Monday, April 25, 2016

Coping with the Death of a Sibling

After chemo and steroids had changed her appearance.

It’s been over seven years since my sister died.



No, I’ll never be “okay” again, but I appreciate the sentiment.

She was diagnosed with cancer at 24 years old and died a few months after her 25th birthday.

One of my favorites from before diagnosis.
At the funeral, I felt numb half of the time. That was the easy part; the rest of the time, I felt like my heart was being ripped from my chest. Friends asked if I was okay—of course I wasn’t. A large part of my life had been taken away and there would always be a hole there.

When I walked into the funeral home that morning, my brother and half-sister met me in the entry way. All I could think was that one of us was missing. They must have felt it too and we fell together in a three-way embrace.

We cried, held each other up when our knees buckled, and smiled through our tears at some memory of her. We were safe and loved in this cocoon of arms, heads and tears.

How long we stood there, I’m not sure. Other mourners and family members passed by, but no one bothered us.

We stood for some time not speaking, just holding each other up. Words were unnecessary in our sibling cocoon—this embrace was all that was needed. Words could not replace our loss; but knowing we were there for each other somehow made it more bearable.

In the days following her death, we returned to this embrace several times. We blocked out the world feeling closer to each other, and closer to Rebekah.

It’s been awhile since the three of us have been together. I think it may be time to revisit this hug. And someday in heaven, we will share it with Rebekah too.

Have you lost someone before their time? How did your family cope?

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