Most of my readers know I lost my sister in October. It was sudden after we all learned the extent of how sick she really was. (Including her)
All people mourn in different ways. Some people hide their sorrow in a bottle or a glass of wine and others like myself dive into work and children to keep their mind going long enough to make it through the day. Often when my kids are in bed for the night I have my moments fueled by quiet, my thoughts and always a song that reminds me of her bright spirit.
My sister was 15 years my senior and when I was 18 months old and extremely sick the only person who could comfort me was her. This really held true for most of my life.
She was always frail and petite — it was just what we were all used to. We knew she was sick but it wasn’t something we talked about or shared. No one knew what the exact diagnosis was and most of us were just too polite to pry. It wasn’t until the end of July when my sister got increasingly ill that I laid in bed with her and my daughter and we talked like old times.
I knew at that moment I needed to become her advocate. And I did. I jumped to action demanding the best of care, options and argued for hours with the hospital and her insurance company. The way they treat terminally ill people with sub-par insurance is absolutely disgusting, but that is a whole post for another day!
It wasn’t until two months into it and finally having her in a hospital capable of treating her that we learned there was no coming back or recovery for her. There was no course of treatment at this point — it was just too late. I still haven’t come to terms that there was nothing we could have done… It has been five months since she passed and I still refuse to believe it.
This is also around the time that my sister really lost the ability to speak or do much of anything. She could get out words sometimes — but the last time she spoke around me she had asked my mom to have me bring Addison to the hospital — her last words to me were “I love that beautiful baby”
She could squeeze your hand to make a point, and that is how it was till Mid-September when she slipped into a coma she never woke from. During all this I kept telling myself there is a reason for it all and in the end she won’t be in anymore pain. There were days you could just see how much physical pain she was in despite the hospice pain management.
It was a bright and sunny morning on October 7th. I had gotten up in my usual Friday morning routine. Dressed the kids and got them read to head out to school. I dropped Camden off off, went to Dunkin’ Donuts for a coffee and drove home. On mornings I had my babysitter I would typically pick her up and head to the hospital where she would watch Addison and Benjamin while I would sit with my sister. This morning J wasn’t available for some reason or another so I headed home armed with my coffee and a sleepy baby who would enable me to tackle my to-do list like always.
It was around 10:15am just shy of two hours before I had to go and pick up Camden and my phone rang.
When I saw the called ID with the hospital’s name on it my heart sank because I knew what the call was. It was my mother who does not have a cell phone using the hospital line to call me and tell me my sister had passed. Before I even picked up the phone I was hysterical as was my sweet mother on the other end. He words couldn’t even come out and we both just sat and cried for what seemed like an eternity. In reality it was roughly a two minute phone call.
I wiped my eyes and called my husband.
I was useless.
I was a wreck.
And all I could do was get to my sister. I needed to get to the hospital. I needed to kiss her. I needed to say goodbye.
He called his boss and left work and we both went to pick up our oldest from school. By this time we were late.
As my husband walked into his pre-school which is in the basement of a church — the church bells started ringing. As I sat on the ground of the parking lot and looked into the sky I could see so clearly through the bright afternoon sky. The clouds almost parted and the sun shined so warm on my face. I could see her. As insane as I may sound — I could see her flying up to be the angel she truly was meant to be.
In my head I still needed to get to the hospital but in reality it was just too late. She wasn’t in her room anymore, my mother had gone home and Dawn was alone. Off to the the cold funeral home. Alone.
My biggest regret to this day was not making it to her in time to say goodbye.
I wanted my sister to be free.
I wanted her to finally be at peace after being so sick for so long and having so many ups and downs. One year she would be perfectly fine — healthy and having a baby and at the blink of an eye her life was coming to an end.
Death is something final that I refuse to acknowledge. I still cannot wrap my head around the fact that she is not coming back. I try to call her, I leave her messages on her facebook page. I just can’t let go.
Some have and others are trapped in grief. Like my mother.
I wish I could free her just like my sister was freed of the pain she lived in.
It is so selfish of me to want her here with us. Because I know she lived in pain for so many years.
I own my selfishness because *I* was not ready to give up my sissy.
I was not ready for my kids to say goodbye to their fun Auntie Dawn.
But I guess it is something we all need to learn to accept at some point in our lives as we grow old ourselves.
Now I just want to help my mother.
How do you help someone to grieve the loss of their daughter?
There just are no words. I see her and some days she is just an empty shell going through the motions.
I just want to hug the shit out of her and show her how much she is loved.
I just want her to be free.
More from living