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Older Sister-Adult

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Hello all! Thank you to anyone who reads this and to anyone who is willing to respond. 

My sister was 3 years 9 months older than me and took her own life by gun in May of 2015. She was 32 at the time. She struggled with mental illness and made some decisions in her life that were difficult to manage and she often felt overwhelmed. She lived in Indiana near the rest of my family and I am out in San Diego, California. I often tried to call my sister, though she was frequently unreachable. I still struggle with wishing I could get a do-over with her...that maybe if I did something differently or tried harder to be there for her, she might still be with us. I know it doesn't work like that but I can't seem to get rid of the thought. As I start a new relationship of my own and am so close to being happy with him, I seem to be unintentionally straining things and putting pressure on him, which is damaging to the relationship. I constantly want reassurance that everything's ok and that I'm doing enough to make him happy with me. In times that he is distant, I am in fight-or-flight, assuming he's done and that the relationship is over. He's losing patience and I can't take the stress. This type of relational style did not exist for me prior to the loss of my sister and I'm wondering if anyone can relate or share some insight? I appreciate anything that can be offered. Thank you! 


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Missing Jack

Hi Madeline,

First I want to say that I am deeply sorry regarding the loss of your older sis last year and also that she struggled with mental illness in life.

It seems to me, that you have perfectly identified the root cause of your struggle. That is a huge beginning in learning to live with (or to solve) any problem. Guilt is a terribly debilitating emotion. I would think that when guilt is so intertwined with the loss of your sis in the way that you describe, even more so. It would only be natural that this tragic happening may open one up to whole new ways of being, in all sorts of aspects of living, and especially in relationships (whether new or not.) 

I found something that may be of interest to you, entitled Grieving a Suicide. Interestingly enough you will find in the opening paragraph the mention of a woman who has written a book, a search for answers regarding the loss of her own sister to suicide. You will find the books title and it's author at the above link. Understanding your deeply personal loss, and all that it represents can only deepen insight into every other aspect of your life. Best and Kindest Regards during this most difficult time.


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