mm hmm. Mm

Jillian Prouse: 

And she stepped in and tried to stop the whole process because she’s the wife. which meant that we may not get to see him. This is how our process has been. one thing after another.

Dr. Dean: 

hmm. Mm

Jillian Prouse: 

Ultimately, my parents agreed to pay for all of the arrangements and then she agreed to let us continue with the plan that he would be cremated, that we would get to see him beforehand. That also meant she could see him beforehand and that his Remains would be split between her and my parents.

Dr. Dean: 

Mm hmm. My sister in law did something similar. I… Feel with you. I’m sorry for you as well. Yeah. so the celebration, I know other people have mentioned celebration, doesn’t feel like a celebration. I’m wondering how that was for you.

Jillian Prouse: 

Very surreal, I think it occurred about three weeks after he died. I very actively knew that it wasn’t going to help or aid my parents or it was something that we had to do for his friends, for people in the community. It felt like a completely out of body experience. it was thrown in a way, it was at a local brewery that’s, you can see the brewery from his front porch. He went there all the time, not all the time, but it was like the spot he would go if he went out for a beer. Hundreds of people came throughout the day and it was a snowstorm, It was, beautiful in a way to see so many people come and honor, but then you have to deal with the flip side of that, that all those people very quickly disappear. yea

Dr. Dean: 

And then you’re left with trying to figure it out.

Jillian Prouse: 

Yeah.

Dr. Dean: 

Where did you find support after his passing and after everyone else had gone on with their lives?

Jillian Prouse: 

my husband, I’ve been very lucky. I know that not all relationships are as healthy. Or as connected I don’t have a bad word to say about how he handled, how he is handling everything surrounding my grief, my process, else that’s going on. and then there are some programs available. There’s some group therapy that my parents attended. I’m about to attend a group therapy session. It’s not necessarily for. Sibling specifically, but for suicide survivors. And then I was put in touch with, a woman who does zoom therapy for again, suicide survivors. And she herself lost her brother the same way. So it’s been good to connect with somebody who actually has a similar story,

Dr. Dean: 

Right. And how wonderful that she was willing to share that with you in that way. I’m glad that you’ll have that support. especially as you go in to the anniversaries, have you thought about the end of this year and what that might be like?

Jillian Prouse: 

Yeah, it’s, I keep saying to my husband that the winter is going to be probably the roughest winter of my whole life. It’s going to be dark, it’s going to be cold, it’s going to, it’s all going to come. Those early days, the moment it happened, it’s all gonna feel as though it’s all going to just exist in the air for months. And I am dreading it. Yeah

Dr. Dean: 

and that’s understandable. Have you had birthdays and since his passing?

Jillian Prouse: 

Yeah, we had his birthday. We, have had a couple of small gatherings with just his closest friends and my family. Just get togethers where we eat food and just hang out. Are you able

Dr. Dean: 

to feel any connection with him currently?

Jillian Prouse: 

not as often as I would like, I was pregnant around his birthday this year and then miscarried again. And it was all very, thank you. I felt extremely connected because I had people in my life saying, now he can work magic and now he can, and I didn’t believe or not believe.

Dr. Dean: 

Mm-Hmm.

Jillian Prouse: 

the due date was right around the time that he died. And so I just, it felt very, I don’t know, coincidental, but not, but then we miscarried. So I’m kind of at a loss

Dr. Dean: 

Yeah. That’s a lot of loss.

Jillian Prouse: 

yeah.

Dr. Dean: 

Yeah. when you think about him, how hard is it for you to think about before he died and the good times?

Jillian Prouse: 

love thinking about it, actually.

Dr. Dean: 

Oh, good.

Jillian Prouse: 

I, I just… When I think about how silly and goofy and stupid we were and some of the trouble we got into together and for the most part, it makes me feel good. But then I get sad because we were entering, had entered, our phase of life where we had both become parents and now all of this shared experience that was supposed to happen, us raising kids together, is now not a thing.

