My sister died - she was my best friend

by Linda

My sister, Carol died in November 2011. She was 53. She was beautiful and she was my best friend. Carol was diagnosed with Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma in 2007. ALCL is very rare. Carol endured years of retched chemotherapy and radiation; so much so that she couldn't get out of bed; she spent weeks at the Hospital in isolation. And the cancer still came back. Again, months of chemotherapy, stronger and more frequent. It almost killed her. But this woman, my sister, my hero would not give up. She couldn't eat, couldn't sleep, had to leave a job that she loved. Gave it all up to put all her energy into fighting the cancer. And oh, she prayed - with every ounce of her being she told God that she wanted to live. She never complained. Not even when she was having bone marrow tests on a regular basis; not when she couldn't eat for weeks on end - none of her favorite things, no longer able to spend time in her beautiful kitchen cooking the fabulous meals that her husband loved. Nope, her nourishment came from a tube in her stomach. And then she had emergency surgery - her femur cracked from years of chemo. But she survived. She refused to give up. Even after she had a tear in her intestines due to so much diarrhea. That was a mild inconvenience in Carol's eyes. Then she fell one day. She was dizzy. She cut her leg. This was extremely dangerous for her because she was so weak. But after a week in the hospital, she was back at it. Always fighting. Then in 2010, she had a stem cell transplant. That time failed. The damn cancer came back. My older sister was lucky enough to be a perfect match and donated her stem cells to Carol. I wish it had been me. But for about a month after that, Carol was ok. She started gaining weight. And all the while, we never stopped praying. I promised everything to God to let her live -- begged and pleaded. Then one day in November, Carol developed a low grade fever. She was two hours from away so the decision was made to bring her by ambulance to a local hospital. Within twenty four hours, my beautiful, smart, funny, courageous sister died from sepsis. As quickly as that she was gone. And I was to see her that weekend. She was taken from me and I miss her more than words can express. Every day is a struggle just to get up in the morning, to go to work, to care about anything at all. She was cancer free when she died. The love I have for her is such that my heart is aching and there are days that I still can't accept that she is gone. She was the light of my life, always there for me, no matter what. She was my safe haven. I miss her so much and she fought so hard, and I am angry because I just don't understand why. I haven't prayed since I lost her, and I don't think I ever will again. No matter what anyone says. The pain I feel is raw and deep. It's cold and dark. I miss her voice, her smile, her hugs and her love. I will never know anyone more special. The only consolation is that if anything is there after we die, she is with my other sister, Diane, who died in a car accident when she was 26. It's been over 30 years and I still miss her. Carol should have lived. She went through hell. She never once thought she would die, and neither did I. She had so many plans. She was generous to the point of ridiculous. I mean, she was the best there was. And she is gone.

Comments for My sister died - she was my best friend

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Jul 23, 2013
Losing my sister
by: Linda

Dear Kathleen - I read your letter and I want to sincerely thank you for commenting and sharing your story. I cried when I read your letter. Please accept my heartfelt sympathy, as I do know how you feel! And I would never wish this feeling on anyone. Your sister sounds like a lovely and courageous person, as do you. I know I will never have an answer to all of the "why's" that I have but have have taken some comfort from all of the wonderful people on this site. It takes a lot to share such gut-wrenching grief. When I read how you feel, on the outside of things, I know how you feel. It has made me even more introverted but I know that my friends and colleagues mean well, but I am not good at the small talk we have in order for them to sidestep talking about my loss. But my sister is with me every day, and I miss her in so many ways. My patents, who are in their 80s are so lost and desolate. I do my best to comfort them. I am certain that your sister left you with many fond memories, and I wish you peace from having those. I am so sorry that she suffered. Carol (my sister) had big plans and she accomplished much during her short time here. I saw a rainbow the other day and smiled when I thought it could be from her. She certainly brightened up all of our lives! Again thank you and all of the other posters for your kind words. It means a great deal to me.

Jul 23, 2013
Losing my sister
by: Doreen U.K.

Kathleen I am sorry for your loss of your sister. You are not having a pity party. "having a pity party" should never be used when facing grief. You have been through so much sorrow and if people don't understand then you need to place them far away from you till you are able to feel better. It doesn't matter how long this takes. If you start worrying about other people and how they will see you then you will run yourself into the ground. FOCUS on yourself and what you need to do for yourself. You have a husband and focus your energies on the both of YOU. Soon you will find you move forward better because you are not worrying about how other people are going to think about you? You are not pushing people away if you are subdued and don't want to talk or socialise. JUST BE YOURSELF. Let people take you as your are. If they can't then you don't need them. People will come back into your life at the appropriate time. Grief is not something you get over. It is something we are struggling to GET THROUGH. I have 5 siblings and couldn't bear to go through what you have gone through.
I lost my husband of 44yrs. to cancer 14 months ago and I still have tough days and will have this on going till I can feel I can move forward and none of us knows when this will be as it is different for everyone. I had a tough cancer journey with my husband. My sister understands and is so supportive. Even if you have one person who understands it is so healing and supportive to you. I am blessed here to have 2 sisters who are with me all the time in support and understanding. This is what we all need. Sometimes counsellors can be so beneficial to work with us when grief is hard or we get stuck in grief. We just need a little assistance to help unblock something in us that is stopping us from moving forward. I wish you Peace and Comfort in your grief and hope the days ahead will being you people who will be there for you and allow you to be yourself.

