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seekinghope

I've been hiding since my sister died

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On April 1st, we received word that my youngest sister was found unresponsive in her backyard. They were unable to revive her.

I'd always adored her. As kids I took her everywhere. Later in life she had a lot of problems and I tried to help her repeatedly although I feel doubtful that I was ever as much help as I wanted to be. 

I always wanted to help and protect her.

There was a lot of estrangement in the family due to "issues" that had occurred over the years. I won't go into all of that in this post because I know everyone here is dealing with hurts of their own. 

My Mom and I were the only family members who were still in touch with my sister at the time of her death. She was even estranged from her two young adult kids. Such a sad situation. She'd remarried and no one in the family knew about it. Not even her kids. My mother and I had been told in an email and sworn to secrecy. Again, it was not a healthy situation. We weren't the only ones kept in the dark and told untruths. My sister's husband didn't know about us either. He was told that she had no family and anyone left didn't care.

It is a long sad story that I'm certain I'll never understand. 

My siblings had stopped communicating with her. They had good reason. It was constant drama. I could not bring myself to block her from my life even though she was combative much of the time. She was my baby sister and I suppose even though she was a grown women with young adult children in some way I felt responsible for her. Plus, I'd always hoped that our relationship, which had been particularly stormy the last few years, would heal. I'd longed for the day I could see her face to face and speak with her. I knew it was the only way we could get on a better path.

Every time I tried to have healthy interactions with her it turned ugly so I only answered messages that were somewhat "normal." It was hard for me to believe that we'd been together just a few years ago, with our kids, and now we couldn't even have a civil conversation in an email. I tried but it was just a mess that seemed to grow worse instead of better. She said she was happily married and had a whole new life, including new friends and a wonderful support system. It appears that she did at some level. 

Still she died of an "accidental" overdose. I did not know her new husband. We've never had a conversation. He didn't even notify us about the funeral. I get it. I'm sure he was in shock. I was not able to attend because of severe health issues but two of my siblings went. Even as I write this it all seems surreal.

From April 1 until June 18th I waited to find out the cause of her death. I'd so hoped it was from natural causes. I finally got a copy of the death certificate to try to bring some closure for my Mom and also for myself. I didn't really do anything to help me at all. 

A week before my sister died she wrote me an email and asked if I could help her with something. Not only was I in the middle of care-giving for my Mom who was having heart issues, I knew that I had nothing much to give from almost 700 miles away. I prayed about the message and decided not to respond. I didn't have any resources left. In truth I had not for several years. A second email was sent and this time help was demanded. With much sadness, I left it go as well. I thought we were just going through another "cycle" with my sister. I was so sad because I knew then that getting a new husband, life, and new friends hadn't brought the happiness and health I'd hoped for to her. 

I honestly didn't think much past that. I couldn't my brain was too tired from personal struggles we'd been dealing with. I prayed that God would help my sister and keep wading through our own situations. 

It was such a shock when we got the call. I have no idea if my sister really meant to die or was just crying out for help. I've since learned that her new husband intended to leave her due to her instability. A pastor told me that "breaking confidence" and in truth I wish I didn't know it at all. 

We've had seven additional deaths since she passed away. I find myself going through the motions of life and just trying to make it through each day. We've endured losses of various kinds through the course of our life. My father died from a fall about 9 years back it was hard. But not as hard as this seems to be. No one in my family speaks of it. My oldest sister told me that she never wants to speak of it again. My youngest brother won't acknowledge the death. My husband is doing his best to be a support but we are both grieving. I try to be with people but when I do I find myself experiencing anxiety. Not one person has asked my how my sister died. Not one. 

I'd already withdrawn quite a bit because our son returned home from college with a substance abuse problem. It was a shock to all of us. And it was extremely painful and stressful. He finally hit a low point and went through rehab last summer and is doing better. We are still mending what had always been a close relationship. What we experienced with him was one of the things that left me no energy to deal with my sister. 

I was just coming out of that and returning to some freelance work and regaining my health, etc. when this came along and hit like a ton of bricks. I thought that by now I would be doing a little better. It seems like I am withdrawing further instead of coming out of "the valley of the shadow of death." I don't know if I'm hiding because it seems like every where I turn there is more loss or if I am hiding because I am ashamed. 

