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stacey9

Shock of Losing My Sister

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I had spoken with my sister around three in the afternoon on Sunday, November 12. She and her husband had just moved into a beautiful apartment following a four month stay in my home. She sounded so happy. She was with her three daughters, their significant others, her beautiful two year old grandson. Although we had tentative plans to get together and see the new apartment, my husband and I decided we were too tired to head out late that afternoon and promised we would see everyone the following weekend. They understood and told us not to worry about it, after all, they had just left our home 9 days ago. The phone rang around 12:30 a.m. and my stomach fell to the floor. It had to be bad news. My husband sounded like he was speaking to someone who was very confused, he could not get any information and my screaming what, who, where, etc. was not helping. He hung up the phone and without turning to me, he called my son and told him to get over to the hospital (across the street from him) and be with his cousins and try to find out what had happened. By the time he got across the street, we had found out my sister was gone. There was nothing they could do. She died in her sleep and could not be revived despite 45 minutes of trying. My husband could not calm me down. I felt this way before - my father passed 9 years ago and my mom, 3.  
The official cause of death was heart attack. However, no one knew how sick my 58 year old sister must have been. They told us she also had a brain bleed and her stomach was full of blood due to the rupture of her esophagus. She and her husband lived down the hall from me for four months and although I knew she was stressed, she never let on that she was experiencing severe pain, nausea, vomiting and headaches. She had gotten a clean bill of health 10 years ago after the removal of a benign brain tumor and experiencing a stroke. She was due for an mri and was trying to schedule her every three year appointment but couldn't get in for another few weeks. She was too busy taking care of her grandson, looking for an apartment, recovering from the passing of her 16 year old dog and watching over everyone else.  
I was the one who was supposed to be taking care of her. My father told me that as the older sister, I was supposed to take care of her. Why was I always letting her take care of me? As my mother lay dying she made us promise we would always look after each other and I failed her miserably. How could I be the last one? How could I not have seen any signs? I lost my best friend, my nieces lost their mother, Nolen lost his nanny.  
I knew I had to be the strong one now. I held my nieces, my son, my husband, her husband. I said everything will be alright. I will never leave them. I will never try to take her place, but I will be there for everyone. I am a joke. I knew my intentions were good and I also knew that within a short time I would fall apart. I eulogized her, made it through the funeral and the shiva and even the following week. I have spoken with my nieces everyday. Offered help, offered to listen, to do anything I can to take some of the pain away. I cannot take away any of their pain. I cannot look at them and Nolen without tearing up at the thought of what we will all miss and what she will miss. I cannot look at the helpless face of her husband, even after knowing him for 40 years. I cannot let out my own pain to my son, his wife and especially not to my 15 month old grandson. The strongest man I know, my husband, cannot look at me. I keep saying what do I do now? Who do I talk to? Who do I share my memories with? My sister was loving, caring, devoted to her family, devoted to her friends, resourceful, a second mother to my son - the hole in my heart is so big. I don't know how I will get through life without her. I don't know how any of us will. After years of hard work and a lot of struggle, she had 9 days of happiness in her new apartment, starting a new phase of her life. My lucky number has always been 9.

The pain I feel is different from the pain I felt when my parents passed away.  It is not like there is any more or less pain, just different.  We had so many plans.  We had a future together, to talk about the past and the present.  I am so afraid, I feel so alone.  I keep saying it should have been me and not her. If anyone can offer some help - for me to somehow get through this horrible time, It would be greatly appreciated.

 

 

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Dear Stacey,

My deepest sympathies and condolences. I'm very sorry for your loss. Losing a beloved sister is very painful.

If you can maybe consider talking to a grief counsellor or joining a support group. I also found these websites helpful:

What's My Grief

Grief in Common

GriefShare

The Grief Recovery Method

The Grief Healing Blog

Keep talking. Keep writing. Please know you are not alone. We are all here to listen and support you.

Thinking of you and your family during this difficult time.

Sending all my thought and prayers.

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Thank you for your reply.  You will never know how much it means to me that there is someone who understands and who listens.  Be well.

 

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Hi stacey. I get what you mean. My older 59yr old brother died 3 weeks ago. The pain is huge but different than when my father died. He was a piece of my childhood. We played together,fought together, knew the same music of our years. I feel propelled into decades of the future. Im 57 but feel like 87 and although I am blessed to have 2 daughters..my mom and younger brother, cousins...this loss has taken taken a different toll on me. I understand. Im scared and dont want anyone to see it. I want to feel like myself, like all the pieces of my family are together but theyre not. I dont know what to do with all of this which is why Im writing on these forums. To let it out. My 18yr old dog died 3 months ago. I write in about that also. Its like im trying to continue life wearing a mask of myself when underneath im different, changed. Peace to you and your family. 

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Hi Ema,

Thank you for writing.  I am so sorry for your loss.  It's my dad's birthday today and your words meant so much to me.  You absolutely get how I feel after the loss of my sister. Today was the first time I had to celebrate my dad's birthday by myself - I lit a candle and tried to talk to him.  I was hoping my sister was with him and my mom.  No one else in the family remembered (not that I really expected them to and I am not angry about that) -- it is just the feeling of being so alone and having no-one to share the memories with.  I am so grateful for the relationship we had but so sad and scared to go on without her.  I also put on a mask = I attempt to hide how I feel but I don't know if I am fooling anybody.  I don't want to add to anyone's troubles.  I am also so sorry for the loss of your dog.  We had a seventeen year old westie who passed about five years ago.  The pain was horrible.  I swore I would never again think of having another pet.  She was so special.   Right before my son got married, I was feeling terribly alone and scared about how this major change would affect me. Of course, I was thrilled for him and may daughter-in-law but I knew life was going to be different  My emotions took over and without really thinking, I went out and found my now four year old havapoo.  It's a lot of responsibility, especially at this stage of my life, but she is the one I hold on to and talk with about how I am really feeling  I am sure that it is  way to soon for you to think about another dog.  I don't even know if I would dp it over again, but she has been a great source of comfort. 

Again, thank you so much for responding to my story.  I'll be here if you ever need someone to talk to.  I know how much it would help me.  Thank you for sharing your story.  

Best,

Stacey

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Reading about your loss , I am overcome with deep sorrow for you. It’s hard to find words. You are in my prayers this morning. I’ve lost two siblings, one at the end of November. I share a lot of the feelings you have. Especially your very last paragraph. You put into words what I have been feeling in my own loss. Lots of love to you and I hope others will step up, or into your life and support you, so that you can grieve. Even though we have to be the strong ones, it’s imperative to be vulnerable in moments and fully grieve to heal. 

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Hi Grieving My Sibling,

Thank you for your beautiful words.  I am so sorry for the losses you have had to face.  

I was with a friend today who recently lost her young nephew.  She spoke about how important it is for us to go on, to live our lives and to appreciate the time we have. My brain certainly agrees with her, but, the problem is my heart.  

I will be praying for you as well.  Thank you for reminding me that I don't always have to be the strong one.  It is a heavy burden to bear.

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