Though an honor, the film ultimately weighed heavy on top of the burden I felt following my brother's passing. I was not a filmmaker in any respect — I owned a nanny agency. How would I ever get over losing my little brother and make his film?
Months passed and people began to ask me if I really planned on completing Daniel's project. I would smile and say, “Of course” as I tried to cover up the growing pressure and resistance I was feeling.
This resistance stemmed from the daunting screenings of a 40-minute sketch film my brother made a few months before his death. Footage of him healthy, alive and brilliant was screened alongside footage from his last year where his sunken-in eyes spoke of his painful hospital stays. It was incredibly painful to watch.
At the time, I was seeing a gifted spiritual counselor and bodyworker once a week. She was able to pick me back up again after the initial screenings with various prospective creative partners in Vancouver and Los Angeles. It was with her help that I found the strength to follow through with what I call a “soul contract” with my brother.
Many other people have also supported me along the way, and I often hear things like, “Your brother was so lucky to have had a sister like you” or ‘It’s amazing what you’re doing to honor your brother's memory."
It’s wonderful to be supported like this, but I have always known that everything I've done for Daniel is also very much for me. The way my brother has allowed me to be there for him has been the real gift.
Enduring grief and loss has been made easier with the knowledge that I've done everything I could to be there for Daniel, even during his last breath. I know that I have not, and will not, let him down — a fact that's helped me carry on with my life and let myself to feel joy again.
My life has completely changed since I started working on my brother's film. I've given up my business and moved from Vancouver to California. I’ve welcomed my first child, and I've had to hand him off to a part-time caregiver much sooner than I would have liked to free up time for the project. However, the inner growth that this journey has afforded me makes it all worth it.