Why would I be ashamed? Because I am a minister and a counselor but it appears that I was unable to clearly see the depth of my sister's problems. I did encourage her to seek professional help on many occasions. She always said that they told her it was the other people who had a problem, not her. Of course, I didn't believe that. We all have problems. 

I just don't know why I couldn't see that so much of what she was doing was due to mental illness. No one seemed to see it. And I wonder if I will ever feel like coming out of hiding? In my heart, I know that my sister made her own choices. I feel as though I was doing the best I could and if I had been able to do more to help, I would have. Still, I think that I have regret. 

Does it ever get better? Will I remain on this island of grief forever? 

I am a believer. I know that God is with me and will help me through this. This is my first time trying to write in a forum about the situation. I write privately as an outlet every day. I don't even know if what I'm saying makes sense. I'm trying to keep it from being too painful for others to read. 

I hurt so much. I thought there would be people around for me, as I have been the one around for others. The longer I've been alone the easier it becomes to hide. I just hope I don't disappear. Sigh.

I don't know if this is normal or not. All I want to do is grieve in a healthy manner but it feels like I'm doing something wrong. 

I need someone to talk with but at this point I don't even know where to really start. I'm not used to feeling so confused. It seems that suddenly I don't know who to trust. And I don't know wants to listen. Especially to something so messy. So, this is me at least taking one step forward, I suppose. 

Oddly enough just writing this out has made me feel sick. I've come back twice and considered deleting it. All of this so abnormal for me. I've never felt so awkward or lost. 

 

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Guest RAS

my little sister died January 13 of this year. I am 34 and she was 2 years younger than me. Growing up my older sister and I tried to protect her from the abuse we endured in our childhood. Your story sounded like I could've written it myself. I understand how you felt in regards to believing she was getting better- from afar. I let many phone calls an emails go- in which i feel extremely guilty. My sister had extreme mental disorder and was in an unhealthy relationship with her now ex who i feel contributed to her demise and he was even a childhood friend that I introduced her to. He raped her, got her addicted to drugs, and terrorized her. She was low functioning cognitively- which I never fully got until her death- I always thought it was the starvation she put her body through- from years of anorexia. 

In the weeks following her death I watched a lot of cooking shows and did puzzles in the beginning because it was too raw to acknowledge and deal with the pain. She overdosed and we buried her 3 weeks after our wedding (to the day). She was my baby sister that I pretended was my baby growing up. I signed up for griefshare.org daily emails. I bought boost to drink for months because eating was difficult. I went to a grief group which helped in the initial shock. And I spoke to a counsellor because I couldn't deal with the guilt by myself. Her death brought up childhood trauma which I also discussed with my counsellor. I set up every 2 weeks for several months. I listen to Joyce Meyer every morning. I try to give love to people who cross my path- in honor of the love I would give my sister if she were still here.

One thing I can tell you is that you have to give away your guilt to the Lord every moment it enters your mind. Satan will try and use that to destroy you. God knows what you were going thru (family and personal stuff) while your sister was alive and now. I hoped she would be healed for so many horrible years. She was. She is. Not the way I wanted on this earth, but she was healed. So was your sister. Her mind is clean now, she is fully loved by our God. Your sister knew that you loved her. Try not to let your mind go to the darkness of guilt. Don't let it go there. If she was reaching out, she knows you'd grab her. Mine knows I would. Sweet Jesus grabbed our sisters when we could not.

i wrote you as a guest and I'm not a member here.

ive never written anyone until you.

i pray for peace for you.

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RAS:

I'm so grateful that you were brave enough to write these words to me. Thank you so much. I almost came back and took my post down but decided to leave it up for the night.

 In many ways, I too, felt like my sister was my child. We were ten years apart in age and she so looked up to me my whole life. All I ever wanted was for her to be well. It sounds like you wanted the same for your sister, too. I'm very sorry for the pain you've experienced. 

You said "Sweet Jesus grabbed our sisters when we could not." Yes, He did. I needed to hear that. And yes, both of our sisters minds are well and they are experiencing all the wonders of heaven right now. 

