Q: I’m in such despair that I can hardly function, let alone write this letter, but I feel I must. My youngest sister “Sarah” committed suicide two weeks ago. I was able to get through the funeral with all my friends being around but now I am alone and having a hard time coping. It was such a shock.
I know she had recently broken up with her boyfriend; they had been together for seven years. He cheated on her and that’s why she broke up with him, but she seemed to be handling it fine. She was sad, of course, but seemed like she was getting on with her life. She left a suicide note saying, “I just can’t handle the pain anymore. I am sorry to hurt all of you but this is best for me.”
My sister was my best friend throughout life. We have always been so close to each other. I thought we told each other everything. After her death I found out that she had recently been diagnosed with breast cancer, and come to find out, she was in a lot of debt and about to lose her house. So she had a lot more on her plate than she let me know about. I could have been there for her if she had just told me what was going on.
My friends from the gay community have been there for me throughout this. I have no family to turn to because they all pretty much disowned me when I told them I was lesbian. My family of origin asks me to stay away from the funeral, but I didn’t and no one from my family looked at me or spoke to me. So the lesbian community is my family. My sister was the only one in my family that accepted me and supported me. Now she is gone. I feel so alone.
I have so many emotions I am trying to deal with, like incredible sadness, despair, anger, hopelessness, and the biggest one is guilt because I was not there for her. I could go on and on. Right now I just feel like my emotions are out of control. I have been going to work, but that is about all I can muster up the energy to do. When I get home I just sit and cry. I know my friends are out there, but I don’t have the energy to see them. It seems like my life is over.
What can I do to deal with my sister’s death and get on with my life?
A: I am so sorry for your loss. It makes perfect sense that you are having a hard time coping with your sister’s death. I’m sure you are also feeling abandoned by your sister, as well as all the other emotions you mentioned. And, this is most likely bringing back your pain around your family’s rejection of you. It always hurts to be rejected, one never gets used to it.
I strongly suggest that you join a group for individuals dealing with a loved one having committed suicide. Not knowing where you live, I don’t know if there is one in your area. You might check with funeral homes, hospitals or mental health centers to see if they know of any groups in your area that would be helpful. (I have placed some links on my Facebook page for help for those dealing with the death of a loved one due to suicide. If you can’t find or deal with looking for a group, let me know where you are located, and I’ll help with that.)
I also recommend that you seek individual counseling, if you can. You are in a lot of emotional pain and need some support in order to get through all this. If possible, try reaching out to at least one person whom you think could be a support to you. (Remember how you wished your sister would reach out to you?) My thoughts are with you. Things will get better.
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