Wednesday, April 27, 2011

My Sister

Posted by Anonymous.

The world as I know it ended on a cold December night in 2006. At 10:15 pm. my baby sister, who I had watched for over ten years fight the nightmare that is Leukemia, died. It was like my own death was taking place; I shut down, I became withdrawn, severely depressed and angry. It wasn't just her death that haunted me, it was the way she died, full of pain and anger, not wanting to accept her fate. It was the cruelest experience of my life.

I had spent the months leading up to her death in denial. In all the years that she had Leukemia, I never once thought that she would die. I always knew that she could die at any moment, but i never really believed that she would. I know it was naive of me to be so optimistic, but in those ten years that she battled with the cancer, I thought my sister to be invincible - countless surgeries and infected ports, serious life-threatening circumstances never stopped her from fighting. Even when an irresponsible doctor botched a surgery and left her fighting for her life in what would be months of recuperating, she never lost hope, but she never fully recuperated either. She died of complications due to that surgery and from the cancer.

She was my everything. I lived and breathed for her and for all of a sudden for my whole world to be torn apart was more than I could bear. For months after she died, I would wake up in the middle of the night and tell myself that she was still in the hospital waiting for me to go see her. When she came home to die after they told her she only had four months to live, if that, she was in hospice. They had a nurse that would come to the house to make sure she was comfortable and wasn't in pain, but it didn't matter that they gave her medicine - she died in pain, it was never painless.

When she came home from the hospital to die, she was angry to say the least. She would cry and scream, she didn't understand why she had to die, why at sixteen her time was up. She who had never had the chance to have a real life because of her illness, who hung out with my friends who loved her because the kids at school didn't want to be friends with the girl who had cancer. Even though she was two years younger than me, she always seemed older. Maybe it was the fact that she never got to have a normal childhood that made her seem wise beyond her years. She didn't have time to think of petty things that other kids at her age thought of, not when she was constantly trying to stay alive.

I took a leave of absence from work to be with her. I withdrew from all my classes at college. I tried to keep going because I knew she would be proud of me. She looked up to me so much, and the last thing I wanted to do was disappoint her, but I couldn't stand to be away from her even for short periods of time. I always felt that if I left her, that she would die, and I would never be able to say goodbye or forgive myself for not being there. I became an insomniac; I was too worried and scared to go to sleep, I never knew if I was seeing her for the last time. It was torture to see her die slowly everyday. I couldn't stand to see it, but, at the same time, I couldn't stand to look away. Time was so precious, every moment i spent with her was precious.

She started to get worse - her body started shutting down, her organs began to die, she could no longer sit up in bed by herself. My mother and I would help her to the restroom. Years of steroids for pain had left her first using a walker and later in a wheelchair. If she would have lived, she would have needed a hip and both knees replaced. Three days before she died, a priest came to read her her last rites. We had to hold her up so that he could bless her. She was deteriorating so fast, the day before she had stopped talking. The last thing she ever said was my name and till this day, I don't know what it was that she wanted to tell me.

I know that my sister loved me, and I loved her more than anything, but losing her is something I will never be ok with. I've spent the last 3 1/2 years being depressed and unable to let go of the one person who truly understood me and who I couldn't live without. After her death, I became in a way a zombie. I stopped going out, I didn't want to go back to school, I kept working hoping it would take my mind off the pain, but it never did. I went back to work a month after she died, but I wasn't ready to go back. Everyone I knew was just sorry for me, but I didn't care, I just wanted her back. I just couldn't live in a world where my little sister didn't exist.

The worst part was dreaming of her every night. It would always be the same dream: me hanging out with her doing regular stuff like shopping or watching tv etc., normal things. And, to me, it was like she never died becuz I believed her to be alive. To everyone else, she was dead, but not to me -- she was alive in my dreams and how I wished that my dreams were reality. It wasn't until years later that I had a dream of her telling me that she was sorry that she had died and that she was ok that I realized that I had stopped living. I had become so depressed that I didn't know how to be me anymore. It was this dream that made me realize that all this time that I had spent dreaming of her, I was, in a way, preventing her from letting go, and I knew that by her telling me those things in my dream that she would never be able to if I didn't let go. As much as it pained me to not think about her everyday and miss her, I told myself that it was the right thing to do. The last thing I wanted to do was hurt her in death, and I couldn't allow my depression to get in the way of her being happy and at rest.