I will do my best to push back the guilt. I know that I will only make matters worse. I'm having a very hard time with that. You just made me feel a little less alone though and for that I thank you so much. 

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seeking hope,

I'm so sorry you lost your little sister.  And I'm sorry her life was plagued with problems.  Grief seems to be forever but it changes form, so it won't feel like this always.  You will miss her but eventually learn to incorporate that missing into your life.  It takes effort to get through.  I think it might help you to see a grief counselor, esp. since her situation was unusual.

I hope you will continue to come here as you feel the need, we are hee to listen and care.

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RAS,

I am sorry for your loss too.  My mom was very mentally ill, and I dealt with it all my life, as did my sisters and brother.  I learned to strike a balance in the time I gave her, never neglecting her, but if I gave her too much time, she'd dig her trenches in and start being toxic to us, so it was a balancing act.  I loved her, I still do, but dealing with her was not easy.  I do hope both you and seekinghope will find a way for peace to replace whatever guilt you feel or regrets you have.  It's common to feel this way after losing someone because it hits home how irreversible everything is now and how we can't be there for them again, but I've learned to look at guilt in a different way that helps me.

Guilt, I believe, is something positive that comes to us when we need to learn something or institute a change.  Once we've dealt with it, it is no longer guilt that haunts us, but merely negative feelings we need to tell to be gone, that we've already dealt with it.  Feelings are sometimes just something to contend with, not always having foundation in their bearing, they can seem good or bad, but they don't necessarily mean a whole lot.  When they're accompanied by something substantial, then we can attribute merit to them, but in and of themselves, they are like the wind, able to shift and change or be gone.

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I found this article to be helpful for me ~ http://www.whatsyourgrief.com/death-of-a-sibling/  

I have read your posts carefully and I want to add that it is indeed a unique loss for those of us who have lost siblings. 

Please know that you are in my thoughts as you walk this journey. I have found that we do the best we can at the time of death.

Anne

 

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kayc:

Thank you for your kind words and encouragement. I've had a hard few days, again, and am considering counseling.  My anxiety has been high. It seems like it dies down and then peaks again. 

I have additional stress in my life as we all do. I care for my Mom who lives next door and is a challenge to deal with. Now she is in grief which adds another dimension. 

What you shared about guilt was meaningful. I'm praying for God's help in dealing with all these weird thoughts running around in my head. I think my body and mind are on overload right now. In time I believe it will get better.

enna:

Thank you for the link. Much of what they described I'm dealing with. It was a helpful post.  I appreciate your kind words of support. 

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My dear. as I read your story it is no wonder to me that you are feeling so overwhelmed and anxious. Your grief at the death of your sister is complicated, not only because of how she died and why, but also by so many other stresses in your life, including your son's substance abuse problem; the heavy responsibility of being your mother's caregiver; your sister's stormy history and the evidence of mental illness you didn't see, as well as the helplessness you felt in your inability to "fix" it and rescue her, along with the shame, guilt, and regret you're feeling now; the estrangement that exists in your family, along with your siblings' denial, avoidance and refusal even to acknowledge ~ much less talk about ~ this tragic loss with you; the lack of support you're feeling from friends and family members; the multiple deaths you've experienced since your sister died ~ and all the rest.

I sincerely hope that you will do more than "consider counseling," and just go for it! This is way too much for you to handle without the support of a qualified professional who can help you sort through and deal with all that is going on in your life.

I can refer you to any number of articles with suggestions for coping with the grief of an overdose deathanxiety, sorrowguilt, isolationcumulative lossestraumatic loss, and complicated grief ~ but I'm not sure you would have the time, the energy and the ability to concentrate long enough to absorb much of their content. Besides, I don't think reading about all of this is enough. That is not to say that you are not welcome here ~ and I hope you will continue to share with us here in this forum, as much and as often as you feel the need. But given the number of complications and the level of stress you are feeling, I strongly encourage you to get going on finding an "in-person" grief counselor or therapist as soon as possible. You are worth it, and you deserve all the understanding and support you can find. 

