Thoughts on My Sister

On March 22, 2017 in the still small hours of the very early morning, my sister put a gun in her mouth and pulled the trigger. She was 45 years old. Her housemate/companion heard a sound, and assumed it was a problematic picture in the basement falling off the wall as it had many times recently. She found my sister’s body at 7am, and called me after dialing 911 to relay the news. “Chad, it’s Marla. Missy’s dead. She shot herself.”
My sister had her demons in the last couple years of her life. She had been obsessed with death and dark things ever since our cousin (her best friend in the world) had committed his own suicide back in 2001, less than a month before his wedding.
I suppose I feel survivor’s guilt. I suppose I think I’m selfish because I’m angry that my sister left me an only child (I turn 50 next month) who must deal with/care for two aging parents who are left bereft as a result of her selfish, stupid act. I suppose I feel guilty that I’m more angry than sad at this point, when I can manage to feel anything at all.
I suppose I feel guilty because in the last couple years of my sister’s life, I had lost patience with her. I was as absent as possible from her wreck of a life. The drug addiction, the joblessness, the self-imposed drama, the continuous hypochondria (every single medical issue with her was ‘special’; she didn’t have migraines, she had ‘triple migraines’, she had mysterious unquantifiable maladies too numerous to mention, always ‘special’ or ‘extreme’), the showing up at family functions (when she could be bothered to do so), rocking back and forth, staring at the floor as if she were not really present, looking every bit as clean and put together as a mad bag lady, always volatile and depressive. I never took her maladies and declarations of anguish seriously. My sister *always* needed a lot of attention. I needed to focus on more positive things in life. I had no time for self pity and hypochondria and drug addiction and drama.
I suppose I feel like a terrible child, because ever since she killed herself, I do not want to see or spend any time with my parents, other than the obligatory contact. My mother always encouraged my sister’s drama and defended my sister’s various ‘illnesses’. My sister found herself basically blackballed from every hospital and mental facility in the region, because she would show with one of her maladies and demand opiates or other drugs. My mother refused to hear it when doctors at endless emergency rooms and mental facilities would explain that it was obvious my sister had nothing physically wrong with her, and was obviously presenting in order to obtain drugs. She racked up hundreds of thousands of dollars in unnecessary medical bills, and then didn’t make any attempt to pay. She declared bankruptcy no less than 3 times in her adult life as a result of this.
My father simply gave her money every single time she went to him with a sob story. She was ‘daddy’s girl’ of course.
So I suppose I’m having trouble forgiving my parents for enabling her.
I post here today, because I don’t know what else to do. I feel nothing. My wedding was one month after my sister’s suicide, and my husband and I insisted on going through with it, with the idea that grief would not hinder our happy day. My parents both dutifully showed up, ghosts of their former selves.
Again, I wish I could feel something real. I wish I could cry, or rant. I wish I felt something other than a vague sense of anger and (even more guilt) *relief* that she finally did it. I was not shocked. I was not surprised. I’d warned and tried to talk with my parents about it before she finally managed to do it, but neither would hear of it. They insisted she was just ill, just going through a rough patch. Their perfect little girl would never….
So I suppose I feel like an orphan at a crossroads. My family will never be the same again. We will never not have this hanging over us. What should be the happiest time of my life as a newlywed who *finally* found true love at 48 is forever sullied.
I don’t know why I’m posting here today; I suppose it’s because any ‘support’ I try to look up always leads back to a suicide prevention hotline, and that’s not what I need. I’m not suicidal. I think suicide is stupid, selfish, and irreversible.
I need to feel real grief. I need to feel real love and concern for my parents and myself. I need to feel happy. I need to feel it’s ok to vent, and to be angry and sad and not the perfect sole survivor who holds it all together. I need someone who really understands what I’m feeling to help me. I need to feel.
Thanks for your ear. Thanks for your concern. Thanks for any advice you can offer. Thanks for being you. Thanks for letting me be me.

