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I lost my little sister to an accidental overdose

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My only sibling, Cathy, died unexpectedly on 5/27/23. She had just turned 60. I’m 65 and always thought I’d be the one to go first. I live in Hawaii and she lived in CA where we grew up. Our parents are both deceased so my sister and my son are all that was left of my family. I flew out to CA the day after the police called to say they found her dead,  as if she had been sitting on the side of the bed, and there were meth pipes and a torch nearby. 
I knew she’s used, but she had seemed so much better the last few years. Her birthday was May 8th and we spoke and she had called on May 14th to wish me happy Mother’s Day. She sounded great, so it was in disbelief that I returned to CA.

Im staying with my son while I’m dealing with her affairs. He has not been helpful but we all grieve differently I suppose. I’m really tired and feel so alone. I had a small service for her as I wasn’t prepared for this. A few old friends showed up, and some of mine have been around to comfort me. Everyone was aware that she was an addict. That has now defined her, and it seems shameful and secretive. It is different somehow, as if this is what she deserved or she had it coming. No one knew her like I did though. Cathy was much more than an addict. We have shared good times and bad and despite the drugs.   So many good times. 
The coroner called me last night to tell me she died from an overdose of meth and fentanyl. I had been hoping it was a heart attack, or something. But people were right and that is what happened. I’m ashamed. What do I tell my co-workers? It is just an ugly secret that I have to hide from people when they ask what happened? It is as if an od diminishes their worth. 
My son just shrugged last night when I gave him the autopsy results. I know he loved her but I suppose he’s had enough. I’m so lonely in my grief. She has a roommate that I am trying to evict that I’m sure is a meth addict. I want to go over there and beat her with a baseball bat. She was supposed to have been my sister’s friend. 

Momento Mori comes to mind. Remember you must die. I feel as though I’m next and it’s right around the corner. After all, she was my baby sister. I feel really nauseous and sad today. I’m going home soon and there is so much more to do. I feel like no one understands. I want a big hug and to be able to bond with my son and he is just not capable of that. I guess it’s one foot in front of the other but I just want to sleep. Cathy and I were planning a visit with each other next February and that will never happen now. IMG_7553.thumb.jpeg.3f55e5f56efc89498e1edcace94c57ae.jpeg Life goes on until it doesn’t. The tears flow in my lonely solitude. I wish I could have one more day with her. 

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My dear, I am so very sorry for the loss of your beloved sister ~ and what a lovely photo of her!

Losing a sibling is a special kind of loss, and my heart reaches out to you in your pain. I imagine that your son's seemingly indifferent reaction to this death, however justified it may seem to him, only adds to your pain and sense of isolation. I hope you have someone else in your circle that you can turn to for the comfort, understanding and support that you need and deserve. I also hope for your sake that you will seek the support of a qualified grief counselor who can help you through this traumatic loss.

Your loss is also a classic example of Disenfranchised Grief ~ a term coined by grief expert Kenneth Doka that he describes as hidden sorrow, since it is grief that is neither publicly recognized nor acknowledged by others.

I am pointing you to some readings that I hope will speak to you in a helpful way, if only to help you better understand what you are feeling and why, and to reassure you that you are not alone.  ❤️

The Grief of an Overdose Death: Part 1

The Grief of an Overdose Death: Part 2

Five Tips To Help You Through The Grief of An Overdose Death

Sibling Loss: When Grief Goes Unacknowledged

Coping With Hidden Sorrow

Understanding Disenfranchised Grief


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@waveslider I am so sorry for your loss.  I lost my closest sister 1 1/3 years ago, her husband 1 1/2 years before, they were married for 50 years, he was like a brother to me, only ten miles away.  

However your sister died doesn't define the totality of who she is. Tell your coworkers the truth or just tell them you don't want to talk about it.  I hope you have a friend you can unload to.  I'm sorry your son is unable to be there for you, my kids are so busy with their lives, it's kind of the same.  I've had to build my own life and mostly it's alone.  People keep moving or dying.

I'm nearly 71 now, hard to believe, time has a way of passing.

Your sister is beautiful. I'm sure you have many memories of her.  It'll be hard cleaning out her stuff with a drug addict roommate there.  

I relate to this...

19 hours ago, waveslider said:

Cathy and I were planning a visit with each other next February and that will never happen

My heart goes out to you in your loss.  I send thoughts and prayers your way.

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You'll get through it, I was still in shock when I was doing it, so hard.

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  • 8 months later...

"The Surviving Siblings Summit" will cover topics specific to siblings who have lost siblings and we welcome you to attend if you have experienced a loss of a sibling or you would like to learn more about sibling loss.
The event will take place on April 20th virtually on an interactive platform for our attendees. Our keynotes and sessions have been crafted and selected to ensure that our attendees leave feeling connected, inspired and uplifted even after the devastating loss of a sibling.
Whether you lost your sibling today or decades ago, there is something for everyone at our upcoming event.
In addition, one of the incredible benefits of our event is that you can watch all of the keynotes and sessions for up to 90 days post the event on our secure platform. Networking and expo booth interactive is only active the day of the event.
For tickets: https://www.thesurvivingsiblings.com/store/

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