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Counseling would be a must for me in that situation so I do hope you find a good grief counselor.  That, coupled with being your mother's caregiver, plus whatever other stresses you have in your life, it's no wonder you may be feeling overwhelmed, that's a lot.

I do hope you come back here and post now and then.  We're here for you.

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Guest

Seekinghope-  Thank you so much for posting this.    My brother died recently and there are a lot of similarities to what you experienced with your sister.   I always admired my brother, he easily made friends and I was a shy kid.   There was a lot of estrangement in my family as well, my sister and I were the ones that kept in closer contact to my brother.   My brother had mental health issues as well as had substance abuse issues though he had been in recovery well over a decade.  2 months before my brother died, he had repeatedly sent me vile and mean text messages when he was having delusions.  I asked him to stop and he didn't so I told him I would have to block him.  I knew that he had tried to contact me a few times and he was aware that I was upset.    Like you mentioned I was also worn out from dealing with my brothers instability.  I had previously taken time off from work from all the stress of interacting with him and I was trying to avoid that this time which is why I felt I had to block him.  

I feel so much regret for not being able to have one last loving conversation with my brother.  We do not know that cause of death because the toxicology reports will take months to be back but we do know he relapsed and that it was likely an overdose.   One of the things that comforted me was that his friends said they didn't think it was a suicide because he was doing well.   His wife and him were going through a divorce and when that started he got much worse.  He died alone which makes me feel so sad.  I'll be starting grief counseling soon, I hope that this will help with some of the pain I am feeling.  I feel exhausted, irritable, numb and in shock and I still expect him to call me up.     

Please don't disappear.  As I mentioned before, I am grateful that you posted.

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Guest,

I am so sorry you lost your brother.  While you may feel regret, you have done nothing to earn guilt.  You did what you needed to in order to take care of yourself and that always has to be our first responsibility...without which we'd have nothing left in us for others.  I'm glad you will be starting grief counseling soon and I do think it will be helpful.  It may take several sessions, but I hope you will give it ample time to do its job.

You will always miss your brother but I hope the fact that he's out of his pain and no longer carries his issues, is of some comfort to you.  That we continue to live in different form, in our spirit, helps me greatly and I hope it does you too.  Why not tell your brother what you are feeling?  You never know, he may hear you.  There are a number of people on this site (see loss of spouse section, another weird dream thread) that believe they can hear us after their death. http://www.griefhealingdiscussiongroups.com/index.php?/topic/9110-another-weird-dream/#comment-101750

Regardless of your personal beliefs, just getting your feelings out here is a start and is so much better than keeping it bottled up.  This is a safe place to go to and know that you are heard and understood.

Wishing you the best,

Kay

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Guest sisterbrokenheart

Dear Seekinghope,

I can so relate to your post, and am so sorry for the loss of your sister.  I, too lost my sister, just one month and 4 days ago.  She was my younger sister also, and like your sister, had substance abuse problems, as well as clinical depression.  Since I was closest to her in age, we were the closest siblings growing up, and for a good part of our adult lives.  But my sister's depression worsened during the last 10 or 15 years, and the real downturn began when the family decided to ban her from weddings, holiday gatherings, etc.  They simply did not understand that a lot of her issues were just too much for her to control herself, and the 'help' that she got from doctors for those on welfare was substandard, at best, and only made things worse,instead of better.  Although I never turned completely away from my sister, in the months before she died, she was belligerent toward me, and yelled at me that I was trying to control her life.  So, I told her I was just not going to care about her anymore.  That was the last thing I remember saying to my sister.  She had been getting high fevers, and I begged her to let me take her to the hospital for help, but she refused.  Of course, I did not mean what I said, and I never stopped caring and loving her.

