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Have you ever lost a sibling?

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
My 20-year-old sister Emily was murdered in November 2000 (the same weekend I became pregnant with my dh's and my first child... she's now 6 months old).

Anyway, I had never lost anyone close to me before, and the grief has been difficult to work through. If anyone else who has lost a sibling or close friend stumbles across this thread and would like to discuss, I would appreciate that.

I have written and thought a lot and had intense dreams and of course cried a bit. I am 33 - she was my half sister and I did not grow up with her, and so we were not terribly "close," but I still loved her intensely and we did have some powerful connections. The one thing I struggle with right now is the denial. It's supposed to be over, I think, but somehow I still can't accept that I will never be in her physical presence again. I really need to move past this and would love to hear from those who have.

Thank you!
post #2 of 22
Dear Kathleen~

I am so sorry to hear about your sister. Sometimes, when there is a sudden loss, such as a murder, it can be very hard to come to terms with the loss.

My dh died by suicide 1/5/00 and I also had a friend murdered in 1995. Recently, they finally found the person and it went to trial. It helped put closure with the murder and the murderer will be in prison for the rest of their life.

There is another thread going called "What are the Stages of Grief". I will bump it up for you~you might find it helpful.

There is no "right" way or time frame to grieve. There are still some days (especially around the anniversery date, etc.), that all of this seems to be just a bad, bad dream.

Do you have a support group that you could attend? My ds and I, still attend a family grief and loss group. The group I attend is for people who have lost someone to homicide or suicide. It has been very healing for me/us. Please know that there are many people here to love and support you through this too.

Hugs to You~

post #3 of 22


I lost a sister 9 years ago to cancer. She and I were the closet of the family and I still grieve her death.

DD just decided to have a 2 yr old
tantrum so I better finish this later.

peace, moondancer
post #4 of 22


That has got to be the worst way to lose someone. My 20-year-old brother Harley drowned last summer...I was 3 months pregnant at the time and he was looking forward to being an uncle. I'm not sure what to say to my daughter about him or when. I also never get the chance to talk about him because I think most people assume I'd rather not.
post #5 of 22
there are support groups for peole who have suffered losses through murder....I really think that would be a wonderful option for you, there has to be different issues involved in losing someone in such a way....

I *cannot* imagine losing one of my sisters...just thinking about it gives me chills...
post #6 of 22
i think the organization that has support groups for murdered loved ones is compassionate friends?? perhpas you could locate them at www.compassionatefriends.org (just a guess).
post #7 of 22

More about Harley...sorry it's so long

(Here's an excerpt of something I'm writing - sorry it's so long!)

I still can't believe it sometimes. Each holiday or special occasion that passes by without Harley has me thinking, wait, something's wrong, why is he still not showing up? Why didn't he come back for this? I was talking to our cousin about him and she said that she went to the Country Fair, where Harley used to work, and that it was weird not seeing him there, and I was thinking, I can't believe he wouldn't show up for that!

One day a friend asked me to come to the hospital with him. He told me that someone I knew was in there, but he wouldn't tell me who it was. I thought maybe he had gone to the lake and found Harley there, still alive, and had taken him to the hospital. (He never even met Harley.) Of course, the person in the hospital wasn't Harley, and I tried to hide my disappointment.

I don't understand how one simple decision - to go to the lake or stay home - could completely change the lives of everyone who knew him. He could have just as easily decided to stay home - why did he have to go? Why did he have to make the decision that ended his life? Why didn't he just swim? Why didn't he wear a life jacket? Why couldn't he have been sober? Why couldn't someone have rescued him? Why couldn't the police find him? Why can't he come back?

I feel worse when the weather gets bad. When it starts raining really hard and storming, I think of Harley alone in the lake in all that bad weather and just start to cry. I have to remind myself that he doesn't need me anymore.

I guess people assume I don't want to talk about it. I don't know. Maybe I don't. I sure don't volunteer to. But at the family reunion Harley was supposed to be at, I was really upset that no one talked about him. It was like people were trying to forget him. I guess really I'd be glad to talk about him, but I always forget what I'm going to say, or I'll start crying really hard and can't say anything. When his friends asked me to tell them stories about him, all I could think of to say was "Uh…he played the saxophone."

It's really weird telling people "I have two sisters" when they ask about my family situation. At first I wasn't sure what to say. Can't I still say I have a brother? Does someone stop being your brother when they die? I remember the day of Harley's service, Dad getting together with me and my sisters and saying "All my children…" the way he used to when we were all together with Harley, and I wanted to say, No, don't you get it? We'll never be all your children again.
post #8 of 22

Glad to can come and write about your brother. After we loose a loved one, we struggle so, with the way life "used to be". Parents who have lost a child~how many kids do they have now? And this also goes for loosing a sibling. I think you can still say that you have 3 sibs. He is still your brother. Just like, my ds has 2 dads.

