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18 months since my sister died and I cannot move forward

Posts: 1
Joined: Jan 2013

My sister died from Hodgkin's 18 months ago and I feel stuck in grief. My sister was my best friend in the world, but we were a very close family over all, and I see my family members navigating their way through the grief process in a way I cannot seem to do. I am consumed with guilt and loss, and incredulity that this is my life. That this is real. I am haunted by watching my vibrant, healthy sister wither away and die at 31. I feel guilty because in the last several months of the disease she refused to discuss death or even her illness very directly, and she was very upset with me for trying to maintain our typical level of intimacy and friendship. Then, the day she died was unexpected, even within hospice, and I live in a different state and was not visiting until two days later. When I got the call she had died, I had just left the Gap where I have been buying m,y first maternity clothes. Yes, I was pregnant with my first child when she died.


I think my problem is the reality that I cannot get closure. I cannot talk to her, I cannot resolve anything. On top of missing her incredibly intensely, this drives me crazy. Has anyone found success is getting closure after losing a loved one where you did not get the "deathbed goodbye" conversation? I am seeing a counselor but I struggle with this every single day.

grandmafay's picture
Posts: 1639
Joined: Aug 2009

As we grow older, we have many losses. I have come to believe that there is no such thing as closure. There is only acceptance. As one of my 90+ friends suggested, the pain of the loss matures and mellows. It doesn't go away, but we learn to live with it. That takes time and sometimes help. Have you considered counseling Or joining a grief group? They are valuable tools to help us find a way forward. You now have a child to care for. Your sister will always be in your heart, and you can share her with your child. Please take care of yourself and your family. We all face the woulda, coulda, shouldas after the death of a family members, but guilt is really a wasted emotion. I am sure that your sister loved you. Her choice not to discuss death and possibly her fears, was her choice. You respected that. Good for you. Now, talk with your dr. about getting some help to deal with your ongoing grief. Also know that each of us must go through the grief process in our own time and way. Take care, Fay

Posts: 678
Joined: Apr 2010

I have just lost a 40 year old daughter after one year of heart wrenching back and forth hospital and Doctors' visits.  My heart hearts, my stomach aches and my whole life seems hopeless sometimes.  But I know that this is all temporary.  18 months is not a long time, you are still in that guilt and grieving mode for your beloved sister.  One question I have for you.  How many people do you know that have died and all of their relatives were there to say goodbye?  I am sure not many.  Stop being so hard on yourself.  Your sister would not want to see you like this and most of all, you are a young mom and your baby will certainly feel the sadness if you continue like this.  Believe me I know it is easier said than done, but just try harder for your baby's sake.  Think of your little one and remember if you get sick from grief, your little one will feel the pains.  So please,  try your best to move on.  My husband fight with me all the time when he sees me crying, I thought he was insensitive, but he told me that it breaks his heart to see me like this.  Big hugs darling and be strong and healthy for the little one.

Posts: 1489
Joined: Aug 2010

mmc82: there are a lot of words of wisdom from the people who have already posted.  They are right on the money.

Every death of a loved one has its own dynamics.  You said you are seeing a counselor and that is a good thing.

I believe your loss is particularly difficult because you were pregnant when it occurred.  In many ways we are especially vulnerable to damage emotionally during a pregnancy.  You need to recognize the depth of that.  Your grieving is not going to follow any given pattern any more than anyone else's grieving does.  Because of the pregnancy and the roller coaster of emotions that happen during a pregnancy yours will probably take a more unique route, perhaps longer and more winding.

Not being there when your sister passed, especially if it is something you had hoped to do, is an added dimension.

Recognize that getting closure is going to be something very personal and tailored to you: do you need to do an activity you and your sister used to do together - shopping at a particular mall, walking in the neighborhood, seeing friends together - try that.  Also try this: get a journal and write a farewell letter to your sister.  As you think of things you would like to say to her, write it in the journal.  Include anything and everything you wish - this is a private exchange with your sister - the one who is always with you in your heart and mind.  Release all the grief and sadness, loss and pain to her in the journal.  Use it daily, weekly, monthly - however often you think of something you want or need to say to her.

Your use of the journal will likely decrease over time - let it and don't feel guilty about it.  It will simply mean you have come to terms with your loss.

Let us hear how you are doing.

Let us hear from you.

Posts: 678
Joined: Apr 2010

This is such wonderful advice.  I am also in great grief over the loss of my daughter.  Thank you, I will try the journal, if I can muster up the courage.  Right now, I just want to be alone--uhm don't really know.

Posts: 1489
Joined: Aug 2010

Lot of conflicting, confusing emotions.  Take your time and let us know how you are doing.


I am so sorry for your loss.

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