Lesson Learned


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I’m finally able to come here and express myself without tears blurring my vision.  Right before Christmas I lost my big sister. It was sudden. It was quick. We didn’t know she was so ill until she went into the hospital and passed away three days later. When she first went into the hospital, I had hope. I told myself that everything would be fine.  The day after she was admitted, it was critical but in my head this was a speed bump that she would recover from. On the third day, I received a call from my mother urging me to get down to the hospital because my sister didn’t have much time. She wasn’t expected to make it through the night.

I don’t like seeing people on the brink of death. I rather remember them in happier times and full of life. But sometimes we have to put our own shit aside. I’m so glad I did. I think, no, I’m certain I would have regretted not going to see my sister. I arrived at the hospital to see my zany and vibrant sister hooked up to machines that kept her alive–if you can call it that. My heart broke. I wept at her bedside for so many reasons.

I wept because she had such a rough life and was finally finding peace and happiness. I wept because we had lost contact for a period of time and I had just gotten her back. I wept because she was such a lively person with a zest for life even when it had been cruel to her, and now she was slipping away. Machines were keeping her alive and I thought, “this is so cruel.” I took her hand. I know she felt us all surrounding her. I wanted her to know that it was okay to let go.

She didn’t deserve to remain in the state she was in. Her heart was weakening. She was removed from the machines the next day. I opted not to be present for that moment. I had already said my goodbyes and would not have been okay with witnessing her last breath.

It’s only been a few weeks. My heart aches everyday. I go through moments of normalcy with her passing always looming in the background. I go on with everyday chores with that black cloud in the distance. My sister lived about two hours away from me so we didn’t get together very often. But I took comfort in just knowing that she was there. Even when we lost contact, just knowing that she was out there made me feel less lonely. Now I feel so alone. It’s weird because our papa is a rolling stone.  I have at least 8 more siblings out there. (A post for another day)

I don’t know my other siblings, I only know of them. I was raised with my sister for the first few years of my life. We share the same father but have different mothers. My mother cared for her since she was very young. My mother was the only mother my sister ever knew. Our parents divorced and my father split us up. I stayed with my mother and was raised as an only child. But I always knew that wasn’t the case. I had a painfully lonely childhood but the fact that my sister existed always made me feel better. And now she’s gone.

I’ve gone through periods of time when I lost my sister, but we always found our way back to each other. The fact that I’ve lost her for good has left such a void in my life. I’m back to that painfully lonely place. I know there are pieces of me, in the form of other siblings, floating around out there, but none of them share the bond I had with my sister.

These past few weeks have been eye-opening and chock-full of life lessons that I’m not sure I was ready to learn. (Again, a post for another day) I grieve for all the future moments that were taken away from us. I regret letting petty things get in the way of spending what time I had left with my sister. Because of my deep dislike for another family member I was cheated out of the last moments of quality time with my sister. I can never get those moments back because I chose to distance myself from the group the last few times she visited. All because I was avoiding that one other person. Lesson learned.

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Front cover of the card my sister gave me on my last birthday.

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Interior of birthday card. This says it all.

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6 responses to “Lesson Learned

  • Christine

    With tears in my eyes I again say i am so sorry for your loss.This blog (well what u have gone through an are going through) I can so relate.Having just my older sister left and me having been ill since Oct. w/lung issuses it kills me that she doesn’t reach out or bk to me cause my voice has changed n I get short of breath so as she put it”doesn’t like to hear me like this” an has avoided talikng to me since Oct. I feel lostw/o her but I can’t bring her to speak to me ,that is her choice.Just know your sister is watching over you whereever you are an knows you loved her.Time will make the pain get easier to deal with but it never goes away as I learned that losing my Mom at age 19.So again I say witha heavy heart n tears still rolling i am truly sorry for your loss..your blog hits home here.May you find peace an happiness an keep moving forward in life..that’s what she would want. Hugs n Love my friend ❤

    • May Torres

      Oh I do hope your sister can find the strength to be able to talk to you. I know, I did not want to see my sister in the hospital but I knew that there was no other option. Even though you may not be physically close, there’s something about knowing that you have that person around. It’s so tough when they’re gone. Sending healing thoughts your way. Thank you for sharing your story with me and for thinking of me.

  • Ms. Ang

    May, I’m so sorry for your loss. I wish I knew what to say to make you feel better. I can’t even begin to understand how you feel but I want you to know that you are not alone. You have a few people here in NC that love you very much and we would do anything for you. They say time heals all wounds and I hope that in time you will heal. Let me know if there is anything I can do. Love you!

    • May Torres

      Thanks Ang. It’s funny, I spent a good part of last year helping a friend cope with the loss of his loved one. I had no idea what to say either. I’m not great in that kind of situation. But any discomfort I had in not knowing what to say or do was pushed aside. I just made sure I checked in with him often and let him know I was thinking about him. I gave him space and bombarded him at the same time, if that makes sense. Kind words like the ones you wrote above, go a long way and do help. And I appreciate them very much.

  • davidprosser

    This is such a sad story May and I’m desperately sorry for you. Your beautiful sister is at peace and you’re left to mourn and struggle with the guilt we all feel after someone we love passes. As long as you know she still loves you and that you have friends around to offer support if you need it. Many of us have experienced something similar and needed the support of friends to help us over the worst.
    xxx Huge Hugs xxx

  • May Torres

    Thank you very much. The one thing I’ve tried to remind myself of is that she is at peace. I have to take solace in that. I know my pain will ease in time. I keep the sound of her laughter in my mind. She loved to laugh and I’m going to make sure I keep the laughs coming. In her honor.

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