James began to experience crippling stomach pains during his honeymoon, which became so severe that he had to be brought home early.
His doctor told him it was probably just irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), saying he was more likely to win the lottery than it was nothing more serious because he was so young.
But a few tests revealed that it was pancreatic cancer and that it was terminal.
After being diagnosed, James received chemotherapy, but after just three months the doctors realized there was nothing they could do.
In James’ final months, he couldn’t talk about his death because he was afraid.
Tim explained, “He was scared and he didn’t want to talk about it. ”
The family asked a priest to visit them in their last days, but since they are not religious, Tim said his brother had not benefited much.
He added: “You know, I would have liked to have had conversations with him about the death, if I’m being honest with you, even though it happened so quickly at the end that there is never had the opportunity to do so. ”
James had stayed in a hospice but left when doctors told him he was nearing the end of his life.
Tim said his body was “shutting down” and one of the last times he saw him at home he had no energy and didn’t want to speak.
The next day he received a phone call to go to the hospital and was able to be with James when he died.
He said, “It was absolutely amazing and numbing. No one knew what to do. It was mixed emotions.
“You have anger – it was anger at why this happened to my brother and there are a myriad of emotions that hit you.
” You do not know what to do. No one knows what to do. ”
Tim says he learned to cope with his grief by talking about his brother.
He added, “I’ve talked to people about it a lot. I want to talk about him and I want to talk about cancer.
“We run away from emotions and people think you don’t want to bring them up, but you have to live with them anyway.
“You can’t just constantly delete them. I recommend, to anyone who experiences something to do with it… talk, talk, talk. Discussions, it’s all about discussions.
Tim has already planned his own death by writing a will.
He also told his three daughters that he didn’t want a big funeral, he just wanted his loved ones to get together for a drink and remember the good times.
Tim said, “I want them to celebrate my life, not a celebration of my death. I just want them to meet somewhere and have a drink for me. That’s all.
“I told them, ‘Don’t waste all your time planning.’
“What I would like my children to do is get on with their lives.
“I feel that after seeing my brother die, if you call him a soul, he leaves the body.
“So I’m not here anyway – you’re just getting rid of the ship I was hanging out in.” This is how I see it. ”
Tim says his brother’s death changed his attitude to death.
He believes we should view the end of our lives as exciting the same way we see a newborn baby being born.
Tim explained, “You don’t know what it is [death] is and we’re all going to go through it.
“So when that happens maybe we should be impatient and say ‘Wow, that’s exciting. ”
“When you were born it was an experience where you were born and something amazing happened. When you die you never know, it can be amazing too. ”
* The episode “On the Marie Curie Couch” by Tim Lovejoy is available for download on ACast, iTunes or wherever you listen to or download your podcasts. You can also listen at www.mariecurie.org.uk/talkabout/podcast