ONLY SIBLING DIED AT 38

My sister died eight weeks ago after a short, (nine weeks from completely unexpected diagnosis), hard, brave fight with cancer. I’m completely in shock - and denial - right now. Seems too unbelievable to be true. It’s hard to get my head around the fact that she has gone a good forty years too soon. Breaks my heart that she won’t see her five year old daughter grow up. My parents are walking around dazed, shocked and a bit like they’ve been hit by a freight train. Life will never be the same and it is scary. The family dynamic has now changed and I keep telling myself I am now an ‘Only’. It is beyond sad that nobody else on this planet truly understands our childhood and its intricacies. Miss her so much and feel this is just the beginning of ever ending pain. There appear to be very little / no online conversations on sibling grief - so would love to hear anybody else’s stories. Thank you

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Hi Katie

I am very sorry about your sister. It is not surprising you are in shock and denial and your parents are dazed. It is such early days for you.

I lost my sister a number of years ago at the same age as your sister. I am now in my 40s. Although I too have thought about this, I definitely do not think of myself as an ‘only’ as I did not grow up as an only child.

I am here as I have recently lost my mum but I have noticed there appears to be llttle if anything about sibling grief. Message me anytime if it helps.

Xx

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Dear Katie, I am so very sorry because you have lost one of the people who has always been a part of your life. My younger sister, she was the only sibling I had, died in her early 40’s of misdiagnosed Ovarian cancer, she had two children in their early teens. There were just two years between us and from the moment she was born I became her best friend. We went to school together, played together and when I left to start work at 15 years of age, she left two years later and I got her a job working with me. We went on holidays, dancing, everywhere I went, my sister came with me. She was with me the night I met my husband and I was with her when she met her husband.

When she died it was as though half of me was missing, even though we were both married with a family of our own we all still went out together, went on holidays and day trips, we were like two families in one. Our dad had died the year after we were married and when my sister died it tore our mum’s heart out. Our mum died a few years later.

My sister died 25 years ago and her husband, my brother in law, never went out with another woman, all he ever wanted was my sister. Sadly he died in 2015 the year after my husband died and he was the last one in my family of the past.

Even now all these many years later, I still miss her, I miss talking to her about when we were young in the 1960’s, what we wore, the holidays we had, the boys we met. The trouble we got in with our parents for going out on motorbikes with boys. Don’t think for one moment it was all fun and games, we had our fights, especially when she liked a boy and he asked me out instead or vice versa, it sometimes got to hair pulling but we were inseparable and we loved each other.

Many years ago, in the late 50’s, we were both in bed crying our eyes out because there had been a plane crash and Buddy Holly had been killed along with other singers. We cried a lot together when one of us had been ‘dumped’ by a boy, it just goes on and on. So many memories, so much fun, and so much love.

You will never get over her death because you cannot forget someone who was the other half of you, the person you told your secret’s to and your innermost thoughts. How you went to bed at night discussing boys and what to wear at the next dance or wherever you were going together. You will never, ever forget that and of course you shouldn’t.

You will cry for a long time to come, but grief is only there when you have loved someone with all your heart, the more you grieve, the more you have loved. You will never forget her because she was there throughout your childhood and then when you grew older. Such a close bond will never be broken.

When my husband died nearly four years ago, I wished with all my heart that my sister had been still alive because she would have been the only one I could have told how heartbroken I was and be able to cry in front of her instead of having to put on a brave face, she would have understood, held me in her arms and let me cry, but she wasn’t there and that breaks my heart because I needed her so much.

I am truly sorry for you, I really am, and I wish I could make it better for you but I can’t, your mum and dad needs all the support they can get so don’t be afraid to cry and talk about her.

My sister’s daughter has now a family of her own and I have spent hours over the years telling her about her mum before she met her dad, things even her dad wouldn’t know about. So her small daughter will lean to you because you will be able to tell her all the things you did together. Make her a photo album of when you and her mum were young and again when you got older, tell her stories about school, college, what you did on night’s out, what clothes you used to wear, what it was like many years ago, what the music was at that time. These are the things that will keep her mummy alive in her heart and mind.

Sorry for going on so long.