People often assume that you don't want to talk about the loved one who has past because it might hurt too much. I WANT to talk about it/them~to acknowledge them and my feelings. Our society, I think, doesn't want to deal w/the intense feelings of grief and loss and death.

I remember too, having haunting thoughts about what my dh was doing right before he died. It was terrifying for me. You are not alone in your feelings.

Sending you BIG HUGS~

post #9 of 22

It's been a long week

I hope this doesn't end up too long.

I'm part of this group, and on Monday one of my favorite people in the group went to prison. I was crying about that all day, and it was nice to cry about something other than my brother for once. So today, Friday, we had a meeting of the group and everyone was crying about the guy who went to prison, and saying stuff like "It was God's will" and "Everything happens for a reason." And sayings like that are the reason I don't talk about my brother, because I'm afraid I might hear something like that. I do not believe there was any reason for him to die, or that God's will had anything to do with it. And I don't believe it was all for the best, or any of that other crap you hear when someone dies.

So hearing all this crap reminds me of Harley, and I start crying, and everyone thinks I'm crying about the guy who went to prison. So they're telling me all this stuff about how it's OK, he's not dead, I can write to him, he'll be back, etc. And I just keep crying because no one knows what's really going on, and I'm afraid to talk about it, and also I feel like it would be somehow impolite, like, "Oh, I know we're all supposed to be sad about our friend, but I'm sad about this other thing instead."

Finally I talked to a friend in the group and told him how I feel about sayings like "It was God's will" and I think he might have understood, although he still thinks I'm sad about the other guy.

Also for the last three days I didn't cry at all, and that has been a record for me, and I was bummed to start crying again today.

Also, I'm part of this other group, and sometimes I do talk about Harley there and the last time I did, no one even approached me at all. That's the worst response you can get, I think.
post #10 of 22
My brother died when he was twenty also. It was a car accident - he took my mom and dads car in the middle of the night - he wasn't even supposed to be driving. The police chased him - they said he went thru a red light and he lost control of the car. So many questions....why did he leave like that in the middle of the night? How could he lose control, he was the best driver I know and it was a pretty straight stretch of road. Where was he going???? Why did the cop really chase him? We asked to listen to the police tapes from that time but mysteriously the tape had malfunctioned during the time of the chase.

So many questions. It has been six years this February - and DS birthday (he's 4 now) is the day after the anniversary of my brothers death. My parents couldn;t even come to his birthday party this year. I think it will get easier, but we all still miss him so much. And I don't know what to say either - he was my only sibling so what do I do now when people ask "do youhave any brothers or sisters?" Say no and deny that I ever had a brother? Say yes and tell them the story? Its hard for me to do - I hold it like a tight little ball of grief in my heart . I don't know anyone else who has lost a sibling and I don't know if my parents will ever be back. They live now, barely, in a fog of grief and staggering despair that no accomplishment, joy or love of mine can even touch
post #11 of 22

"Any brothers/sisters?"

I know, I hate that question as well, although it may be easier for me because I still have 2 sisters. Someone on this board suggested that I can still say I have a brother, you know, in spirit and all, but that could get awkward explaining it to someone I just met.
post #12 of 22
That's what I thought too - kind of a downer to get into all of that when it is someone you just met and who probably just means to ask an innocuous question. Of course he's still there in spirit but can be heavy to lay on some people.
post #13 of 22

Can't sleeeeeeeeeeeep!!!

Well, it's the same old thing again...it's midnight and DH and DD are asleep but that's when the tears usually start so here I am on the computer again...

I think I will post a "funny Harley story" from something I'm writing.

One Christmas I wanted to get him another cat. (That was Cobie - his last one.) I wanted it to be a surprise, and I knew that he would figure out we were going to the Humane Society on the way there, so I blindfolded him. Mom called the Humane Society beforehand and told them we would be bringing in a blindfolded boy. In the car, Harley kept trying to guess where we were going. When we walked in, the woman at the desk said, "Oh, here he is! The blindfold boy!" and walked us back to the room where the cats were. He said, "I bet all my friends are waiting for me and something embarrassing is going to happen." Then we took the blindfold off and there were all these cats. Harley was surprised.
post #14 of 22

Glad you can come here to write and share your feelings.

It seemed like when the house or car was quiet and I was all alone, that's when the tears would start. It took me almost 1 1/2 yrs. to get past this feeling. You are not alone.