Dr. Dean: 

right?

Jillian Prouse: 

And I’m just, I’m so curious, these big life questions that I don’t actually carry the answer to from anybody else but him. I want to say to him, what did it mean to you to become a parent? What did that feel like for you? all of these lost moments and chats and things that I don’t get to have, that’s really difficult.

Dr. Dean: 

Right. Thinking about how many more of those moments will be, I wonder if you let yourself go there or not.

Jillian Prouse: 

Sometimes it’s so hard, right now for me personally becoming a parent. I’m sure many people do, but I also am aware that not everyone does, but I take it very seriously.

Dr. Dean: 

Mm-Hmm. Mm-Hmm.

Jillian Prouse: 

husband and I have many conversations about parenting styles and. How to raise our daughter in a way that does give her as many of the advantages that we possibly can for her mental health in how she’s nurtured and raised and all of that. and that has brought up for me, a lot of things from my childhood, ways that I was raised and it’s not a criticism of my parents. the research has come so far in the last 20 years and It just devastates me that I can’t say to the one person like, hey, did you find this from childhood to affect you in this way? How are you going to do it differently? Do you see how this from our childhood has manifested in your life? How do you approach it? All of this, all these big things that build you into the person you are that he would have the insight to and the answers to and,

Dr. Dean: 

Right? Nobody else understands what that was like to be in that childhood. And I think that’s the one unique thing about sibling loss. And again, all losses are hard. So I’m not comparing them, but I think that is one unique aspect of this, is just how that person, especially your only sibling, like you don’t have even another sibling to ask about. Yeah, that, lost.

Jillian Prouse: 

Yeah, and then it’s reflected everywhere around me. I can’t imagine what my parents are going through losing a child. but who is rallying around them? My mom’s sister and her brother.

Dr. Dean: 

hmm.

Jillian Prouse: 

They’re there every day. They check on them every day. They do

Dr. Dean: 

Mm hmm.

Jillian Prouse: 

them every day. reflected everywhere in my circle. It’s just

Dr. Dean: 

So seeing their siblings take care of them and you not having that sibling. Yeah. Yeah, that’s hard. Are there things that, you’re still very early in this, in grieving, have a long way. Hopefully, unfortunately, you’ll carry this through the rest of your life. And do you know what you needed from people or what you didn’t get from people that you wish you would have?

Jillian Prouse: 

I would say it’s more now. So the early days, the food drop offs, which were incredible because, like again, with a two year old at home and trying to navigate all the fights that we were navigating and still take care of her and feed ourselves. The phone calls, the texts, all of that, but very quickly, I would say after about three months, it just, it stops it’s like when it first happens, you’re stuck in a well, and those early days, people are like throwing you tools, or food and water, expressing we don’t know how we’re going to get you out yet, but we’re going to get you out, but just, But we’re here, keep yourself alive kind of thing, like uh hmm they throw things down to you and then they just forget the part that they actually have to get you out of the well. So

Dr. Dean: 

Mm

Jillian Prouse: 

just no one shows up to be like, how are you doing? do you need to get out of your house? Do you need to go for a coffee?

Dr. Dean: 

hmm. how

Jillian Prouse: 

are you doing? I have one, maybe two friends that on a fairly regular basis and I understand people have their own lives. But I also understand how earth shattering this kind of thing is.

Dr. Dean: 

Mm

Jillian Prouse: 

And so I guess the abandonment has been a shock.

Dr. Dean: 

hmm. Mm hmm. For sure. I love that metaphor that you used with the well, I think that illustrates just exactly how people abandon you, like you said, in your grief.

Jillian Prouse: 

dark pit forever.

Dr. Dean: 

And now you’re trying to figure out how to get out. You just need a ladder. Nobody’s gonna throw that to you.

Jillian Prouse: 

Yeah.

Dr. Dean: 

or lassie to come rescue.

