Sisters: The connection

by Terri
(Texas)

My 29 year old daughter recently passed away, after a sudden illness called Bacterial Endocarditis. This was a devastating event that occurred in our family. I cannot begin to express how much of a wonderful young lady she was. Religious, believed in God, hard working (50-60 hours a week), devoted to her family and friends. She was divorced, with two children, one that she gave up for adoption, long story from a short mistake as a teenager...which she did the right thing for herself and the child at the time. But went on in life to accomplish a great deal for herself. She completed college and had recently gone back to further her degree, and was only 1 semester of completing a second, advanced degree in civil engineering. Regardless of all her busy work in her life, she attended church regularly, believed in the Lord, and lived her life accordingly--giving everything she was, had to those that she loved, had in her life. She was a true friend to those that knew her. She could cook, oh my Lord, she could cook. A natural talent of hers that was amazing. She made her own recipes and LOVED cooking for the people in her life. It gave her true joy to make others happy. She was smart...I can't express how proud I was/am of her. She and her youngest sibling--a 22 year old sister, were extremely close. Very close, and my youngest daughter--the 22 year old, is having an extremely hard time dealing with the death of her sister. I have tried everything I know to be supportive of her, while dealing with the loss of my other daughter as well. I have put my grief aside to help my youngest daughter. She is not doing well, while she is "functioning" in life, working and doing what she needs to on a daily basis, she is not sleeping, not eating well--lost at least 20 pounds...of which she is not a large girl anyway...she is 5'2 and weighed about 120, and now down to about 102. She was married, but has now left her husband, because he could not understand her loss...and she did not give him the opportunity too understand it, she left him. She is supporting herself financially, but that is all that she is doing. She was in college to become a dentist/surgeon, but has now dropped out. She is working as a waitress...while it is supporting her, not saying anything about waitresses, because I used to do that while in college as well, but she is giving up. She has twice taken medications that were not prescribed to her to help her "sleep" she says. Because she cries at night, thinking of her loss and her sister. I have talked to her through the night, during these crying stages, because she will call me. She is very open with me, and tells me what she has done--taken medications. I am a psychologist, and have been one for quite some time, but I can tell you, she knows this...and she doesn't want me to "counsel" her, which I have not...I have just been her mother and tried to help in anyway that I can. But I can tell you it is getting worse. I have begged, offered to pay, for her to seek professional help, and she refuses. She is not "commit-able" at this time, because she knows what to say...and in our state, in order to be committed, you have to be a harm to yourself or others. I want to help her, but I am lost at this time, can't see past what is happening in my own family. I don't want to risk "not" getting a call from her in the middle of the night, crying, about thinking about her sister and what is not anymore, but what I fear is her taking some medication that she doesn't know what it really is and never waking up again. The other night, thanks to Thanksgiving...as I said before, my older daughter was an amazing cook and always cooked during the holidays, she called me at 4:30 in the morning after taking 15 neurontin: Gabapentin, and while I know that would not take her life, I am concerned that she is willing to take anything at this time to help sleep. I have begged her to go to a psychiatrist to get the medications that she needs for grieve and depression, but she will not do it. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated at this time. She denies suicide...she just wants to get a good nights sleep. She has not slept well, nor is she really functioning. She has started drinking some...on occasion, but I want her to develop coping skills. She has never dealt with death before in her life, let alone someone so close to her. I am so close to her, I cannot think of other things to do for, with, or how for her. I continually support her calls, her crying spells, her thoughts and love for her sister, but I am so concerned that she is sinking farther into depression, she will end up committed somewhere before all this is over.

Comments for Sisters: The connection

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Aug 13, 2012
Update
by: Terri

I just wanted to thank everyone again for all the support and help on here. I did get her those books, and they did seem to help her some. As for her, she has progressed from denial through anger, and is now in grief. She is sleeping well. She is with another man now, for the past 6+ months, and she is pregnant. She never thought she could get pregnant...as she was a premie herself. Well, she is 23 years old and pregnant. She is SO happy about this. She states and I believe that she believes the reason that she is pregnant is her sister went to Heaven and told God just how much she wanted a baby, (according to her words) "Because maybe I wasn't praying right. But *** (sister) when to Heaven and told him in person, because she can be persuasive when she wants to be!" I am so excited for her to have this child. She said, "no matter how much I miss my sister, life goes on." And she believes that her sister made her case to God, and now she is pregnant to have someone to love just as much as she loved her sister. I know it has been quite a while since I have posted updates, and for that, I apologize. But as you can see, while time has not healed anything, anyone it has helped in easing our minds at the loss of someone so dear to us. Terri