Jul 22, 2013
Losing my sister...
by: Kathleen

I lost my sister to colon cancer in October, 2012. She realized something was wrong in June 2011, and from there she entered the hospital and after 4 days of just being left in her room - without any tests, her cancer growth burst, so she was sent to surgery. The long story short is that b/c it burst, all the infections went through her body - and due to that, they could not do anything as far as chemo. In the end, the infections finally took her life. I look back on all she went through and in the end she died anyways. During her year and half illness, my entire focus was naturally on her. And life goes on, despite what one is dealing with. The closeness I had with my grandchildren was not the same, as I had not spent any real time with them. When I wasn't at the hospital, I was at home doing my crying and praying. Now today, I feel distanced in a strange way from my family. It's no one's fault, but I feel like everyone else is still very close, and I have that strange feeling of being on the outside looking in. I do understand that the relationship I had with my sister is one that no one could possibly understand pain I feel - and I don't know if anyone else on this forum understands, but I know that even in my grief, I somehow have to look like I am getting better and make the effort to try and get close to everyone again - and I just don't feel like I have the energy to do it. Losing my sister is like I lost a part of myself, and I will have to fake feeling like I am better, which I am not. I always feel like people are walking on eggshells around me, b/c there is an invisible wall that I can't seem to get through. During my sister's illness, I think everyone felt uncomfortable around me b/c I was in so much pain, I guess I looked 'angry' - but I really wasn't - I was always stressed out, so fearful that something was going to take her life 'today' or 'tomorrow', etc. It's like living in constant dread and fear. I hope some of this at least makes sense - I've wanted to write on this group, b/c what others have said, has helped me so much to read. I say, "This person truly understands" - and that is so rare. Who can understand, but those that have gone through this nightmare? Yet, I know that people - not their fault - do expect you to go back to how you were -especially after 9 months, which it is now. But I am not there, yet I have to find a way to break through this invisible wall, or I will end up pushing people away, as I am still so vulnerable, and in that state, I tend to be very 'touchy' and always think people don't really want to be around me. Thanks be to God for my husband who has been my greatest support...sorry for what sounds like a pity-party post. I read somewhere that people who seem angry are really just people in need of love, and that totally spoke to me. Thanks for reading this, and my apologizes for the length. God bless you all who have helped me...I pray for you and am so grateful to have found this site. xo

Jun 14, 2013
my sister died-she was my best friend
by: silver

I have been where you are dear Linda.My baby sister(the youngest of 6 & 8 yrs younger than me)died Nov 1 2001.Although it's been 12 yrs this yr I still miss her a lot.She would have been 56 this month.She was 44 when she died of a severe asthma attack.Since I was almost 8 when she was born,I helped bathe her,dress her,feed her & babysit her. When she was old enough,I took her to & from the school bus.When we grew up,we both had 4 kids.Both of us had bad first marriages and 7 yrs between our 2nd and 3rd kids.We both love crafting and reading.We were each others confidant and shoulder.We were closer to each other than to any of the other siblings.What I can tell you is that it does get easier to handle.You will never stop missing her.I remember her by talking about her to others and remembering all the fun times we had.She was such a sensitive soul.Her husband and kids and I still talk and see each other when we can.I like to think she is looking down on us, smiling,watching over us till we meet again.GOD bless you and give you strength and peace.I keep all of us who grieve in my prayers.

Jun 14, 2013
Dear Linda,
by: Pat in Missouri

Your story touched me deeply. My fiance' died in Sept., 2011 from sepsis. Prior to his illness, I had never heard of sepsis. I now know it is often a hospital-born infection. I truly believe he got it in the hospital. He was there for pneumonia in June. Only a month later, he was readmitted with full-blown sepsis. It hit every organ in his body. He fought very hard to live. He had 2 heart attacks, while in the hospital, and 2 bouts on a ventilator. After 10 weeks, he was well enough (so the doctors said) to leave and go to rehab to help rebuild his strength. He was in the rehab facility for just 9 days and died. He was never able to stand more than 45 seconds. That sepsis literally took the life out of him. His body couldn't fight anymore.

