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What It's Like to Lose a Sibling to Suicide

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Editor’s note: If you experience suicidal thoughts or have lost someone to suicide, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741.

My sister was 37 yrs old when she died by suicide. She was the mother to a 7-year-old son. My sister was 9 years younger than me. I struggled with her, felt her pain and was powerless over all of it.

She was molested as a child and raped in her 20s. She contemplated suicide for the first time when she was 9 years old. She would hurt herself. She set herself up to fail time and time again. She lost jobs and interviews on purpose. She dated, slept with and left dozens of guys. Drama and crisis were her friends. Shame and guilt were her constant companions. She felt worthless and broken and damaged and defective every day of her life.

But… she was my best friend. The keeper of our memories. The person who knew my insides. She was my girl and I love her so fiercely my world is shattered without her.

She was special to so many people in so many ways. A natural empath and total people person, she lit up every room she entered. She made you instantly happy to be around her. She loved her friends and family with a ferocity that was scary sometimes. On her worst days, she would still comfort a friend, make someone feel better. She was literally dying inside but she would make time for you no matter what. Her disorder stole so much from her but she still looked for beauty and peace and healing every day.

Her son was her one true joy. The best thing she ever did. But also her biggest worry. Was she breaking him? What was her illness doing to him? These were the thoughts she had. She distanced herself from him thinking she was too broken to parent him right. But her love for him was strong and he always felt it. He is like his mother — empathetic, kind, loving. He is filled with the best of her.

Mental illness stole my sister from me. No treatment ever worked. No therapist ever reached her. No hospital ever helped. No medication quieted the demons in her head. She was a smart, talented, wickedly funny person with so much to offer the world. She loved art and poetry, music of all kinds. She looked for beauty in all things and she fought every day to have the hope that would get her through another day. She was strong and brave and beautiful and I will miss her all the days of my life.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741.

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Unsplash photo via Patryk Sobczak

Originally published: December 11, 2017
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