5 thoughts on “Thoughts on My Sister

  1. Cherish your parents while they are still around or you will regret.
    Look at bigger picture and thank God for what you’ve been given.

    A family.

    Be the bigger person and rise above.

    Thank the Lord and pray.

  2. Hey there,

    My sister (50 years old)”committed suicide” a month ago- well that sounds way too technical for the actual act. or “took her own life”…well that’s a little too eloquent for the act. so let’s just say she killed herself. She did it the same exact way your sister did. The crazy thing is she hated guns, she didn’t even let her kids play with water guns….so it’s really ironic. You see she walked into a store, bought a gun and then killed herself exactly 3 hours later. You are not alone. It sucks. that’s it. no matter what the circumstances. She was a perfectionist. My husband would always refer to her as mrs. perfect. She had great looks, her house was always in order in an OCD sort of way, she was very smart, 3 smart kids too…(2 teens and a 20 year old child). She was on the anti-depressant zoloft which I fully blame for the suicide…it is a side effect of that drug. I don’t get it; she had everything! I am sorry for your loss; it’s terrible to lose a sibling.

    1. I lost my 25 year old sister July 31,2017. She had never shot or even held a gun in her life. On that day she bought the gun, learned to shoot it and killed herself within 5 hours of buying the gun. I just don’t understand and never will. Left behind to young boys. My heart cries for everyone on this site.

  3. I am so sorry… I lost my brother that exact day, my birthday of this year !! He hung himself in my barn! I can’t seem to over it! The guilt is enormous!! How could I have not known!! As hard as it is I hope you feel that she is not in pain anymore… she is at peace!! I share your deepest feelings! This is the most traumatic feeling to go through!! Xoxo

  4. My sister killed herself at the end of May this year. She was a heroin addict and like you I’m 50. She’s (was) my fraternal twin so also 50. She was a functional addict, working. I hadn’t been sure she was still using as she was a private person. Our parents both passed when we were in our 30s so we had become estranged over that. Ironically, my poor sister got CLEAN a year before she died. But she was self-medicating for bipolar disorder and it was unleashed when she got clean…and she had no psychiatric support or therapist and couldn’t find someone that would work. She fought hard to get support but couldn’t think clearly, for the first time I’ve ever experienced. We spoke on the phone more than we ever had (she was across the country) in the last year, but I was too impatient. She acted like she was fine, better, in the last 2 months. Her thinking was clear for the first time. She never talked about feelings for the whole year and I let my self believe she wasn’t suicidal. Our phone calls had been volitile, I was angry at some very hurtful things she said, and didn’t call her back for 2 wks despite her calling me twice. I called her one night…my guilt at not calling her back was mounting…and I’d realized given her circumstances I shouldn’t believe her “acting fine”. i left a message saying “DON”T give up, it will get better”. She had killed herself that morning, but I didn’t know that yet. I wonder if it would have been different if I had called her back in those two weeks. If I’d called the day before and she heard me say “don’t give up”. I will never know. I could have done better all year, she wasn’t sharing feelings but I could have assumed them, guessed them, she said she was depressed but she acted angry on the phone and talked in circles and I had trouble finding compassion given our history (she’d been beastly to me, physically abusive, when our parents died and never acknowledged it). I did try hard to get her the care she needed or to convince her to get it. I think she wanted empathy but she’d call me and say “can I get some advice” then not want my advice at all. she’d never cry or speak a word of feeling. I could have done better all year. But I know that I really did think she was better despite her accident (she fell and broke bones…off a ladder…wasn’t using drugs then…TERRIBLE LUCK). She moved the week she died so her suicide wasn’t planned. I though she was getting better. Turns out she was on pain meds (akin to her prior drug of choice) for her injuries and that likely made her clear thinking after a year of being sober. So I though she was better. If I didn’t I might have called her back. Funny how I was compelled to call her the day she died with such a supportive message out of the blue. I felt she needed to hear “don’t give up it will get better”. I had decided not to listen to how she acted on the phone and read between the lines but it was too late. she killed herself that morning.

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