My sister lived with my elderly mom, who is 85, and her fiance, who had severe emphysema, and was 18 years older than she was.  Both my mom and her fiance are disabled, and neither could easily go up the stairs where my sister spent 90% of her time.  For the last 2 days before she died, neither had really seen her, nor did they smell her cigarette smoke, like they normally would have on a daily basis.  That should have been an alarming red flag.  My sister's fiance had developed pneumonia, and my mom called me the night before she died, to ask if I could come and check on her, and call the ambulance for her, and her fiance, if need be.  I didn't think it was so unusual that they did not see her, as she spent much of her time in bed, feeling pained and depressed, and would often not be seen for a time.  I had worked all day, and had fallen at work, gone to urgent care, and could barely walk.  Later, I would find out I had broken my knee cap.  Also, I live an hour away.  I told my mom if she was worried about my sister or her fiance, to call an ambulance.  And although she said she would, her fiance did not think it was serious enough to warrant their being called until the next morning.  Needless to say, it was far too late by that time.  Unbelievably, my poor sister had some kind of hemorrhage from an ulcer made worse from her using nsaids for pain, and by the time she reached the hospital, she had lost too much blood, and her blood pressure was so low they could not save her.  Acidosis had set in , and she become septic.

I could not believe as she was dying in the ICU that this was happening!  She had lived through drug abuse, kidney failure from a virus, and failed suicide attempts earlier in her life.  Her dying now, in this manner, was such a shock, it seemed surreal.  She was only 51.

Although we had grown apart, I loved her with all of my heart.  Like you, I felt responsible for her, since she was my baby sister.  I tried to help her for so long, but there was only so much I could do, and her downfall always seemed to be like a runaway train that could never be turned around.  Because of her death, and my broken leg, I have been staying with my mom.  We are grieving very badly.  There are feelings of guilt on both our parts.  Her fiance ended up in a nursing facility.  He calls daily to speak to my mom, but doesn't even mention my sister, who he had always said he could never live without.  I am angry at him for not calling the ambulance sooner, which would almost surely have saved her life.  I am angry at myself for not coming down that night, even though I was injured, as I did not know that she was in such dire straights.  And I am even angry at my mom for not taking the initiative to follow her intuition that something was gravely wrong, and calling the ambulance herself. 

I do not feel as though I can move forward at all.  I feel emotionally paralyzed, frozen in grief, guilt and regrets.  My older brother and sister seem to be doing fine, they have big families and lots of love.  I have a daughter and baby grandson who live in another state, so I cannot see them often.  I am single, and feel entirely alone.  Please feel free to reach out to me.  I believe we have a lot common, regarding our sister situations.

I am starting grief therapy on Monday, and I hope that can help me, if only even a little.  I am out of work for the injury, but I can't imagine functioning normally and going back to work with the broken heart I have, and the numerous times per day that I cry.  A normal life seems like the impossible dream to me now.  Grief is my reality.  Perhaps those of us whom are hurting can help each other, certainly finding others who understand, already does. 

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sisterbrokenheart,

I'm sorry to hear of your loss as well.  I can only imagine how much you're hurting.  I am glad you and your mom are together and sharing in this because it is very hard to do completely alone.

My husband died at age 51, completely unexpected, and I felt it was way too young.

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Guest HollowHeart

sisterbrokenheart,

I almost burst into tears reading your story as I have the exact same feelings of regret, guilt, grief and feelings of paralysis in moving forward. My sister had heart failure and while she initially said she didn't want to call her doctor, we managed to walk to a drug store as she said she was very thirsty. She was shaky in walking and very lethargic but managed. She spent the next couple of days in bed, barely talking and I just let her lay there, listening to my mom who thought she just needed to rest.

I had my instincts that it was very serious and should have called 911 myself. Despite everything everyone is telling me I am 99% to 100% positive she could have been saved. My mom actually hemmed and hawed over the cost of an ambulance and I can't believe those words came out of her mouth over the safety of her own daughter.  We decided to take her the hospital the next morning but she didn't make it through the night. I am so ashamed and guilty and angry at myself. I let her die. I let her lay there despite my intuition. Even doctors are telling me that it wouldn't have been much of a different if I called an ambulance or not ,but I don't believe it.

I know no one is going to say "Yes, she died because of you. You didn't get her to the hospital and it's all your fault"  But I know the truth. I know that she could have been saved. I just know it. If we had done what were supposed to do, and act in an emergency like you see everyone else doing, jumping up and calling 911. That is what everyone else in the world would do, but nope, not us. I have anger at my mom for dragging her feet and not wanting to call an ambulance for her own reasons, and bringing up money instead of at least asking me should we call one. There was no discussion of 'what should we do' it was just like like 'oh it's not that serious' and I let that influence me and I over road my own judgement.