It was complete torture those four months after the doctors told us she wouldn't be here for christmas, and they were right. She died five days before xmas. It was the worst day of my life. After ten years of fighting, you'd think she would have won. The hardest part of losing her was not knowing if she was ok, where she was, whether she was still in pain. As someone who has never been religious, albeit somewhat spiritual, it was very hard to believe that she was ok. How could she be ok if she was dead?? There had to be some sort of explanation!! Why was she taken from me when she who was always so devout in her faith yet had suffered beyond her wildest dreams, how is it that god had allowed this to happen????

I don't think I'll ever understand why she had to die. There's no reason or explanation that's ever going to be good enough. I've come to terms with it in my own way. I'm glad that for 16 years I lived and got to be in the presence of an angel, and, even though she is gone, she will always be with me. I deal with my depression every single day, but I am no longer crippled by it. I take it for what it is, and I no longer feel like a zombie. For the first time in a long time, I feel like me again and that's something I will continue to work on everyday. I've been back to school for a year now. I'm going to be a nurse someday so that I can help all those children who suffer like my sister did.

To lose someone you love, whether a sister/mother/father/brother... is extremely hard, but I found that letting go is harder to do, and until recently, I never felt strong enough to really talk about her without breaking down. Hopefully this will inspire if not help others to do the same with their loved ones. It sounds very cliche, but life goes on whether you want it to or not, and what better way to honor the person that you've lost than by allowing yourself to move on as well.

I love you my vito.


Anonymous said...

I lost my sister Katie on 10-13-09 and my other sister Mickey on
12-25-10. They were both younger and i know sometimes it just takes your breath away. No one know the pain of losing a sister and can't even imagine it until it happens. They were my best friends and it is lonely without them. A husband and brothers are great but they don't understand the bond sisters have. It take a while to heal, and I'm still healing slowly.

Anonymous said...

My dear stepmom is in the final stages of lung cancer. It is a terrible thing to witness and my poor dad is a broken man right now. It is a journey that nobody should have to go on.

Anonymous said...

I ache for you, in your loss. It took courage for you to write this, to try to put the pain into words, when words can be so inadequate. The journey of grief is a hard one, and you will heal, though you can never " get over"losing someone. You find some peace, partly because you know they would want you to. I have suffered some crushing losses in the last few years, I thought some days , how can I feel this terrible, and still be alive? Why do I have to live through this? But living is what they cannot do now, although I believe they go to a special place, it's not here, it's not with us. And I want to live, to not disrespect their fight for life, not disrespect their memory by giving up. I want to reach a point where this climb becomes exhilirating instead of exhausting, where I can look at their pictures and smile. It will come, I am sure for all of us, who loved so much and lost so much.

Somewhere in Canada

Anonymous said...

I am so, so sorry for your loss. I watched my mother die of leukemia. Not the same as a sister, I know. But still. I wish you peace in whatever form it comes.

Anonymous said...

I know your pain, it was my brother and my life just isn't the same, the pain of his loss is ever present and so intense at times I see no point in going on. I wish you comfort, strength and courage, I do not offer you words of encouragement and "she would have wanted" etc there's no sense to it, I'm sure your sister wanted nothing more than to live, I am bitter and angry and so fucking sad.

I send you thoughts of peace and calm and hope that you get through today without crying xx

The Magickal Housewife said...

Geez, I am so sorry :( I lost my father to cancer, but that's totally different than a sibling. We all expect to lose our parents some day, but your parents weren't supposed to lose a child, nor you a sister...that's not the way its supposed to go. But then again, there are no rules.

I am an only child, so I cannot imagine what your loss feels like, but I am there with you. I felt your love and your pain in your writing.

You could write a biography about the two of you. I'd read it. I bet the whole world would read it. And it might also help you heal more as well as help others grieving for their brothers and sisters too.

My heart is with you :) And again, I am so sorry you had to go thru this.