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Lost My Big Sister


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I don't know where I'm going with this, but I need someone to talk to. My big sister died on January 18th, 2011. I can't talk to anyone in person about how I'm feeling. My mom (we have different mothers) is stressed out already over a bunch of stuff. My dad died when I was 1, which is when my sister's mom moved them both to Arizona (I live on the East Coast). My grandmother is horrible with feelings. She always gets angry with me when I cry, and I can't talk or even write about this stuff without crying. And I can't talk to my little sister, it just feels weird, and she's not an authority figure or anything. I don't have many close friends. I guess I just need to connect with people who are going through, or have gone through, the same thing as I am.

I want to go to grief counseling, as a group with other kids who lost people close to them. I used to go, because of my father's death, and again when my sister's father died, but I feel like now I need it more than ever, and I can't have it. My family doesn't have enough money to spare to send me anywhere like that. So, the internet is the best thing I have right now.

I'll be 16 at the end of the month. My sister was 19. This will be the first birthday where I won't get a card from her, or have her call, or something like that. I feel bad; she always wrote me and called me more than I wrote/called her. I was a little kid who didn't even know she had a sister until someone told her. I wish I had been smart enough to realize how important talking to her was. She would always talk about how she'd come to my state so we could see each other, but the one time she was around, I was out with friends. I feel so stupid. I never even really got to know my own sister. Her mom said she would always talk about me; I feel guilty that I didn't talk about her more often. I feel like a bad sister.

She had a baby that just turned 1 year old. She named her baby after me, I always felt so flattered. She died in her sleep, with her baby in her arms. I wish I wasn't so far away, I want to help raise the little girl, or help out somehow. I know how hard it is to lose a parent at that age. Like I said, my dad died when I was 1. She'll never get to know what it's like to have her mom take her places, or give her a Mother's Day gift, or have her come to school on Parent's Day. And it sucks, and it hurts to see all the other kids with their parents, and hear them talking about them, and I wish I could do more to help her. She doesn't realize it now, but it's gonna be painful, and I just want to hug her and never let her go. I don't really like kids; I never thought I'd feel this way about one, but I want to be there for her.

And speaking of parents, no one ever really talked to me about my father. My mom lied to me when I was little, and I guess I can't blame her, considering how my father died. But my sister told me the truth, or at least, a little bit of it, which I'm really grateful for. My mom never talks about how my dad died. I still don't know the details. I don't talk to anyone on my father's side of the family; the only person I really know was my grandma on my father's side, who sends me cards on special occasions, but I only ever saw her in person once. I tried to ask her if I could come see her again, but she never replied. I feel like my only link to my father just disappeared when my sister died, like that part of his family will always be a mystery to me. I'm at that age where I'm curious, I want to know more about his death, but I can't talk to anyone about it anymore. Mom won't tell me. My sister's dead. The only other person who ever expressed interest in telling me anything about him, my aunt, is a cynical bitch who I don't talk to any more. I've always been so proud of my last name, that I got from my father. But I feel like I'll never be able to live up to that name if I don't know anything about the family.

I get depressed randomly. People act like they've forgotten all about my sister, aside from the occasional query about how she died (we're still waiting on the autopsy reports. Sometimes it seems like I'll never know exactly what killed her, just like with my father). I wish someone would just ask how I am, just once. My girlfriend does, sometimes, but... I dunno. It means a lot, but it's not the same. I want the rest of my family to care. I want to go back and do all those grief-counseling exercises we did when I went to group therapy. I know it'll mean a lot more now. But I can't. They never even notice when I cry, even when I'm doing it right in front of them. I want to cry. I'm scared to. I don't know what to do anymore, I'm only 15 and I can't talk to anyone and I feel like I'm going insane or something. I just want someone to help, or to listen. Keeping it all inside is driving me crazy.

I'm sorry this post is so long and unorganized (I'm a writer, I can't stand it when stuff I write is sloppy), but I just had to get it all out there. I think that's it, at least for now. I just wanted to put it in a somewhat public place, so. If anyone read this all the way through, thanks. It means a lot.

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My dear Emily,

I'm hoping that some of our members who are closer to your age will connect with you through our site, but in the meantime I just want you to know that your voice has been heard.

I'm so very sorry to learn of the death of your sister, and my heart aches for you as I read your story. Way too many big, big losses for someone as young as you are. That's one of the difficulties for you as a teen ~ kids your age like and need to turn to their friends when they are hurting, but very few kids your age have endured as much significant loss as you have, so they cannot really relate to what you are experiencing ~ and you end up feeling very isolated and alone.

You say that your family doesn't have sufficient funds to send you to a grief camp or program specifically designed for kids, but nowadays some communities offer grief services either free of charge or on a sliding scale, based on ability to pay. Could you contact your local hospice or mortuary to see what, if any, grief support might be available where you live? It's certainly worth a try. Is there anyone at school you know well enough that you could talk to about all of this? A trusted teacher or school counselor, maybe? Short of that, you're certainly most welcome to continue reading, posting and participating here ~ I think you'll find the folks here to be among the most caring and supportive you'll find anywhere. You'll also discover lots of information to help you understand what is normal in grief and what you can do to better manage your own reactions. I encourage you to explore the Child, Adolescent Grief page of my Grief Healing Web site, where you'll find links to lots of online articles, books and other resources that you may find very helpful. See also the Death of a Parent page.

Please know that there is no need to apologize for the length or the content of your post ~ you've expressed yourself very well, and I assure you that we are listening. Here you are among kindred spirits who won't let you travel this difficult journey all alone.

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