This has killed he and absolutely destroyed my life. I simply do not see any joy in my life going forward. I have no other siblings and just feel a dreaded future of dealing with aging parents alone, my own self getting older, having to find a place to live eventually (I live at home) being alone, as I have no wife or kids. I wont' have anyone close to me to share those things or would understand me or want to be bothered to deal with all this with me. Friends and other family will not want to be bothered or have the time. All I see are bleak, lonely times ahead.

 

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HollowHeart,

I am so sorry you lost your sister and also that you feel responsible.  I think all of us wonder the whatifs when we lose someone close to us, yet somehow we have to find our way through it.  I hope you are seeing a grief counselor who can help you through it...to me, grief is like a huge maze and we need help maneuvering through it as we can't see our own way.  None of us would have done harm to our loved one and would have made the best choices possible if we'd have only had hind sight, but we don't we do what we think best at the time, often without the benefit of knowing what's really going on.

Is it the losing her or the thinking you could have saved her if you'd done something different that you feel has destroyed your own life?  What would your sister say to you now if she could speak to you?

Tell your sister how you're feeling, sometimes it helps just to express it.  Who is to say she can't hear you now.

I hope you find a way through this and truly hope you'll consider guidance with it.

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I agree with your sound advice, Kay, and I hope you will take it to heart, HollowHeart. You and your mom are not the first people to talk themselves out of calling an ambulance. Such a move can seem so dramatic and extreme, and when we are uncertain about what is going on, it is easy to talk ourselves out of it and err on the wrong side ~ mainly because we want so badly to believe that everything is okay and it will all turn out for the best. This is why so many of us ignore symptoms of a heart attack, until it is too late. 

Ask yourself this question: Did you set out to bring harm to your sister, with malice in your heart? Was it your intention to let her die? I have to believe that the answer to these questions is No.

You say "Even doctors are telling me that it wouldn't have been much of a different if I called an ambulance or not," which certainly is an indication that this was your sister's time, and there was little if anything you could have done to save her. A heart that is failing is bound to fail regardless of where or when it happens. 

I hope you will get yourself to a qualified specialist in grief counseling as soon as possible. (See Finding Grief Support That Is Right for You.) I also invite you to do some reading about guilt and regret, to give you a better understanding of what you are feeling and what you might try to manage it better. Be sure to click on some of the links at the base of these posts, too: Grief and The Burden of Guilt, and Guilt and Regret in Grief

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Guest HollowHeart

kayc, MartyT, thank you so much for your words and for answering. It just feels good to talk it out and get a reply. I can't find a forum where people actually talk. I just started to see a grief counselor, only been to one session so far and I really like her and I know she didn't really want to say it, but she hinted that maybe the reality is just that her heart failed and she passed on. I just screamed and burst into tears. I just do not want to believe that reality. I just never, ever thought something this tragic would ever happen to her and me. Everyone is telling me don't put that guilt on myself, but I just feel like I was supposed to save her. I can't stand the idea that I didn't. I just keep having dreams that we rushed her to the hospital and she recuperated. I still believe she could have been saved. We actually walked to the store, that was time we could have spent going to the hospital. So I know she could have been saved. It's why I can't get past the guilt and grief. I can't move on past that, so that can't move on in general.

Many people have asked me what my sister would say but I can't go there, I don't want to try to put words in her mouth. I had a dream she said 'Save me' I only had that thought once which is why I like to stay away from 'what do you think she would say?' I don't know and don't want to make up something to make myself feel better. I will never forgive myself for just not rushing her out of there. I knew it was not good, but my Ma didn't see anything serious. She was just rolling around in the bed sleeping and I guess I thought she'd still be rolling around in bed when we went to get her but she was gone.  Just one day to late. How do you live with yourself after that? ONE DAMN DAY TO LATE! And everything as I know it is destroyed.

