I tend to write long blog posts to cover all the basis possible. And I could write the longest blog post yet about loss, but I don’t know where this would go. I have had losses, disappointments, betrayals in my life, like we all have. It’s what makes life a bitch. But I have not known how loss can be a string of things for a long time.
I have yet to speak, either on my podcast or here on my blog, about details regarding my brother’s death. I touched on it here and there but still can’t go into it for fear it would spiral me again into the deepest darkness again. This out-of-control feeling that if there is a hell, this must be part of it, an endless falling into a dark bottomless pit.
I never knew that when you lose a close person, a family member, anyone close to you, that this is the catalyst of many other losses. I heard about it that a loss of a child breaks up a family and the parents often end up divorcing.
For anyone new to my blog or story, I learnt in January 2015 that my brother died 5 weeks prior and was already cremated when we learnt of it. To top it up, I learnt this via an EMAIL! This is how far I can go at this moment, as I can’t cope to go into detail how everything unfolded without falling into this pit again.
To top it up further, I was bullied during this traumatic period of shock and grief in and by Pret A Manger management under the watchful eye of HR and later patronised by former CEO Clive Schlee. I explain this in greater detail on my podcast “expretcast” in 3 episodes. In the audio player on the bottom of this page I didn’t go into the detail of it, but on my podcast with greater hindsight I went to town detailing how Pret targeted me since the beginning.
Three years after my brother died I almost simultaneously lost my job and my dad within months of each other. Pret fired me days after my dad came out of a three-week coma, knowing he was in intensive care. In hindsight, losing a sh!tty job at Pret is nothing to be mourned about. Pret’s head of HR David Carter made me 3 offers of money if I resign, sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) to never speak about my ordeal or go to court. I declined the “offer” and was fired. Later when I withdrew my court case against Pret as my dad died, I was made a fourth offer which is normal when withdrawing a tribunal case. I also declined as I didn’t want to lose my voice to speak out what happened.
In-between all this I lost a lot of friends pretty much from the first year as in our society death and loss is still a taboo, as if this would never happen to anyone.
Three years after my dad died my mum died. She died during second lockdown in Germany while I was stuck in London. I couldn’t bury her. Another loss I can’t go into at this time as I can’t cope. I made so many videos of and with my mum when she was still living in her house as I don’t have ANY video of my brother and still regret having deleted all his voice mails from years ago. I still have this problem that I clean up my phone very fast and don’t keep much. That’s why I kept my mum’s voice mails and made videos. But I still can’t look at the videos, even though I assumed I would devour them once she dies. But I can’t look at them at the moment.
Recently a long-time friend died in the USA where I lived for a few years. I didn’t expect to be thrust into a new darkness, as I haven’t seen him since 2013, and only sporadically had email conversations with his wife in-between the years. He was a rare gem of a man who don’t come around much, and I am broken for his wife, who’s equally a gem. I’ve never met a couple like them, which the world needs more of.
I lost my mind, my mental health is screwed up. I was overweight and lost 35-40kg within a year. The first 25kg I lost in the first 6 months after the news of my brother’s death. I had to go shopping 3 or 4 times for clothes as I kept losing weight, never anticipating to “shrink” so fast. EVERYTHING I had to buy new in smaller sizes except socks and shoes.
Some say that this is a good thing that came out of the loss of my brother. Sure, in a certain way there are always “good” things that can come from trauma and loss. But the weight loss was so rapid, as I couldn’t eat, even though I had free lunch food at Pret, that it brought upon other health issues. Rapid weight loss isn’t healthy either. I am grateful I rather lost than gained weight, as my dad was the total opposite. After my brother’s death, he gained weight and comfort ate while I couldn’t even swallow. But yes, having gone back to my original weight I grew up with is a plus as I can walk up stairs without pain in my joints and shortness of breath. Or I can buy clothes again whereas while overweight rarely found what I liked in my size. But I’d rather weigh like an elephant and have my brother back.
I lost support. I lost opportunities. I am a few steps closer to understand how people can lose their homes and end up on the street due to alcohol or drug issues after a traumatic experience.
I still struggle with drinking although it has become much better.
Receiving the news of my brother’s death via email and then also being bullied in Pret by a line manager via group emails, as well as Lila Warren who was tasked to give me a disciplinary for emailing Pret so much, she then later ALSO started to communicate with me via text message and email in private for which she disciplined me in the first place. has fucked me up so much that I started to write thousands upon thousands of emails to EVERYBODY! I also struggle then when I tweet sh!t to people while drunk.
There is no excuse, I looked into getting a time-lock safe but haven’t gotten it yet. That’s completely my fault and responsibility.
I have almost lost my life in close calls to jump … and know we will all lose our lives one day.
I still want to look into researching and maybe writing about our society’s and culture’s approach to death, loss and grief. I have experienced so much sh!t in the last 7+ years that I don’t know which book to write first or if to write a series of books combining a lot of the things I went through. But I’m tired of writing.
I called into a BBC radio show in the early morning of Christmas Day 2019 where I briefly touched on how we in our society today handle grief and loss. Of course now since the pandemic and more wars this subject has become more “accessible”, and even on the radio I hear more and more that this theme is popping up.
In my experiences the last 7 years I have sabotaged a lot of opportunities and friendships. Apart from PTSD, I also think I do this partly out of guilt not having responded to my brother’s email which ended up being his last. Why should I have a good life while he is dead is the emotion I often felt. Sibling survivor guilt, fear of losing friends again when a tragedy hit. The friends that left me hang early on, I didn’t deserve it. But I deserve it now. I push everyone away now so I have nothing left to lose.
As I said, screwed up. And before you judge, check my podcast episode on my NHS mental health service ordeal. I asked at one point if I have some form of autism, and a brief questionaire was started by a psychologist where it was mentioned that I cover some points, but no further assessment. I gave up.
In a nutshell, one major loss is often the catalyst of a string of losses, it certainly was in my case. And where this goes from here, I’m not concerned anymore.
And again, my apologies to all and everyone I offended, hurt and upset. After such a long time, I have no excuse.
I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
An incomplete list on what other Pret staff say about Pret’s bullying environment witnessed by customers: Caught in the Act Bullying at Pret.
I tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by The Adam Paradox, and wrote two articles in the Scottish Left Review.
Please also see the MEDIA page for which press articles and Pret “charity” announcements I influenced.
Thank you for reading/listening.
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