My Sister had Bipolar and Now She is Gone and I can't help her...
by Kim Miller
My mom called me last night and told me that my sister, Monica, is dead. She said she fell from a second floor balcony. I have not spoken to my sister in seven years and she was 14 years younger than me. I was my mom's birthing coach and was there when Monica came into the world with wide open eyes that captured my heart. I joined the Navy in 1980 and asked my single parent mom to bring Monica and come live with me. They lived with me for eight years of my military service. Our last duty station was in Hawaii. I became my sister's mother because my mom was incapable of protecting her. When I was honorably discharged from the Navy I met someone and moved to Massachusetts and had a baby of my own. My sister always felt I abandoned her. My mom met a man who did not get along with Monica and Monica tried to commit suicide as a teenager. My mom sent her to live with our brother and even a karate instructor. Monica always wanted more from me than I could provide. I got married in 2000 and remained in touch with Monica with a very shaky sisterly relationship.
Seven years ago we had a huge fight and I felt she was not right to have a relationship with and I didn't want contact with her or our mom because it was interfering with my family and by then I had my daughter and son and my husband. Being brought up dysfunctional left me with only enough strength to care for my children and I could not bear relationships with my siblings or mother.
I am now lost and grieving. In 1986 our brother, Keith was killed in a car accident. Now Monica is killed from a fall in New York when she lived in Boston. I am confused as to whether it was an accident or suicide and my mom and brother won't speak to me. My mom told me that no one (meaning me) was welcome to the "Life Celebration of Monica" but she just wanted me to know she was dead. My brother refused to let me talk to my mom again.
I was comforted by my husband and children but still have a very deep deep pain...but don't know how much of it is guilt or just sorry for the loss of my little sister. I don't really know how to grieve. I had detached from my brother prior to his death too. I know that if she and I would have continued our toxic relationship she would have still died, but I don't know what to take away from this. I miss my kid sister who I protected when she was a child. I comforted her when she was crying in a closet at four years old because she said kids made fun of her speech. Her father was never there and my mom was a terrible mother.
I also regret not understanding bipolar better. I am back in school and plan to have psychology as my minor for my Fine Arts major. Monica had a Masters degree in education and I want to pursue my Masters as well. She loved education. What do I do with this? How can I fix the unfixable?