Jillian Prouse: 

Yeah,

Dr. Dean: 

Okay. so What are some of your favorite memories that you have of Brandon? That we spent a lot

Jillian Prouse: 

of our childhood on the beach and when we were adults we went and all had a beach day with my parents and his stepdaughter at the time and there’s a shipwreck just off the shore and you could swim out to it My mom of course being my mom was all in a panic like you can’t swim out there And I was like, I’ve done it several times. I assure you we can we’re both strong swimmers, we’ll be fine and We tucked a beer each in the back of our bathing suits and we swam all the way out to this ship rusty old ship and we just climbed up on the ship and then we sat there and like just him and I Drank our beer and just talked about I don’t know truly special some moments are and how great some of the world can be and it just was a perfect moment mm hmm

Dr. Dean: 

sounds beautiful. So those adult moments of learning who each other are as an adult.

Jillian Prouse: 

i really like thinking about i mean it’s difficult because there’s those moments and i can see those flashes when i think about him and i And then there’s a shift when he gets in deep with his ex wife where the life just gets sucked out of him and he’s just, he’s like a. You know those dirt clouds that fall around that character from Charlie Brown?

Dr. Dean: 

Yeah.

Jillian Prouse: 

It’s like you could see all the things, it’s not dirt, but all anxiety clouds and stress clouds and all, you could just see it following him and just so hard to watch. It’s really hard to watch.

Dr. Dean: 

Have you tried to share the things that were left unsaid, like talk to him or wrote to him or anything since he died?

Jillian Prouse: 

My husband and I take my daughter to the same beach. a couple of times this summer and I go out on the paddleboard by myself and I just float out pretty deep and I’ve had a couple of conversations with him.

Dr. Dean: 

hmm. Mm hmm.

Jillian Prouse: 

A couple of jokes and I get mad at them sometimes and like How dare you? How dare you leave? and then, yeah, I make a couple of jokes cause he had a really dark sense of humor and I have a really dark sense of humor, so I make inappropriate jokes when it’s just myself and talking to him.

Dr. Dean: 

Yeah. saw on a, it was some, I don’t know, a Facebook thing. this person had ashes put in for their sibling and it said, it’s really dark in here. They had actually had that engraved on there. I was like, that’s so clever. I Are there any other memories that you did want to share?

Jillian Prouse: 

Him becoming a dad was a pretty special one.

Dr. Dean: 

Mm hmm.

Jillian Prouse: 

again, it’s I’ve talked to since he died past girlfriends, his high school sweetheart, she’s very lovely. She even said like they started dating when they were 16 and she was like, it’s all he ever wanted was a wife and kids to take care of. So when he finally did become a dad, it was like a pretty big moment. Pretty special watching it happen. My wedding, I have really fond memories of him at my wedding and just a lot of really before what I call the dark times. So before she entered, just a lot of really happy, easygoing, moments in his backyard. I remember there’s a very famous Canadian band, The Tragically Hip. And the lead singer was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumor and they went on this huge farewell tour and they played their last show and my parents and my brother and a couple of his really good buddies, we all listened to it on an old FM radio in the backyard, like around a campfire and it was like one of the best times

Dr. Dean: 

Yeah.

Jillian Prouse: 

and yeah,

Dr. Dean: 

Yeah. Sounds like he was a lovely human being and I’m very sorry for your loss.

Jillian Prouse: 

Thank you.

Dr. Dean: 

Thank you for sharing today. Thank you so much for listening. Our theme song was written by Joe Mylwood and Brian Dean, and was performed by Joe Mylwood. If you would like more information on the Broken Pack, go to our website, the broken pack.com. Be sure to sign up for our newsletter, Wild Grief, to learn about opportunities and receive exclusive information and grieving tips for subscribers. Information on that, our social media and on our guests can be found in the show notes wherever you get your podcasts. Please follow, subscribe, and share. Thanks again.

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