I know she didn't want to die. It was not her time. She was only 43. She had a lot to live for. I'm just so sad and depressed and I miss her like crazy. She was my other half and the only one that really understood me. The only person I hung out with. She was my peer so I just feel lost without her. I have my Ma, but obviously it's not the same. A whole different generation of thinking and actions. I just feel lonely and sad all day.

I had a typo in my last post, I meant to say I have no husband or children, not no wife and children. I think my fear of the future is also keeping me frozen. I thought I'd have her to face all the uncertainty together. She was the type to take charge and take action, not me. I'm a follower not a leader and I just feel like I'm flailing. I always followed her lead and took her advice. Now I'm just alone and my Mom is old and always asking for help with things that I would get my sister to help me figure out. So it's stressful there too. The loneliness is to much. We did EVERYTHING together.

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I'm glad you've started seeing a counselor, I hope you can take to heart what she says.  You are missing your sister as a person, your sister, the one who shared in taking care of your mom, your sister, the one you grew up with and did things with...our sibling relationships are big to us.  It takes a lot of work to rebuild our lives after such a huge loss.  I hope you can learn to go easy on yourself.  I don't mean put words in your sister's mouth, but you knew her, how do you think she would respond?  How would you respond to her if roles were reversed?  That's what I want you to consider, to be as kind to yourself as you would to her and vice versa.

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Lately I have been wondering how she would be handling my death. I think about the same or worse because she would argue w it's our Mom about her laziness and lack of urgency about anything and I can see them arguing more. 

I just miss her so much. I don't think she'd want me to blame myself if stay sad but I think she'd hate that I listened to our mom because we used to complain to each other all the time about the dumb stuff she would do and how she wouldn't jump to do anything if it involved getting off the couch. I think my mom has issues dealing with crisis. But I don't know. The idea that she'd just be in the hospital right now recovering haunts me. I believe we let her die and I don't know how to live with it. People tell me ask for forgiveness. What will that do? To me that's like saying "oops! My bad!" And then going on with your life. This guilt is killing me and I can't Change anything and that makes it worse. 

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Which is worse, forgiving yourself and learning to live again, or letting guilt and what ifs ruin the rest of your life?  What would your sister want you to do?  If you can't do it for yourself, do it for her.  I hope you're continuing to see a grief therapist.

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Which is worse, forgiving yourself and learning to live again, or letting guilt and what ifs ruin the rest of your life?  What would your sister want you to do?  If you can't do it for yourself, do it for her.  I hope you're continuing to see a grief therapist.

I'm going to keep seeing my therapist for a while. I hope it does some good, it's to early to tell.  It's just this is beyond tragic and emotional for me. I absolutely can't believe she is gone from my life. I am just still in shock this is my reality. Some hours things are OK, then other times it's like I'm drowning and I don't know how I will live without her. She was definitely my rock. I feel like I'm just drifting in an ocean. I'm tired of feeling so lost and lonely.

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I am so sorry.  Some deaths we never get over, but just learn to live with.  Life is always, from that day forward, "before and after" that day.  That is how it was for me when my husband died ten years ago.  Not a day goes by but what I miss him and think about him.  I do know that at that time, I didn't want to live, didn't see how I could live, but with the help of this site, I've learned to.  The most important things I've learned is to stay in the present as much as I can, not try to think unduly about the future looming before me or live in the past which is gone to me.  The other big thing I've learned is to focus on what it is that I have now, rather than what I don't have...it had helped me to fully appreciate what is.  It took quite a while to process his death, I'd say about three years, but keep in mind that everyone's grief journey is unique and so are our coping skills, which I've had to hone over the last ten years.  When I get anxious about being so alone the rest of my life, I remind myself of the scripture "He shall keep in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee" and it helps calm me.  You will learn to "self talk" yourself too in time.  Right now you're still trying to swallow the biggest tragedy of your life.  Try not to expect too much of yourself right now.  Give yourself TLC, understanding, patience.  You never would have wished harm on your sister and she knows that.  Your mom is likely one of those pathetic creatures that is unable to cope and she's going to have a hard time not only with employing sound judgment but in coping with its aftermath.  Some people cannot seem to rise up to our expectations and we have to learn to accept them as who they are, withholding both expectation and judgment.  You may not respect her, may not even like her sometimes, but she's the only mom you have and we don't get to pick them.  My mom had serious mental problems and it wasn't until the last couple of years of her life that I was able to accept her fully and lay to rest the demons she not only struggled with but caused others to.  I'm glad I had the journey with her, albeit tumultuous, because in the end, I saw a side to her I hadn't seen before in her dementia ridden state and it helped me catch a glimpse of the person she'd been meant to be...perhaps in the next life she'll be whole and free of her demons (paranoia, and mental illness).  I know how complicated it can be with parents, my heart goes out to you.