Love,

Sheila xx

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I’m away at the moment Sheila, but I can’t tell you how grateful I am for your reply. I’m going to read this thoroughly when I get home. Thank you so so much X

Dear Katie, you are so welcome, and if ever you need to talk, we are all here for you.

Sheila xx

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I too lost my sister in March this year, she was 58 and the youngest of seven children. The rest of us are still here. She lived in Australia while we all live in England, we thought she was happy and content but she took her own life and no one knows why. She had a wonderful husband, two grown up children and two beautiful grandchildren. Like you, we are all still in shock and need answers that we know are not going to come as she left no notes. I find just thinking about the happy times we had as children helps, I try not to dwell on why she passed away. I hope you find some comfort from others who have or are going through a tough time like yourself.

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Hello Katie, I lost my beloved younger sister less than a month ago, and I relate to everything you are saying. We need more online specific support for sibling loss. My sister was the light of my life and we grew even closer after her cancer diagnosis in August if 2017. I was by her side on every step of the cancer journey, and we vowed to remain positive and hopeful, and make everyday count. She died suddenly in a few hours of getting to the hospital for fluids. It was two days before her birthday and we had so many plans to celebrate. I am still in shock, and I need to hear her voice and her laughter, and to text her 5 times a day. My parents are gone, and I have another sibling, but she does not possess the warmth, kindness and loving nature of my deceased sister,and that special connection was never there. I have never felt more alone in my life. I am sorry for your pain, and maybe through this site we can find others suffering the loss of a sister/sibling, and help each other through this darkness.

I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your lovely sister. I had read loads about terminal illness and ‘the ending’ - which I so frequently heard ‘comes quick’ but I stupidly didn’t really take it on board - and my sister very quickly became unconscious and died within a few hours too (severe sepsis). Such a shock. I guess you haven’t had the funeral yet - or maybe just have. We’re on week nine after her death - and the pain is still so raw. I’m finding I can’t face seeing anyone, can’t have the radio on as every song sets me off! am crying most of the time - in fact am just trying to get by. Not sure I am helping you really - but hopefully you don’t feel alone. I find the mornings are the worst - waking up and it’s like new news. In fact when I am doing something during the day and maybe after half an hour I realise what has happened, it’s like reliving it over and over. I do think the level of denial will change though - I think it must be like this for a few weeks / months and then an acceptance will set in. The thing is, the more the weeks go by, the longer it is since I saw her - meaning the missing is greater. It is lovely to connect with someone who is nearly in the same time frame of loss. This forum is great for reading stories about people being / having been through this - I know a lot of people in life / school mums / acquaintances, and I do not know ONE single person who has lost a sibling. It certainly does make one feel very alone and that is so unfair. I don’t know how you have found - but my wider family support has been shocking / not existent. Thank you for contacting me, it’s great to have like minded sharing

I am seeing that our experiences are so closely related. My sister also had sepsis and mornings are the worst for me too. We simply went to the hospital to get her hydrated and they said she had to stay, and then it is a blur, but she died in the wee hours of the morning. I was with her, and was so fortunate to be able to hold her hand. She was cremated and we held a lovely “Celebration of Life” service according to her wishes. You ask about family support, like I said there is one existing sibling, however she has a husband who helps and supports her, and I am alone. She also did not have the bond I had with my younger sister. She had not spoken to either one of us for 6 years, after our mother died, and only started up again when she heard my younger sister had a rare cancer. We seem to have a lot in common. Hopefully sharing our pain will help a bit. I find people expect us to just “move on” after only a month or so, and they no longer want to hear about it. For us it is a “life sentence” having to face another 20, 30, or more years with this hole in our hearts that can never be filled. I will be glad to communicate with you through this. You are not alone either.