Thanks for sharing the story about your brother, Harley.

Take Care~

post #15 of 22


Yeah, I always start crying on long drives by myself. Also in church. People think I'm really, really moved by the sermon.

Before, I always had trouble crying and now people tell me "Oh, it's so good that you can finally cry." Like somehow it was all worth it. No thanks, I'd rather have Harley back and struggle with not being able to cry any day.
post #16 of 22


Well, I went and saw a counselor yesterday but I don't think it was the right thing for me. When I got there I suddenly didn't feel like telling everything to a stranger, so I just said stuff like "He was a nice guy" and "He had lots of friends" and "I'm sad." And the guy even asked why I was crying! Whatever. Because of insurance issues, he's the only one I can see...maybe it was just a bad idea. I guess if I want to talk to someone who completely lacks empathy I could talk to the rest of my family.
post #17 of 22
I have a sister that died when I was just six years old.

It is odd because at six, most children only think of an old person dying, yet my sister, then thiry-three months, died right in front of me.

Life is precious.

Do not waste it.

There is a hole in my family line-up where she was .
post #18 of 22
I just lost my sister on Jan. 22nd. A seemingly healthy 35 year old woman, and she just died. We had been out of town, and came back to find messages that she was in the hospital. It was all over by the time we got there. We are still awaiting autopsy results - don't know if it will help to know or not.

I notice that no one (including me, really), seems to acknowledge my grief. People ask me about her husband, or tell me my parents must really be suffering, and their grief seems to be more important than mine. I feel sometimes that I'm being selfish, that I should be doing more for her "real" survivors - does that make sense?

I have lived the last 2 weeks in a fog - I wonder when it will lift.
post #19 of 22
Hello Dear Ones...

Back in January of 1976, my sister's battle with Hodgkin's disease (that is what it was called then), ended peacefully in a hospital room. I was 17 and she was 27. She was my only sister.

Next year it'll be 30 years and that is just amazing to realize, and there are parts of the three years of her fight after diagnosis that still sting just as if it happened yesterday.

Her husband brought her back to the family home that Fall, because he had just landed a great job, and really needed to be have peace of mind that she was cared for and safe while he was at work, and in retrospect, I can see it was a very overwhelming time for him- of course it was- and he and my sis were so young and their whole married life was full of this disease.

At that time, however, it felt like he was dumping her...and dumping the whole thing on us, and while of course, we accepted and welcomed her back into the family home, it was very hard work taking care of her. My mother and father both worked, and I was a senior in highschool. I was pretty much the default caregiver since I was there most of the time.

I got to a point where I dreaded going home after school but I was just a kid and my sis filled my life with her needs. She was 10 years older than I, and was the good student, while I was the slacker, and she was the very talented one, while I was just lucky alot. She was neat and attractive, and had a Bachelor's degree about the time that I was a preteen mess and didn't understand school at all.

She was off to college when I was in second grade. We didn't know one another all that well, and she resented me because the improvement in my parents financial situation provided me with stuff that she had to work hard for. She thought I was spoiled, but in fact it was just luck of the draw as to when I was born and what my parents could afford by the time I wanted things like a guitar, which they bought me- used, but it was a great instrument and I had it a long time. She worked hard for such things with summer jobs in high school.

I so admired her, and tried to be like her, falling short in every way. And she died tragically. At her funeral there was nothing but red, American Beauty roses. We sang her favorite hymn, "Amazing Grace", and my best friend sat with me, as did my sister's best friend and we all held onto one another.

My parents were in their own world. They had nothing left after they lost my sister, for me. It was all they could do as individuals to grieve for the loss of their firstborn, how could I expect there would be anything left for me? I mean, I really saw clearly that they were not turning away from me in anger or anything, and I clearly understood their deep grief. I had total compassion for them, but it was a big disconnect between my parents and me.

I had to turn to the minister of the church in which I grew up, and that family became my source of comfort and support. There were some messed up things that happened with me and with my sister's husband...he just transferred his love for her, to me and it led to a year or so of emotional confusion in my life. Finally I was able to break away from him and his neediness.

A year and half later I met my husband and was married a few months later. I had incredible dreams where my sister came to me, and I still do, but it's very rare in recent years. I truly believe she has visited me through my dreams.

It is tragic that just as my sis and I both had realized we could be close and friends, she took a turn for the worse and I ended up being her caregiver instead of her sister/friend. That is a different relationship carried out lovingly of course, but there is a level of objectivity that must kick in to help a caregiver survive the daily efforts to give care preserving dignity also. Very hard for a highschool senior.

