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The loss of a best friend.

Updated: Jan 13


Candle on a coffin

The day I was accepted by This Naked Mind Institute, I found out my brother, one of my best friends in the world, was seriously ill with cancer. It was an hour after my interview with a TNM Coach, and shortly after my confirmation that I had been accepted into the Training Academy.


My first thought was, do I continue on this path? The whole reason for me wanting to join the This Naked Mind Institute was to help people, just like my brother, out of the alcohol trap. Weirdly, it made me more resolute. I now wonder if on that day someone was helping me with my decisions.


My brother had been diagnosed with an aggressive form of oesophageal cancer, small cell, something linked fairly directly with drinking alcohol. There was little doubt it had contributed to his illness at the very least. I drove hours to be with him and his young family, to sit with them in the hospital, and my brother explained what the doctors had told him with already laboured breaths. They had asked him questions on his life insurance, and how his family would be cared for after he had gone.


It was grim, so grim. And so fast. A few weeks earlier had been his 50th birthday, and he was fine! Now his young wife and children sat near me, in stunned silence, as he told me what had happened in the last few days, when he was rushed to hospital because he could no longer breathe properly on his own. His appearance had changed radically in just a few weeks. My heart ached with incredible pain, but I stayed positive, because you have to have hope to fight cancer, or there is no point fighting.


I visited him again a week or two later, when they had released him from the hospital and allowed him to go home for a little while between chemotherapy treatments. I arrived at lunchtime, and he had a glass of red wine in his hand, sipping it as he told me about how he would fight the cancer. My younger brother joined him with a can of beer. I had, by this time, already found freedom from alcohol for some time, and needed nothing but the hot cup of tea I held in my hand. I listened carefully for clues to his mental wellbeing. Having lost my eldest son to cancer, and my mum, I was familiar with the terminology, and was able to pick out the little hopeful bits of information, which lifted me from within. And the hope was countered by familiar, more insidious terminology, from which I knew probably meant there was no hope at all, and it flatlined and deadened me inside. Over the next few months I visited regularly, and each time stole a little more hope from inside me.


I was studying hard to be an alcohol freedom coach with This Naked Mind by now, and the course was intense, but so, so wonderful. It taught me incredible techniques to work on all my energy snags, and one by one I would douse out the hopelessness and despair with these very techniques that I would one day be able to use to help others, and it kept me going. It kept me hoping. "Your brother is about to die. He will leave you. You will lose one of your best friends in the world." my thoughts would rant at me inside my head. "Is this true?" I would counter, using my newly learned techniques. "You cannot know this to be true. People are saved from cancer every day! There must be hope." And so this continued, for another couple of months.


During his last week with us we sat outside and stared at a blue sky, and watching huge Koi carp swim around a pond at the hospice at which he had been placed by now. He could hardly breathe, hardly talk, and would have been in so much pain, except for the cocktail of drugs he was on by this time. He supped the little cup of red wine they had poured for him, it brought him comfort. He asked me questions his big sister could not answer, I struggled to find the right words. I tried so hard not to cry. If I had started I would have never, ever stopped. I tried to be his big sister for the last time. I do not know if I succeeded.


Later I travelled back home from seeing him, the damage to my heart irreparable by now. The pain so intense it threatened to consume my very being. By now I was struggling to work, struggling to communicate with other friends, colleagues and family, wrapped up entirely in the pain of losing yet another of my most loved family to cancer. It triggered my very soul into remembering the loss of my son, vivid memories searing every inch of my thoughts. Burning me from the inside. It took my breath away too at times. It stole my sleep and crept into my nightmares. I hoped it would not be much longer for my brother and best friend. It was all too cruel.


Again, I took comfort in completing my studies with This Naked Mind, and my fellow students offered kind words of comfort, and coached me gently into accepting what was. It kept me busy, and it gave me so much purpose. It would be too late now to help my brother, but soon I could help free others caught in the same trap with alcohol, thinking they needed it, wrongfully thinking the world would be rubbish without it. I studied even harder, and began to complete the hours and hours of work required for my final exams for my certification. I did not even think of drinking alcohol, it never even entered my thoughts. I gave my brother the greatest gift when he needed me, the gift of being entirely and one hundred percent present. My entire love. My whole heart.


The call came early this Monday morning that he had passed. He was free. And my world collapsed into a chasm of pure pain. My heart broke into a thousand tiny pieces. I finally took a break from work, from friends, and from my studies, to grieve.


And now I begin the healing process.


See you on the other side, my friends. And thank you for reading.


Amanda x


In loving memory of Alex, my wonderful, kind brother.



A bright sky

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4 comentarios


Kelly Frazier
Kelly Frazier
26 nov 2023

Amanda, you are a wonderful writer! What a beautiful tribute to your brother. I know you will change lives and bring some comfort to those going through something similar. XOXO

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Amanda Foster
Amanda Foster
30 nov 2023
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Thank you so much Kelly! You are so kind xxx 😍

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Marcin Cybulski
Marcin Cybulski
04 nov 2023

Amanda, your story and the way you've articulated it is deeply moving. Your words brought tears to my eyes. I am so profoundly sorry for the loss of your beloved brother and son. Your strength and resilience in the face of such heartbreak are truly admirable. Your dedication to helping others even while navigating your own tragedy is a testament to the incredible person you are. May Alex rest in peace, and may you find some comfort in the love and support that surrounds you. Marcin C. ❤️

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Amanda Foster
Amanda Foster
30 nov 2023
Contestando a

Thank you so much Marcin!! Such lovely words xx 😍

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