Let's guide each other...

Discussion in 'Coping After a Sudden Loss' started by Chessi, Jun 30, 2020.

  1. Chessi

    Chessi Member

    I'll start with my story, because I've never posted on here before and I feel it's the best context for introducing myself. If you're short on time or can't bear to read it in your current state, which I understand entirely, please feel free to skip ahead to some questions I have for the community (in bold below).

    My sister was 22 years old, 2 years older than me.

    We were very close -- growing up wearing the same outfits, playing the same games; suffering the same family problems & supporting each other through it all. I was like her sidekick & she was my superhero.

    When we was 14, she started having mental health problems so severe she ended up in hospitals. I remember visiting her one Christmas after a particularly bad suicide attempt. I'm still disturbed by the thoroughness with which she cut herself, once leaving no square inch of her legs untouched. I'm disturbed that my best friend changed. But more so, I'm disturbed that I, at 12 years old, had no clue what to do except push her away. And she pushed back.

    The closest relationship I'd ever had was broken during what I thought would be the hardest part of my life.

    But then, she recovered. After stays in mental health residencies and countless therapists, my sister was finally happy. Enjoying life. Going after her goals.

    She was so kind throughout all of this, except to herself. Always volunteering. Always working towards a career to help others. Always bringing little gifts home whenever she fetched the groceries.

    She had finally recovered, and for a year or so, her relationships were mended -- including with me.

    I still kept her at arms length sometimes -- how could I not, after everything? Yet I wish I didn't.

    Because she died this December of a random heart attack, due to some genetic condition we didn't know about.

    No, not suicide, though for the first month we weren't sure, and the very thought of that was devastating.

    But she was better. She died happy.

    She fought so hard and only had one year of life to experience actual joy.

    That was 6 months ago. I miss her greatly, and nothing's been the same since. I feel distant from my friends sometimes, who don't know what to say as they're college students without any experience in this. The sentiments of "It should've been me" and "I can't go on without her" are less strong now, but I still feel waves of grief like tsunamis.

    There are days, still, that I can't breathe.

    And then, there are days that I feel more normal. The highs are still lower than they've ever been before, but at least I have highs sometimes.

    My family is devastated, each of us handling it in our own way and trying to accept that we aren't all feeling the same emotions at the same time. That we don't all grieve the same way.

    It's really, really hard. It's a fight every day. I've found some comfort in spirituality, but all I can really tell myself is "one foot in front of the other." Or, as the great Dory once said, "Just keep swimming."

    That is my story, and why I'm here.

    I hope you all can find some comfort and peace somewhere. I'm curious to hear where you do. I'm curious to speak with other people who have experienced losses like mine.

    So let's guide each other.

    Feel free to answer none, one, or as many of the questions as you feel comfortable. Or answer your own. I'd like to share experiences of grief and hear yours.

    What helps?

    I know it never goes away, but how long did it take you to start feeling the highs like you did before the loss, without abyssal trenches of lows? What was your grief timeline, so to speak?

    How do you continue to honor your loved one in your life?

    What motivates you to carry on?

    What do you find helpful in terms of spiritual/religious practice?

    How do you navigate friendships and relationships differently now? Did you rethink any friendships?

    How is your life different now?

    How are you different now?

    Lots of love and peace to you all,

    Chessi