I quit school just a few months from graduation and hid the fact from my parents. I needed the socialization of school desperately and went to hang out, but didn't go to class. I felt as if the rug had been yanked out from under my life, as giving care to my sis was the center of it all very intensely for months. But even when I did go to school and hung out with my peers, I felt as if I had had this life-changing experience and that nothing was the same and there was distance between myself and the school experience, and also between myself and friends who seemed so immature to me.

It was all so long ago, and yet you see, that some things will never stop hurting, but the really big hurts DO begin to fade much later, and you don't even realize how far you've come in your grief till you can talk about it, or have a pleasant memory without completely falling apart. It does come to that place, but I still cry for the relationship I might have had with my sis...the one we were on the verge of. And still my eyes well up about that...even as I type this.

You will survive your great loss, but you won't realize till later how it made you a stronger, better and more compassionate person...but it will. The memories will buoy you up in unexpected ways...really they will.

I know everyone is different, and I honor that, but after nearly 30 years since my sis' death, I know her life and process and passing has had a huge part in the choices I have made in my life and with regard to many aspects and all to the good.

All my best to you all, as we all do our best to cope with our losses. Time really does help, memories are helpful, and support is necessary in the process of our grieving however that process unfolds for each of us.

My hand reaches out to comfort...
Joyce in the mts.
post #20 of 22
My sister Meaghan died on August 21 this summer. She was diagnosed with acute leukemia in early June. The same week she married her boyfriend right in the hospital - brave, hopeful soul. Her treatment seemed to be going well at first, but then things got bad, then very bad, and by mid-August they pronounced her incurable and gave her a week or two to live. Since I live in the Czech Republic and she was in Albuquerque, trying to reach her quickly was no easy matter. We booked the first available series of flights (Prague-London-NewYork-Cincinnati-Albuquerque) but missed a connection in Cincinnati due to bad weather. She died in the early hours of the morning while we were sleeping in a Holiday Inn near Cincinnati. She knew we were on the way, but we did not get to say goodbye and see her off. My mom asked if I wanted them to keep her body there in the room until we arrived, but I said no, she was gone and I wanted to remember her when she was beautiful.

Sometimes I feel like my grief is too little, other times it catches me unawares and I don't know what it's about. Dancing is dangerous - once I put my body into motion, all kinds of emotions come tumbling out. My period stopped for a few months after her death, and I thought I was pregnant (we have been TTC for a while), but it was just "stress" from the loss, as my gynecologist put it. Sometimes I think my feelings of sadness and loss are really self-pity and that I never really loved her enough. (We fought as children and often had a rocky relationship as adults, though we had reconciled everything during the summer.) Other times I find myself telling her in my mind to "get over it," "snap out of it," or "come back already, it's enough!" This was a long-conditioned pattern. She was often sickly as a child, but also feigned illness when it was convenient and I, usually healthy as a horse, would hide my little routine maladies and recognized when she was faking her stuff. (She admitted it to me if I pressed her, and in childhood solidarity I didn't tell Mom.) Well, we didn't know what was really ailing her - her mysterious immune disorders were caused by extra chromosomes that made her immune system go haywire. The oncologist said that even if they got her leukemia into remission it would have kept repeating until it got her in the end. So in a sense she was "lucky" that her worst suffering lasted only a summer, but who am I to say? What was, was, and whatever might have been better or worse can't be.

My heart goes out to those of you who lost a sib through murder or an accident - you had no time to prepare for it. And I also hate those stupid prattlings about "god's plan," "everything works out for the best," or "she's gone to a better place." Those who know me, know I'm not religous and spare me this crap, and I know the other can't help themselves and probably believe it all themselves, but MAN does it get under my skin and bug me!

I also feel awkward about the "do you have any sibs" question - Meaghan was the only one - and she hasn't ceased to EXIST, she's just no longer alive. I also get tangled up on grammar. Should I say "My sister and I have the same fondness for Hungarian sweets"? or "we HAD the same fondness..." which then makes it sound like I don't like the sweets any more? or we "HAVE only 50% of our alleles in common, so I was not a good match for a donor"?

I wear her clothes a lot. There aren't too many other women who would fit into them (we are/were??? both tiny) and somehow I feel that she would be glad to see them in use, walking around, getting sun and rain and wind and body warmth. In a way. She wasn't attached to things much. Oh, she was, sort of, but not attached to the attachments if you KWIM. She was a Buddhist, and approached her death with a wonderful poise that I was, and am in awe of.

I don't know what else to tell. I'll come back later.


p.s. She was 28, and I am now 32, since we seem to be sharing ages.
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