Why My Sister’s Death Feels Like an Unsolved Missing Persons Case

I thought the hardest part of dealing with my sister’s death, would occur within the first few weeks following. How wrong I was about that.  I’m having difficulty wrapping my head around the fact that it’s been nearly 8 months since we lost her. 8 months…where did time go? I don’t know if it’s because I’m getting older, or if time truly flies that fast, but it still feels like she just left us yesterday and has yet to return or contact us.

The human mind is a screwy thing. I have moments where I’m feeling good and things seem to be going alright, only to feel the exact opposite within a moment. It’s the thoughts of her suffering for so long, and the feelings that I experienced in her final months that hit me like a sumo ninja on those particular days. I get transported back to the feelings of sadness, hopelessness, fear, pain, being overwhelmed and an extreme feeling of ‘I can relate’ in regards to having felt what she was feeling and thinking. Every one of my emotions feels deeper than before, if that makes sense, and it resonates. I never expected this kind of emotional growth, following my tragedies.

I felt her loneliness and I can only assume what it felt like to be disconnected with the person you chose to share your life with. That was a hard thing to write. It’s one of the most difficult feelings to deal with, even now, because it’s just so raw and powerful. We still have to deal with that person, and it’s difficult because he thinks we should care about him constantly, even though he never seemed to care about Lea. It’s a very complicated relationship we navigate and the emotions that accompany it, are difficult to manage.

I find my thoughts stuck on her final moments and the pain she endured. My mind is stuck on the fact that I wasn’t there. I have times where I kick myself, and other times where I feel like it was better for my own sanity that I wasn’t. I had a little girl who needed me at home, so the torn feeling is still a difficult thing to deal with. Having to choose between your daughter and your sister is not an easy choice and that plagues me to no end.

Navigating life without a compass is hard

It’s funny because, I should have all of my ‘life’ shit figured out by now but I feel the complete opposite. The tailspin that I’ve finally managed to straighten out, has left me requiring my compass again. Not that that is a bad thing, it means that I am moving forward. Now more than ever, I need that compass. I treasure my compass and I no longer have a very large piece of it. So, it no longer truly works because the other parts, although very helpful and valued indeed, don’t give me the ugly honesty that I sometimes need to hear. Lea wouldn’t hesitate to tell me if I was being a dumbass or an asshole when necessary. Honesty was her best quality ha!

So, as I sit here, I’m completely at a loss. I’m in the dark and uncertain about the path I’ve embarked upon and I have no idea how to navigate from here. Did I do the right thing? Am I headed in the right direction? Is this all for naught? Much emphasis was placed on this huge portion of my compass, and now I need to learn to navigate without it. The saying that you never know what you’ve got until it’s gone, couldn’t have held more meaning in my life right now.

It’s also hit me. My circle has always been small, and now, it’s narrowed and become even smaller. What does life have in store for me in the future, if I make it that far? She was supposed to be a huge part of that, my ‘guarantee’ if you will. That someone who’d still be there, even after everyone else that I knew was gone. I was scheduled to depart first, not her.

Birth order and who wipes who’s ass in the ‘golden years’

She was supposed to be there for my aging, old miserable ass. Changing my diapers, wiping my ass, feeding me prunes and constantly berating me for being an old shit. She and I, constantly arguing over the little things, becoming more stubborn with time…if you can imagine that stubbornness! And, after I was gone, she was supposed to have everything taken care of by our younger brother in the same manner!

I feel that’s probably why she was so damn feisty right out of the womb too. A lot of responsibility is placed on the middle child. Better get their ‘kicks’ in while they can! And now, that prophecy of guaranteed company in the ‘golden years’ shall be left unfulfilled. Having a third sibling in the mix, was my insurance policy for after my departure, a guarantee that she would be taken care of. Sorry little bro ha! Your wife is amazing, so I wasn’t as worried about you.

I miss Lea’s laugh, our banter and debate over the most mundane of topics. We had the ability to turn the blandest and most boring topic into the most colorful conversation with no lack of exaggerated depth and introspection. Perhaps that’s why she was such a good hair stylist. Her psychological and compassionate side served a greater purpose for the great many of those in need, able to carry an intense conversation no matter how insignificant or boring. She was quite the ‘therapist’, with many a legion of sworn ‘patients’. I, was one of them. I feel like I need her in the worst way right now, and I don’t just mean her mad hair cutting/styling/coloring skills!