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Dear katie,
I am truly sorry for your loss.
Like yourself my sister passed away (23/7/17) that day a huge part of me died too. She has a son who’s now 14 and has Aspergers and ADHD.
His father signed over parental responsibility to me, after promising him he would never leave him. I took my nephew as my own. It’s been VERY hard. My sister was only 35 and was full of life. I still cry at random times (when no ones around) I miss her like crazy. I hate that I can’t see or talk to her ever again. I’ve sent messages to her old number, knowing I won’t get a reply. I watch her son and see a child who’s no longer a carefree happy child, but instead a lonely, lost person who has lost his innocence and I honestly don’t know what to do.
I do tell the children to think of something their Auntie/ his Mom would do each day and we talk about fun and happy things. But nearly a year on I’m stronger mentally, more understanding of how precious life is and considerate to others. I do still have trouble accepting she no longer here on earth. But I understand she has gone and I can’t bring her back, but I can do positive things in her memory (even if I feel like locking myself away)

They say time is a healer… I say “with time comes understanding and acceptance”. And that is what will get us through. I’m also a great believer that writing a journal really helps to release the built up tension and sadness.
My sister has a blog which I was sent the link to after she’d passed away. I still can’t read it fully (way too soon) but it has definitely given me the courage to do something I’ve always wanted to do. Thanks to my BEAUTIFUL angel little sister xx

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So sorry Bambiboo., I am in tears going over everyone’s posts about the loss of their dear siblings. I can closely relate to everything said by all of you. I too feel that a part of me died with her that day. I wish I had a magic wand to wave, and wipe away all of our pain. All of us have different circumstances, but we have deep grief and crushing pain in common. You are all brave souls, handing your grief as best you can. This site is a place of refuge and I come for my own support, but also to support others. May we find peace and healing.

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how are you ?

Thank you for asking Katie13. I try so hard to find the courage to face each day. I feel aimless and cannot see past the pain into any type of future. To make matters worse I am dealing with a very difficult remaining sibling, who is doing everything to make this time of grief even more painful and stressful. I can only take one minute at a time. And how about you? How are you getting along?

thanks for replying with your thoughts. You mentioned that you send texts to your sister’s number - I have often thought of that. We had around 1000 texts exchanged in those 9 weeks she was ill so I am missing my text buddy the most! The best thing you did is to look after her son and give him the best life. I’m sure it is super hard but I bet she is so grateful. I wish I could have done the same. Create happy memories. Its’ just so cruel when you feel that someone is taken a good forty years too soon. That I am really struggling to get my head round. I have my first bereavement counselling session this morning. I just can’t believe it’s true - even though I knew it was happening when she was diagnosed and kept telling myself, it’s hard to begin to believe.

Thank you for your kind words. With support of people who are in similar circumstances helps because no matter how kind friends are they will not understand the deep routes pain that we have. Xx

Hi Katie13
How was your session yesterday? I’m waiting for Counselling, I know I need it. When I’ve taken the children to school I just sit and cry. I hope my sister can see me and understands how much I love her. It’s very hard for my nephew, he tried to take his life last Christmas, but we have definitely made steps forward. I do wonder if one day I can smile (a genuine heartfelt smile) and not have the mask that I wear everyday…I hope so xx it’s sunny today so I’m going to get out and go for a walk in the park to clear my thought…hope you are ok xx

Hope you are getting through the days, I lost my only sibling my brother age 44 suddenly Dec 2015 still such a shock, bad days still loom but you also keep the faith that things will get easier, my parents are 70 and this is killing them.
Big hug xx

Thanks Molly, It certainly is very impactful for the wider family, particularly our parents. It’s just something one expects to happen. I’m still finding there is nobody I know who has an even similar experience - so it was wonderful this morning to get an email from SR with another message. Makes me feel so less alone. I wish we could all get in a room together !! Lots of love, Thank you

Hi, Thanks for your message. I’ve been in hibernating for a good few weeks - I can identify your school run routine! Same as mine - hold it together, then come home and cry. In fact I am usually crying on it too. It’s amazing how many tears the body holds!!! Hope you’re okay. You wrote this a month ago now - where are you at now? I am sure it is just as painful. So nice of you to comment

Hi Katie13, it is Sister2 again. We exchanged posts before, and we really do seem to share similar experiences. The impact of losing an adult sibling is often minimized in our society, but for me it has hit harder than any other before. Losing my mother was devastating, but I had my younger sister by my side and we supported each other through it. Now, my best friend and my mother are both gone. I am left to mourn alone. I am here to listen to you whenever you need to vent, I believe we can help each other since our circumstances are similar. Every day is a struggle. Take care.

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