Sudden Loss of my Sister

Discussion in 'Coping After a Sudden Loss' started by Stacey, Jan 4, 2018.

  1. Stacey

    Stacey New Member

    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 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 10 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.
     
  2. Alexandra Vargas

    Alexandra Vargas New Member

    Thank you for sharing your story. I imagine it was very hard to relive all of that, but if you're like me you relive it all every day anyway. I lost my younger brother suddenly and unexpectedly on December 29, 2017. Today was my first good day since he died. The first day I thought about him and didn't feel my breath leave my body.
    I don't have any words of wisdom, except to tell you that you may feel alone because the one person you want right now is not here, but you are not alone in how you feel. I also feel like falling apart, like I try to be strong but it's a lie- I'm crumbling inside.
    I imagined my brother and I would grow old together, watch our kids grow up together. He was supposed to move out closer to me so we could see each other more. How do I live now without him? I don't know.
    I will say as a fellow older sister, we should not let ourselves dwell in the guilt. There is nothing I could have done, there is nothing you could have done. You loved your sister. I loved my brother.
    I know none of this helps much, if at all. I hope you have your first good day soon.
     
  3. Stacey

    Stacey New Member

    Hi Alexandra,
    I want to thank you for responding to my story. Reading your story was very comforting. I could feel your pain in your words and I am so sorry for your loss. I especially appreciated what you said about my not being alone in how I feel. My grief is very "layered". Not only do I feel my own pain, but I feel the pain of my sisters' daughters and like I said, I know I cannot replace their mother, I want to do everything in my power to make things easier for them. This is really wishful thinking because as young adult women, I cannot wave a magic wand and tell them it will be okay. The sadness in their eyes and voices brings me even more pain and I just don't know how to deal with this, on top of my own feelings.
    I cannot say I have had my first good day yet. The grief is like a vice around my chest and even if I wake up feeling like it's a new beginning and a new normal, I cannot get past my first cup of coffee without reality setting in. I want to hear her voice, listen to her problems, have her listen to mine and make more memories together.
    Even though as you say, I should not let myself dwell in guilt, I just cannot let it go. I guess this is all part of my narcissistic personality and believing it is my job and within my ability to make others feel better.
    I would love to correspond with you, but certainly understand if you don't think it would be a good idea for you.
    Many, many thanks for taking the time to share your story, your feelings and advice with me.
    Stacey