Nov 26, 2011
Replies
by: Terri

Julie, thank you so much for the book, and I will get it for her. She loves to read and it may really help at this point. I just have her the book "90 minutes in Heaven" hoping that would help with some hope for her.
Trish, yes--I do know all about the sleep deprivation and how it affects the body. She does as well, but getting her through this has been extremely hard. I have, will continually encourage her to see a doctor or a psychiatrist. I want her to rest so she can have help getting through this hardest part of the grief. She is still in denial and shock. She has not accepted this death as of this time, and her father and I can only continually be supportive of her through this. Thank you, sincerely for the encouragement. As for my grief, there will be time in the future I am more than sure of that for my own feelings, but at this moment, I have to concentrate on her, as I know I could not bear the loss of another child. I am doing ok..not good, but ok. I just want for her to get the rest she needs for now, so she can handle the processing of this event in our lives. Thank you all so much for reading\listening. That meant the world to me!

Nov 26, 2011
One more thing
by: Julie

Terri,
I have collected a whole host of sibling loss books- my absolute favorite is by T.j. Wray called SURVIVING THE DEATH OF A SIBLING: Living Through Grief When an Adult Brother or Sister Dies. It's full of interviews of other siblings. My copy is highlighted all over the place. There were things I was feeling that I wasn't sure how to explain until I read it in someone else's words. I can't tell you how many times my grief was "skipped over" by well meaning people who would immediately ask how my parents were. It's not an attention thing, but more an acknowledgement that I am grieving horribly too. Get that book for her- you can buy it used on amazon for about four dollars. It's such a help.

Another fantastic one: The Empty Room: Understanding Sibling Loss by Elizabeth DeVita-Raeburn. Good luck. I will be thinking of you.

Nov 26, 2011
Not Sleeping Is Not Good
by: TrishJ

Terri~
God bless you at this difficult time. As a medical professional you have to know how important sleep is to the human body. I went through (continuing) horrific sleep issues after my husband passed away. If she isn't sleeping the grief has probably progressed to depression. She has to go to a qualified physician and has to be monitored and given the correct medication to help her sleep. Without sleep her heart, her brain, nothing is working properly. I often said, "I would kill for a good nights sleep." Your mind starts playing terrible tricks on you and your judgement is clouded.
She can't be taking as many OTC medications as she wants to. You can overdose on over the counter as well as prescription medications and the results can be deadly.
You can try and comfort her be there for her all you want but with sleep deprivation she is not hearing you. What about you? I know it's hard to think about you when you are so worried about your daughter but you have to. You have to be kind to yourself.
I hope the best for you. Make her go to a doctor. Once she starts sleeping she will feel so much better and then you can concentrate on your own grief.
Take care. It seems overwhelming right now but with God's help it will get better.

Nov 26, 2011
Siblings- always connected.
by: Julie

Hi. I read these blog posts almost every night before I go to bed, but I can't reply on my phone so I got up to reply to you. I lost my younger brother in April and it has been absolutely devastating to me. I am 30 and he was 24- we were extremely close. He named me his power of attorney because we knew each others thoughts and understood. I wish there was some way to get you my email address without posting it to the whole world, because I would talk to her or be a way for her to vent if she wanted. I have found this website to be extremely helpful. We had s health blog that chronicled my younger brothers 8 month battle with a highly aggressive cancer and I found that writing on there after he passed was too hard on everyone. I would get emails and phone calls the next day of people thinking I was suicide when really, i just needed to get some thoughts out. It's scary that she's been taking those pills to sleep. I'm also narcoleptic, so my sleep-wake cycle was even more screwed up from Shawn's passing. Have you suggested she see just her regular doctor? She might be thinking that you are suggesting she only see another psychiatrist and might take that personally. Depression is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of, but some people feel highly embarrassed by the thought that they can't control their own minds. I know I did when I was first diagnosed in college. Some sleep meds might do her some good, but only if she can take them as she is supposed to. I only hope that she can find refuge soon- feels like she's trying to run away from everything that was her old life. Good luck to you- keep writing on here, and all I can suggest is to take time to grieve yourself.

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