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Jey

Corvid took my sister

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I'm not sure what to write. I feel very lost and I need to get out of my head. We are all quarantined and it didn't seem to work for my sister. She was living in an assisted living place and had been battling for 4 years with stage 4 cancer and she was doing ok with immuno therapy. I was so worried about her in the place she was living and she ended up getting the virus and within 5 days she was gone. I couldn't see her. I couldn't say good bye. I feel awful that she was alone with no family to sit with her in the hospital. I miss her and at the same time it doesn't feel like any of this is real. I feel like I am in an alternate reality. She was cremated this morning, I found this out from my other sister. I don't even want to talk to other family members right now cause I am so angry at the injustice of this whole thing. I think about her all day and hope and pray that she is really in a better place. The worst part beyond losing my sister is that my family can not get together. It feels so wrong. I did a memorial for my sister and invited my family on Zoom to be a part of it, but it wasn't the same as being at my sisters side so she wasn't alone as she left this world and then honoring her memory with other family and sharing stories. It is all very unreal.

-Trying to cope

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Jey, I am so sorry.  I hope you can have a regular memorial for her when this is over.  This is like nothing any of us have ever seen before.  The aloneness is so hard, not being able to be with her when she was sick.    I think not being able to see her or have a proper funeral is part of why it feels unreal, coupled with the suddenness and shock of it.  I want to extend my sorrow for what you are going through and send thoughts for comfort and peace your way.  It does help to express yourself so I'm glad you found this place.

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14 hours ago, Jey said:

I don't even want to talk to other family members right now cause I am so angry at the injustice of this whole thing.

The anger you're feeling in the wake of your sister's tragic death is completely understandable, Jey, and I am so sorry this has happened to you and your family ~ especially at a time when you couldn't be with your sister as she lay dying and when you cannot gather afterward to support one another in the kind of community that a funeral provides. Please allow yourself to feel whatever it is you need to feel, recognizing that (1) you've every right to feel whatever you may be feeling; (2) feelings are not facts and while we cannot control how we feel, we can control how we react and respond to our feelings; (3) feelings change, and you won't always feel the way you're feeling now. Know too that anger is one of the most common reactions in grief. See, for example, Is Anger One of The Stages of Grief?

 

14 hours ago, Jey said:

The worst part beyond losing my sister is that my family can not get together.

Yes. This is a time when you cannot be supported and physically surrounded by all your sister's friends and family members, when you and your family would be hugging, kissing and shaking the hands of those who knew and loved your sister. You say you've held a Zoom gathering for family members, but I hope that you and your family will still consider holding some sort of memorial service at a later time, when life is back to normal (if that is even possible) and once again people can gather together in person and in community. That would give you lots of time to think about and plan what you all could and would like to do.

 

14 hours ago, Jey said:

I couldn't see her. I couldn't say good bye. I feel awful that she was alone with no family to sit with her in the hospital.

Knowing that your sister was all alone when she died is the sort of thought that can tear you apart if you allow it to do so. I hope it will bring you some small measure of comfort to know that as she lay sick and dying in quarantine, it is highly unlikely that, in the condition she was in, your sister was totally and completely aware of what was happening to her. I invite you to read an article written by a friend and colleague, herself an expert in death and the dying process. Her name is Barbara Karnes, and she has written a number of useful and informative booklets, many of which are used in hospices all over the world. In her piece entitled Dying 101, she writes,

There are only 2 ways to die. Fast, getting hit by a truck, heart attack or suicide to name a
few. Gradual death, the other way we die, is either old age, (the body just wears out and
you die) or disease. We get a disease that the doctors can’t fix, that our body can’t fight
and we die.

Dying from the coronavirus is considered a gradual death (disease) that can happen
rapidly.

There is a process that occurs with gradual death. Certain things happen at certain times.
If death just suddenly happened it would be fast death. The changes that occur in gradual
death occur on a timeline, from months, weeks, days, hours and minutes.
With the coronavirus the gradual dying signs will begin in the days to hours before the
dying time frame. Up to that time they will be very sick, have difficulty breathing but not
appear to be dying.

Most people are going to be isolated in some kind of medical facility, surrounded by
machines, and tubes but I think the fear we carry is not about the machines or tubes but
about how am I going to feel? I’m scared about what I will feel like when all of this is
going on.

Think about a time when you were the sickest you have ever been. During the sickest time
you don’t remember much if anything. What you remember is when you were past the
critical point and you hear what others told you happened.

During the worse part of a severe illness our mind just kind of blanks itself. That makes
me believe that the person dying isn’t really aware of what is happening round and about
them. However, most of us watchers observe what is happening and think the person
dying is thinking, feeling, experiencing the world in the same way the watchers are. I
don’t believe that is true. I have been with so many people in their last hours to minutes
and have consistently observed their lack of connection, lack of fear, and lack of
awareness.

In this time of great fear and uncertainty my wish for us, along with health, safety, and
support, is knowledge. Knowledge of how to live in this crisis and knowledge of how to
die in this crisis. We may be doing both.

I agree completely with this hospice nurse's view of knowledge. I firmly believe that in grief, knowledge is power ~ because learning about grief reassures us that (although each person's loss is different and each grief journey in unique) our reactions are normal and to some extent predictable, so that as we mourn, we can know what reactions we might expect, and we can learn from others what we might do to manage our own reactions.

I hope that by coming here you'll find lots of useful information, you'll feel understood and welcome, and you'll feel less alone and isolated in your grief.  ❤️

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I would like to thank everyone who responded to my post. Everyday seems different right now. I do firmly believe that writing helps me to get my feelings and emotions out. I am glad that I found this site. I appreciate the feedback and I will continue to read about grief and write about it here and in a journal so I can heal.

I am finding that I can talk to one sister and not so much to the other. When I spoke to my younger sister yesterday, she gave me some perspective about the dynamics of my family. The sister that died was the middle child of five. I have an older brother and sister and then there is my younger sister and I. So my younger sister said that my middle sister was a bridge between the older siblings and us. I think she is right. When we were younger it seemed that anything that went wrong in the house was blamed on "one of the three little ones" so when I spoke to my older sister and she was remembering things about Joanne (sister who died) I was getting a little defensive. I guess I didn't like the memory she was sharing. I just wanted to get off the phone. 

I have decided that until I can process some of my feelings more, I am going to refrain from talking to people who may bring my anger to the surface. I think this is a better way to handle the anger from all of this. This way I don't say something that I may regret later. I just need some time to myself, to reflect on the relationship I had with Joanne. 

Thanks

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That's probably wise, although I think it's okay to tell them it's not something you prefer to talk about right now.

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