The loss of a family member is so hard

Jul 06, 2024
Source: Getty Images.

I have lost most of my family members over the past 10 years. I guess that’s my reward for being one of the youngest people in my family.

But it’s not easy for any of us, and when it happens, a bit of each of us is chipped away.

The loss of parents is fairly predictable. Usually, they predecease you and that was the case with my mom and my father. My mom passed away in 2001 but my father died an early death in 1965. Both of those were hard, but when my older sister passed, the reality of family mortality became much more poignant.

Here’ what I remember from 2015.

It’s been almost three weeks since my sister passed away. Today, I’m thankful that her absence is not the first thought I had upon awakening. Life is slowly moving on. But on sadder days, I keep hoping that I will awaken from this bad dream, and realize it was just a moment when slumber creates a puzzle of images that dissolve when you open your eyes.

Unfortunately, this was not a dream. My sister is gone. I try to stay busy to distract myself from the grief. Sometimes it works. Other times, the sadness splashes me in the face, and in some ways, I feel guilty that she is gone and I am still here.

Cancer is like a wildfire. Just when you think you have snuffed it out, it hops the fence and bursts into flames somewhere else. Some are lucky to suffocate the embers. My sister was not. And then there is the business of dying, which is a convoluted one. Things have to be put in order. Arrangements are made. It is so strange that the demise of a person is often reduced to trinkets that are left behind, the division of personal property, and the many forms that need to be signed.

But thankfully, the good memories of my sister prevail. I will hold on to the colorful images of my sister Lynn, and the joy that she extracted from simple things. I will recall the way that she would light up a room when she would enter it.

My sister was like a bouquet of sunflowers, with her thick thatch of hair, her Chiclets smile, and flawless skin. That’s the Lynn I would like to remember.



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