It's all too much for you to figure out today, it's enough just to allow yourself to feel your grief and get through today.  I hope you'll continue to come here and post as it does seem to help to be able to express yourself.  I felt my power stripped from me when my husband died, after all, no one asked ME if I wanted our life together to end!  Voicing myself has seemed to restore some of that empowerment.  

Also, in the beginning, the pain was unbearable.  It was hard just to live through the day.  Eventually thoughts of him brought me a smile and comfort and encouragement rather than pain.  I imagine it will be the same for you although I can't say when that will be.  Hold on.  When you're in the throes of it, it feels like an unending nightmare for which there is no hope, but grief never stays the same, it evolves continuously and you find yourself one day actually living again...although never the same as before.  There are hidden blessings, I've discovered, such as the development of compassion, appreciation, a knowing of what's important in life...silver linings they may be, I realize I'd trade them all for one moment more with my husband...alas, that is how it is.

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Kayc, thank you. This is most definitely the most tragic event of my life. Something I never saw coming, even when I found out about her health. She was right back to her old self and I felt like things would just move right along as long as she was working on her health and taking her meds. You made good points about living for today and making it through the present. But I can't help but fear the future.

How will I deal with any other loss in my family alone? I thought I'd have her until we were both old and we would deal with aging parents and relatives together. Now it's just me. And I worry about what will happen to me. I feel like a rush to figure out my arrangements, something I can't even think about, but also worry about.

I just feel we let her down. We didn't rush her to the hospital like we should have to try to save her life. I will never forgive myself, I can't figure out how to live with that. She's gone because of us.

I realized my Mom does not want to fully go there because it's just to painful. She has cried, and I felt bad because she had a couple breakdowns because I pushed to hard. So I just let her grieve how she has to and I will do the same. It can be difficult because of how she chooses to do it because on the outside it's like she doesn't care but I know she does. I am grateful and so happy to still have her, but it's not the same. I miss what me and my sister had that I can have with no one else. I need that back and I can't have it. I do feel like dying because I'm sick of trying to live.

I always said I was a 'loner' but being a loner knowing you still have someone there for you is different. I loved doing my own thing, but loved knowing she'd be there when we wanted to do something together. Now I'm truly by myself. And things like museum trips, Black Friday shopping, city events, things like that where you always see couples and groups together is just no fun when you are FORCED to do it alone. Ugh, just hate everything and care about nothing now.

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Well I hope you work on making friends so you have a support system in place when you have to go through this again someday.  Right now I'd focus on this loss though as that alone is enough to deal with right now.  I told you about my husband because it sounds like your loss of sister equates to about the same as loss of husband in that she was your everything, she was part of your everyday life.

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I haven't been on this site for a long time. Before I could get to a counselor, in the midst of a medical emergency with my Mom, I had what appears to be a breakdown. I didn't know what was happening at the time as it never happened before. I went into a state of high anxiety and could not get out. I sought mental health attention immediately. Nothing has worked. Within a few months depression came. Severe depression. It remains. No medication has helped and I've tried many. 

I'm devastated for myself but even more for my husband who watches me struggle every day. What a nightmare. I wouldn't wish it on anyone. I am also going through "the change of life." Sometimes I dream that hormones are playing a role and some day I will come back to life. I really want to live. I don't want to be depressed. I don't want this event to be the end for me. 

As I have already said..what a nightmare. I have not tried "talk therapy" because of the severity of the depression. In truth, In don't want to talk about all the sad stuff. I want to move on and feel alive again...but I don't know how to do that. 

I truly have tried and the tried and tried. 

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