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Little Sis

Lost My Big Sis and Best Friend

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In March I lost my 44 year old sister to a drug overdose.  She had a long hard life.  In the end she got cancer and the meds they gave her to help her pain are the thing that killed her.  She became addicted to them.  My last exchange with her was via text and I said a lot of tough love things to try to get her into rehab.  The night she overdosed she was staying with our uncle because his house was closer to the rehab where she had an appointment THE NEXT MORNING.  He broke down the door to the bathroom and found her overdosed.  They were able to revive her and take her to the hospital where they tried to shock her with hypothermia to "reboot" her body.  It didn't work.  She was substantially brain damaged.  I currently live in another state and flew in as quickly as I could get there.  I sat at the hospital and watched them flash lights into her sightless beautiful blue eyes trying to find a reaction.  Ultimately we made the decision to take her off of life support but even then she lingered.  She was so young and her heart was strong so she continued to breathe on her own.  Hospice started talking to us about her living for a long time in a nursing facility in a vegetative state...my vibrant beautiful sister.  My Dad and I were the only ones with her when she took her last breath.  For awhile I felt numb from the shock and completely disconnected from my life.  I went into planning mode and took care of everything and everyone else: she left behind three daughters.  My husband was amazing and my two kids kept me going.  But after a month my husband started telling me I needed to "get back to my life".  I tried.  And some days I have been able to keep myself busy enough that I think of her less and I'm exhausted enough that I sleep.  Then I started to be angry at everyone and everything.  I know this is a normal part of the process but I can't seem to get past it.  When I am not angry, I can't sleep and I am crying my eyes out in secret while my husband snores away.  I have all these questions that I know will never be answered and so many regrets about how tough I was on her at the end.  I feel like I can't function anymore and every area of my life is being affected.  I walk around most days feeling like there is a hole in my chest and I can't breathe.  None of my friends know what to say to me.  They have tried really hard to support me too but I feel like everyone is expecting me to "move on" and I just can't seem to do it.  Does anyone have any advice about getting past some of this? 

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Dear Little Sis,

My deepest condolences and sympathies on the passing of your beloved sister. I know the pain and sorrow is deep. It is horribly shocking to lose a beloved family member. Its only been March, I think you are entitled to your feelings. I know its hard on those around us to see us in pain but I think its all part of grief. My own family doesn't understand either. My counsellor told me that the more people tell you to "move on" the more likely you will want to hang on to your grief.

Everyone has told me it will take more time possibly even years before I can come to terms with what happened. In the meantime, I have tried to find supports other than my family and certain friends because they cannot relate. I have tried counselling, joining a support group, writing, reading different books and articles about grief. I also find these websites helpful. What's Your Grief and the Grief Healing Blog. I know there are programs from GriefShare.Org and The Grief Recovery Method as well.

Grief is a long journey. Please know you are not alone. We are all here to listen and support you. Thinking of you during this difficult time. Sending all my thoughts and prayers.

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Thank you so much for your kind words and your suggestions. It is good for me to recognize that this is a process and there is help out there in addition to my normal support network. Did you read any books that you would recommend?

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Hi Little Sis,

Sorry I did not reply back sooner.  Here is a couple of books:

The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion

A Grief Observed C.S. Lewis

The Grief Recovery Book by Russell Friedman

Take care my friend.

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