TWSC Submission: Healing from the Sudden Loss of my Sister

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My name is Claire and I would like to share about my loss. I lost my sister due to postpartum hemorrhage on the eve of my birthday. It was her first child and she had a lot of dreams for her child. It’s been 4-5 years but everything is still fresh in my mind.

I remember getting a strong urge to see her that weekend. I went for prayers and proceeded to her afterwards. I bought some beef and prepared it with rice. When she came back from campus (she was doing her masters), she was surprised to find us. We ate, drank some soda; not knowing that it was the last meal I would eat with her. That was a Sunday.

On Monday, she went for antenatal [checkup] but was admitted. On Tuesday, as I was going home from work, I received a call from Mom asking me to take some blankets, saying my sister was feeling cold. I reached home, [took] the blanket and proceeded to the hospital.

In the hospital, I found she was having on and off labour pain and I jokingly said she had to give birth the following day because it was my birthday. I opted to spend the night in the hospital. Around 9 p.m., her pain intensified and she delivered a bouncing baby boy. Unfortunately, she started bleeding profusely and we were asked to donate some blood. For the first time in my life, I donated blood, but when I returned from the laboratory, she was breathing her last. She didn’t even touch her child in her arms nor see his face.

I cried 😭😭😭 at the sudden loss of a sister and friend.

During her burial, I didn’t cry much and to many, I was a strong woman — not knowing that I didn’t know what or how to feel, I was just numb. I had to become a mother to a newly born child. Since that day, my life took a new and abrupt twist.

I’m a counselor by profession, and so whenever I shared how I felt with others, I was asked to act like one. So, with time, I buried my feelings and cried behind closed doors.

Photo: Claire

It has been and is still not a smooth [road], but with prayers, I am becoming stronger and stronger. Grief is a personal journey and it’s not easy, especially when people think you are very strong. I have had several depressive episodes. There are times I ask God why, but I’m learning to accept that it has happened.

Whenever I’m depressed, I do the following:

  • Recite the Holy Rosary and ask God for strength
  • Read about depression and watch inspirational videos
  • Cry whenever I’m overwhelmed because shedding the tears have been very helpful to me
  • Write down what and how I’m feeling

Never avoid grief. Experience and express the feelings associated with it and believe in God wholeheartedly. I now consider the boy as my birthday gift from my sister and I’m doing my best to love and care for him. By the way, he knows me as his mother. I hope my story inspires someone out there who is going through grief.

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