The events that she talked me through when she couldn’t be here in person, seem so insignificant now, despite the fact that those issues derailed my life at times, haphazardly and considerably. In the wake of her loss, the tiniest of issues now influences me in the same manner, only this time, I struggle because I no longer have her guidance. Her wisdom stemmed from such a different place than mine, and I feel like many don’t understand or respect the differences of the different kinds of wisdom people possess. Hers emanated from a place of pure kindness, humor and humanity. She had not only emotional and humane wisdom, but a creative one to compliment.

The weird waiting game that has followed my loss

It feels like my experiences with mourning are akin to awaiting the appearance of a missing loved one. It’s often very cruel at times. I find that I am still constantly watching and waiting for her. I keep waiting for her Monday morning texts or phone calls, because I hadn’t seen her over the weekend. Or, waiting for the texts about our meal contributions for our family gatherings on the weekends. I feel like she’s on vacation, and has yet to send me a message that she’s arrived, safe and sound.

It’s a really weird feeling, where you’re simply waiting for some sign or confirmation of their arrival or assurance that they’re alright. The uncertainty and anxiety, as you sit and wait, sometimes seems to build to what I can only describe as a silent deafening crescendo. You feel like she’ll walk through that door any moment and you wait, and you wait and you wait some more, never giving up hope that she will show. It’s just that constant anticipation, followed by the crushing realization that she will never, ever walk through that door again.

I walk through stores sometimes, wandering around looking for her. On some of our outings, she and I would split up because we had limited time to pursue our separate lists. Whoever finished shopping first, would often end up wandering around trying to find the other, so we could leave together. That’s when the thought hits me after wandering aimlessly, she’s not here. It takes a moment afterwards, for my mind to send me the prompt, it’s okay, you can go, she’s not here anymore.

I keep encountering the same scenario when I discover something that I want to share with her. I end up reaching for my phone and then realize, she’s not there. It feels nuts to keep having these thoughts, feelings and automatic actions. I wonder how long it will truly take (or if it ever will) to fade and go away. Maybe this is my new ‘normal’, but I struggle with how to ‘know’ when that truly will be.

Want ads

Maybe I need to don a sandwich board, proclaiming the official search for a new ‘sister’ to join me in my lifelong adventures. I can stand outside of Homesense and walk the sidewalk, interviewing for my new partner in crime. I may have to revamp the location, as I am nowhere near as savvy as the many that frequent this retail space, but it’s a start. I know that I can’t be too choosy, as she was one of a kind, but someone with a very sick sense of humor and ‘sweary’ mouth would be an excellent start. My sandwich board would probably contain the following:


Looking for a sister

Looking for an ‘A/B’ type personality who understands ‘B/A’ type personality. Enjoys laughing at horrible humor and dark sarcasm. Has the ability to know why and what I am laughing about before having to point it out. Candidate must be willing to eat Cesar salads containing dead moths, in order to achieve compensatory meals. Must be willing to admit worst failures and laugh at them for many years to come while creating new memorable and terrible memories about random happenings or thoughts. Must be willing to pick on and make fun of my zany mother and her antics and be more than willing and unapologetic when telling me when I am being a complete dumbass. Must be a willing and supportive ‘cellmate’ fluent in the Tater Tot bargaining process and ninja skills to aid in our protection for possible future prison incarceration. If willing to try out, please contact me at…

If you see some crazy ass looking woman standing in front of Homesense with a sandwich board containing the above, it’s just me. If you can vouch for me when the authorities come to take me away, I’d very much appreciate it. I’m loyal, and will always have an IOU at the ready if you do. I may even take you out for lunch! Call now to apply!

3 thoughts on “Why My Sister’s Death Feels Like an Unsolved Missing Persons Case

  1. My God That’s something!

    So sorry to hear that you lost your sister.. I don’t know if that helps but I also dont know what I’d do if I lost my sister. She is to me, everything you mentioned yours to be and I truly hope you find that in someone..

    Thanks so much for sharing! Keep well!


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