Family Lost and Family Found

My brother, Ernst, circa 1989

My brother, Ernst, circa 1989

A week has passed since my brother, Ernst, was found dead, on his boat. On Monday during the autopsy, it was discovered he had had a heart attack. No one knows where the blood on the bed and the floor came from.

His daughter and her husband and child began their car trip south to my brother’s boat. And an exodus of family began to arrive here near his boat and his last home. In all, he had four children from two different marriages.  And he was also the grandfather of  four grand kids. There are five siblings. Each of us with different relationships and complex feelings.

Two didn’t make it for his memorial Wednesday. They were just too far away to make it on such short notice. We will have to work harder to include them in the grieving.  As

Ernst Winter 1992

it is they are already estranged due to complexities of our mother’s death two years ago. Pain pain pain. Can it ever be rolled under the rug?

My brother, Ernst had been planning a sailing trip on the ocean to the Virgin Islands and was to have left on Friday. He made a voyage of a different kind.

I’m not ready to blog about writing and since some of you know that this blog is also about my life as I maneuver through, at this time this is all I have to offer.

The part of the title of family found is that in the process of family getting together to mourn Ernst and make sense of his life, I have been brought closer to the family he left behind. The short story is that in making sense of Ernst’s life and in trying to celebrate it with a memorial, the whole family found each other and grew closer. I am so grateful for that. In loosing my brother I have found his family.

Are there those of you who have had this same thing occur? Please weigh in through comments. 

Ernst with Keese c. 1990

Ernst with daughter, Anneliese Jane, 1985

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About ClaraBowmanJahn

Journal writer. Author of "Annie's Special Day" And coauthor of Edmund Pickle Chin, A Donkey Rescue Story." Proud mother and grandmother of wonderful kids. Wife of brilliant husband. Servant of two cats. Member of Pennwriters and SCBWI.
This entry was posted in Clara Bowman-Jahn, Clarike Bowman-Jahn, life story, personal growth and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

36 Responses to Family Lost and Family Found

  1. Catherine Johnson says:

    Oh Clar my prayers and thoughts are with you. What a tragedy. I’m so sorry for your loss. You grab hold of that silver lining and cherish your new bonds in the family. x

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  2. So sorry for your loss Clar. Take heart in that you have found more family. Thoughts are with you from down under. *hugs*

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  3. So very sorry for your loss, Clar. I’m glad that at least you have found family to be close to in this terrible time. Hugs to you!

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  4. suzicate says:

    Again, I’m sorry because losing a sibling is difficult and painful. While it brings most of the family together there are those who push away for what ever reasons. We all grieve differently. And time really does sometimes heal those wounds and sometimes others are created….still going through the many changes of our family after the process.

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    • clarbojahn says:

      yes, I know what you speak of. Siblings grew apart after my mom died and have never reconciled and now those feeling surface again. Being far away in miles make it difficult for some to heal, too.

      We need to be gentle with one another. There is so much hurt left over. Ernst had fractured relationships, too, making this even more complex.

      I hope your family finds peace soon in the process of grieving. Best wishes to you and your family. 🙂

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  5. Keeping you, E and your family in my thoughts and prayers. May your new family bonds continue to grow! Offering my sympathies, much Love and Light.

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  6. I am so sorry to hear this, Clar…my prayers are with you. I know writing about your brother in time will heal your wounds. We can be thankful for the gift God has given us.

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  7. Dear Clar,
    My thoughts and prayers are with you at this difficult time. Thank you for being so open about your family strains. I too, am experiencing similar family issues. My heart sings knowing you’re reconnecting with family.
    Warmest blessings,
    Tracy

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    • clarbojahn says:

      I guess it’s normal to have so many different ways of grieving as there are relationships. I too hope your family finds peace. We have work to do with mine. All the out pouring of love here on comments is helping me feel better and more optimistic.

      Thanks so much for your kind words. 🙂

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  8. Oh Clar, I am so very sorry for your loss. You are so brave to share this with us and I feel honored that you didi. Hugs and blankets of love from me to you. I am grateful that you have his family to love on, now.

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  9. Rosi says:

    Clar, I am sorry to hear of your loss, but glad you found a positive side. Sending healing thoughts your way.

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  10. Margot Finke says:

    Oh my dear Clar, I am so sorry. I have just found time to look at your book posts, and I read this one first. My heart goes out to you and your family. When someone from a large family passes on there are always a host of different emotions and feelings swirling back and forth. Just hold on to the good memories for comfort, and let the rest go. In time, those wonderful memories, lovingly stored, will make your loss more bearable.

    Lots of comfort hugs, mate.

    Margot Finke

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  11. Widdershins says:

    Very nicely put 🙂 Good on you for trusting your instincts on this one … candle in the window for tomorrow.

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  12. I was so sorry to hear of this Clar. Loosing a sibling is always difficult. My brother was only 19 when we lost him. Yes, it did make us closer as we made a decision to put away our differences and stick together no matter what. My blessings to you and your family.

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    • clarbojahn says:

      I hope we are able to put away our differences and treat each other gently now for awhile. Every one is hurting in their own way.

      Thanks so much for your kind words. 🙂

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  13. Linda Sittig says:

    Clar, I am so sorry for the pain you are going through. I remember when I lost my mother, she was only 61 and I was 27. I was angry at her for dying young before we could resolve the difficulties between us. But then her death prompted me to explore her life through genealogy, which has become my passion and the force behind my novel. In my explorations I learned things about my mother I had never known, and the gift I received was the humbling experience of empathy. Empathy towards someone whose life had not been an easy one, and did not perhaps deserve the judgements I had surrounded her with. Sometimes death brings us closer to family.
    linda sittig:)

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    • clarbojahn says:

      Hi Linda,
      Thanks so much for sharing your extraordinary relationship with your mother and why you wrote your novel and how that has healed you. Often the act of writing is healing in itself and discovering qualities in yourself and others is the gift it gives.

      Thanks so much for stopping by and come again sometime. 🙂

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  14. I am sorry about your brother. 😦

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  15. pattyabr says:

    So sorry for the loss of your brother

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  16. Stacy S. Jensen says:

    I’m sorry about your loss. I’ve kept this post in my inbox since I first read it. Whether it’s sudden or expected, it is never easy. A void remains.

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    • clarbojahn says:

      Thanks, Stacy.
      I appreciate your kind words. No it isn’t easy. He was so complex and left fractured relationships. It seems each time I have a loss, my late husband makes a come back with feelings of the past. Even though I’m happily remarried now.

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  17. I have been traveling and just returned and saw your e-mail. I’m sorry for your loss. Love the tribute of pictures. Sending you love.

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  18. Sorry to hear about your brother. My thoughts and prayers to your family. It is hard to loose someone you love and grew up with. I lost my grandma a few years ago and never got to say goodbye. I felt bad that I am not even able to be there for the funeral. Thanks for sharing your brother with us. The photos shows how much he loved and was loved by a wonderful family.

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