Tag Archives: death of sibling



For those of you who have experienced the loss of someone close to you, you will understand what I am writing about.     It never goes away, at least not for me.

Fourteen years ago today my kid sister died at the young age of 38.   She had been diagnosed just ten months before with Ovarian Cancer.   I’m not sure what hurts the most.   The journey through it, where we did our best to comfort her and bring her to any treatment allowed, or the endless missing.  I think it’s the missing.

Fourteen years and I still cry when I acknowledge this.  But if I don’t, it makes its way through illness or pain, so it’s best to nod to the memory than deny it, at least for me.

At 37 she and her partner had just bought a house and had moved in just two weeks prior to the emergency surgery that was previously scheduled a week or two later.   I remember it all so well, and I’m trying hard to not go there today.  To just honor her, and tell you what a great person she was.

I can tell you that she worked very hard and knew how to play.  She had a boat, snowmobiles, a toy for every season.   She loved to fish, to play sports, and was a natural athlete.   She had an old soul, I think about this often, wondering if this played a part in her short life.  A natural observer, she was always warning me when to shut my big trap, or when I had gone past “obnoxious” she called it.   Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion.  It’s one that I experience a lot when I think about her.

One would think that after fourteen years you wouldn’t on occasion say to yourself “I have to call her, and tell her this!”    It happens less each passing year, but it still happens.

She was my dads bud.  I mean that with every part of my being.  She loved hockey, she loved fishing and shared these things with our dad.   We all share memories of this with her.   It was rather comical last year when my father admitted one day “Okay, Darlene was my favorite”.   The three of us laughed until tears came out of our eyes.  “What?”  “I’m sorry” he said.   “Um dad, we have known this FOREVER!”    I think he really believed it would shock us.   NOT.   I was sitting beside her on her couch the day she learned she was not going to recovery from this, and she called dad to tell him.  “I’m sorry, dad, I’m so sorry”.

So it was on this day that my, our lives changed.  For years I described things as “happened before she died, or happened after she died”.   I didn’t mean to.  It was just a game changer.    My life changed.  I changed.

I remember asking my cousin Marie, who came down to sit with me just hours after I learned she had died “How am I supposed to stop loving her?”   “You never will, Donna” she said.   How did she know?    It was through my sisters death and living life without her that I learned, love doesn’t stop just because someone you love died.   Nor does life stop, as cruel and vulgar as it seems at the time.   “How can the birds still sing?  How can people laugh, how can anything go on when my life has just come to a screaching halt?”   But it does.  But I have learned something beautiful within all the sadness and that is that love doesn’t ever stop, for me it continued and miraculously grew and still does, all these years later.

So on this day, I acknowledge that hope changes.   At first you pray for a cure, you pray for treatment to work, and then when that stops working, you pray for strength and a new doctor, another treatment, and more.   That is until you realize the suffering is going on too long, and you start to pray for God to be merciful with her, with them.  Please, take her soon.   Yes, hope changes.

I miss you every day.  There hasn’t been a day in fourteen years you’ve been gone that I don’t think of you.  You are part of me, you always will be.    I can still close my eyes and see your face, the little tiny mole above your eyebrow, and see that beautiful smile that radiated wherever it was shown.

Time does teach us how to coexist with such loss, but it doesn’t heal the broken heart.  I think because even when you pray for an end to the pain, and there is relief when that happens, the missing?  It never stops.


(end note:  I wrote this and posted it on 4/8 but for some reason it’s showing the 9th which I find interesting, because I actually found out about it just minutes after midnight on the 9th)




A decade later …


It has been 10 years this week since my kid sister, Darlene, took her last breath.   It seems like a life time since I have seen her, but just yesterday, the trauma.    I hear so often that time heals.   I don’t agree.   A large part of my heart was ripped out, it has never healed.  I do believe that time teaches us  how to coexist with the reality, the pain.

Diagnosed with ovarian cancer at the age of 37, she died 10 months to the day later at the age of 38.  It was a travesty for all who knew and loved her.    After she died I remember thinking “How am I supposed to stop loving her?”   I think now what a senseless question because I have since learned… you NEVER stop loving them.  In fact, for me my love for her has grown.

My sister was an old soul.  She was an observer of sorts.  As a kid she would stand back and watch while my cousin Marie and I would do something, lip off, for example… She and my cousin Tina would look at each other, look at us and just “watch”.   I think, in family, she was most like our cousin Steve.  Again, quiet, observing… they would shake their heads and watch out of the corner of their eyes, sometimes with raised eyebrows…  I’m sure they were thinking “Are you nuts?  You’re going to get in big trouble!”

Darlene was a good person.  She was honest, a woman of her word, kind and had a great personality and sense of humor.   She loved to fish, snowmobile, play hockey…  A natural athlete.    She loved water and lived on a lake for the past decade and a half of her life.    She worked hard and played hard.  She loved outdoors.  She enjoyed life.

Ten years and the tears still fall.   I haven’t mentioned this anniversary to anyone in my family, as I’m hoping they could skate by it without the painful memories.   My sister, Karla, was one of her caregivers for the last few weeks of her life.  She was with her when she left this world.   I know she has thought about it, she does every year.

Next month will be the 2nd anniversary of my oldest sister’s passing.  She died at 56 of ovarian cancer.   In my almost daily talks I have with my sister I told her today I knew she was there waiting to greet Karen.   That was who she was.   She did for others and had respect for herself as well as others.

There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of her.  Some days are diamonds, some days are stone….   Sometimes I laugh out of control, other days, like today, the tears fall.  Still, today I am also able to smile and laugh at aspects of her, of our life.

For me, I have learned that there isn’t anything quite like siblings.   Most of the funniest times of my life were with my siblings, or family.

Say “I love you”, say what you need to say today as you never know what tomorrow will bring.   As mentioned earlier, I still talk to her almost daily, but I miss her eyes, her voice, her hands, her short athletic legs that in the summer looked like spoiling bananas from all the bruises from activities.  I miss her guidance, encouragement, I miss her laugh, her sense of humor, her view points.  I miss her, all of her.