I think that may be what happened to your dear sister. After all the torture she endured, while fighting cancer, her body probably just could not fight anymore. There is a limit to what our bodies can take. I can tell Carol was a real fighter. I also lost my beloved brother in 2011. He fought terrible pain, as a result of a birth defect, that eventually led to both of his legs being amputated. He lived to be 60 and his body could not take anymore. He had a massive heart attack and died suddenly.

I keep trying to find some meaning in my losses, as I am sure you do too. Just 5 weeks after my brother died, my father also died. He was 90, but was not sick. I think he died of a broken heart. I think that God gives us a time period on earth, then the body dies, but the spirit is still here. I really believe that because I hear and sometimes even feel the touch of my lost loved ones. As St. Francis of Assisi said, "For it is in dying that we are born to eternal life." When my Frank died, I was called and was just told he was found unresponsive in his bed and was taken to the ER nearby. I went immediately, but when I got there, he was gone. I sat with his warm body until it started to go cold and I saw angels come and take him just over the trauma room door. It was very real. This had only happened for me 1 other time, when I had a near death experience my-self.

I hope you will not give up on God. We often do not know why we have to deal with death, but God knows. I think your sister had more than her share of pain and struggle. God has given her peace. In time, you will understand that. I know it isn't easy. I'm still struggling with it too. You are so blessed to have had such a wonderful sister. I send you many hugs. Take care. Pat

Jun 13, 2013
My sister died - she was my best friend
by: Doreen U.K.

Linda I understand how you feel about losing your sister to cancer and your other sister to a car accident some 30yrs. ago. I understand your pain of loss but I don't understand losing a sibling. I have 5 siblings and would hate to lose any of them.
I lost my husband of 44yrs. to cancer 13 months ago and this is the hardest loss ever. I sent every God channel requests for prayers and this is the only reason my husband lived 3yrs.39days with an aggressive cancer. I felt fear and panic at the same time. My husband did not get a healing I begged God to let him live. When he died I felt responsible for perhaps not having enough FAITH for God to Heal him. This is such an assault to my mind and I can't get past my anger. I was angry with God for a long time and still do at times utter the odd cry to him when I watch the God channel and watch so many people get HEALED from cancer and other illness's. I keep asking God. "Did I lose him because my Faith was not strong enough?" So I do understand how you feel when you say that you won't ever pray again. God understands your pain. What gets me through is when God laid on my heart how Jesus felt when he uttered to God. "My God! My God! Why have you forsaken me." If the Son of God could feel FORSAKEN by His Father (according to purpose) then he knows how we feel. Jesus had to suffer death so we could live. WE have life as a Gift, but we also receive Death because of SIN. Understanding this does not stop us from feeling let down by God and feeling angry. It is when we Heal which is often years, only then can we find our way back to God who is the only person who can Comfort and Heal us from our loss. Because God gives life and He takes it back. The real Gift is getting our loved one's back again when Jesus returns for us. Death will be destroyed forever and we will never have to suffer the pain of cancer and other illnesses. We will reign with God forever. But it does HURT every day living without our loved ones. It feels like an eternity of suffering for us left to live on. My husband had a horrendous cancer journey and I understand how you felt seeing your sister go through this and feel so helpless to help her. WE have our limitations and can only do our best and I believe you did your best. Hold onto the HOPE. You will be reunited with both your sister's one day. For now I wish you Comfort and Peace in your Grief.

Jun 12, 2013
I am so sorry for your loss Linda
by: Nancy

It has been a while since I have allowed myself to even visit this site. I have been stuck in my own grief and usually it has helped to come to this site and listen to the stories of others, and even sometimes write words of encouragement (I hope that is what I do) to those who are hurting. However, being stuck in my own stuff has caused me to isolate from everyone. Linda, your story, is so touching and hits so many familiar parts when it comes to telling my story about my sister Sharon who passed in January 2012. I also have a sister Diane who passed, and there were so many others. But it is my relationship with Sharon that touched me, when you spoke of your relationship with your sister Carol. Sharon, like Carol, was a fighter. She saw the good, in everything, and everyone. She was never ready to give up and never ready to leave any of us. No matter how many times Sharon got knocked down by the things life threw at her, she just dusted herself off, and went back, stronger and more determined the next time....she sounds so much like your sister Carol, when you speak of her.
I hope you realize that you had a gift in having been able to spend as much time with Carol as you did...she has left you physically...but that is all...she is always..round about will be reminded of the music that you enjoyed together..the movies.. you shared..the pictures of the past..the memories you song or dance...don't let them ever leave you..pass them on to your children.. remember them with your picnics.. family special events... she will let you know by a kiss on the cheek..when the wind blows by.. or a sudden rainbow.. or a bird.. stealing some food... or a butterfly..landing on your arm... watch for these signs.. and remember them.. you will know.. because she will want you to know that she is round about you. She will want you and others to know that she is okay.. and all is well. She loved you, and will continue to do so...and so..continue to love loving her and all those her loved her..
Your friend Nancy
Winnipeg, Canada

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