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3 Oct 2014
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Losing a Brother

Following a series of interviews about bereavement, this week John Peel heard from Shelley Bovey who lost her younger brother when she was nineteen.

"He was out with friends, he was not driving, four lads in a car and there was an awful accident. His friend was seriously injured, two others were completely unhurt, but my brother died.

My parents started a sort of conspiracy of silence which at the time I didn't really understand. They didn't want him to be talked about. They got rid of his things very quickly and removed all photographs. There weren't to be any reminders and we didn't talk about him at all.

I didn't feel guilty that I survived - what I felt was that my parents would have preferred it to have been me. It was completely unjustified. But I began to get the picture of this paragon of a boy and I supposed I thought: "How could they possibly not want it to have been me when I have so many hideous faults."

All parents are anxious about their children but I think I've been over anxious. Particularly I was fearful for the whole of my son's 17th year - that was the age my brother died.

What happens is that you are going about your business in a very normal mundane way and then the police turn up - and your whole world is completely upended. Nothing seems normal and it doesn't seem like it can ever be normal again. And I still carry with me that fear of the police turning up at the door.

A couple of months ago at half-past midnight the police did turn up at the door and my son was out. I completely froze. My husband answered the door. But they had just arrested him - for something he hadn't done I might add! To hear that he had only been arrested was a hugh relief."

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