Just because we smile and laugh, does not mean we miss them any less…

This will be a very hard post to write, so please bear with me….

Grief is the most complicated process a person in life will ever go through, at least it was for me. My sister passed away on May 20th, 2015 very unexpectedly with no signs that she had been living with a heart defect. I know that processing through the loss of a loved one is hard for everyone but it made it even harder that I did not get to say goodbye nor was I able to tell her how much I loved her and just how much she completed me.
I truly believe there is no bond like a sister’s bond. We spent 22 years making memories and strengthening our friendship. Sister’s can relate to each other in a way that no one else can. Throughout the years, I just got used to being called Rachel and her Sarah. We were two peas in a pod and I think we were similar in a lot of ways. Rachel would come down to the kitchen table and she would notice that I was wearing one of her clothing items right away and she would say “Did I say you could borrow that?” The next day, I would catch her wearing one of my clothing items. This continued over the years and it became and inside joke between the two of us. We continued to develop a lot of inside jokes and secrets over the years that we would only share amongst ourselves.

When my beautiful sister was taken so unexpectedly from this earth, a large piece of my heart went with her. The pain in my heart is a constant reminder of my love for her. I would not trade the memories and love of 22 years to have the pain be gone although some days the pain does feel unbearable.

We all grieve differently and it is impossible to know what another person is feeling inside. We as humans get very good at putting on a show for the world that says “No worries, I am fine.” However, it is usually far from the truth. There are a lot of days that I do not feel fine but I put on a face that says I am. I use humor to cope most often and those are usually the days I am hurting the most.

The first few months after my sister had passed, I found it very hard to smile, and when I did smile, I felt this intense guilt. I would tell myself “How can I be smiling right now when Rachel is not here.” This went on for months and months. I would feel even guiltier when I would laugh. Eventually, I was able to tell myself that Rachel would not want to see me like this. She would want me to live my life and continue to work on being happy. I have felt happiness at times but I must admit that I have yet to feel true Joy since she has left this earth, and maybe I never will. I read an article about losing a sibling in which they compared the loss of a sibling to losing an arm. Although you learn to live with the pain and the “new normal”, everything about your life is now different. The hole in your heart is permanently there despite what you do.

What I found to be helpful in coping through grief:

Exercise , it was my saving grace. I was running a lot during that period of my life so I signed up for my 2nd marathon.

Tea. I drank a lot of chamomile and lavender tea to help me relax. I still enjoy tea.

Journaling. I wrote down what was going on in my head and it helped me feel less alone.

Sleep. Although I was not sleeping well, I did try and take a lot of naps.

Spending time with family. It is comforting to surround yourself with those who are experiencing a similar pain and who can help you share memories of your loved one.

Be gentle with yourself. Seriously. Do not beat yourself up because you feel like you are scattered and unable to get through your daily routine. This is a normal part of the grief process and it can take a long time before things even feel remotely normal again.

I also want to share something for those who are helping someone work through the grieving process. I know that people really do mean well but sometimes statements can hurt even when that is not the intention.

Statements you should try to avoid saying…

“They are in a better place.” This is hard to hear because we believe the place they should be is right by our side on this earth.

“Everything happens for a reason.” Sorry, I just do not believe that.

“You will get over it.”  No, it is not something you ever “get over.” It is something you learn to live with but you never get over it. I think this is the most hurtful statement of all.

“I know how you feel.” Although this may sound helpful, it is not. Not one person can understand how another person feels. We all deal with things differently and it is impossible to understand exactly how another person feels.

“You need to move on.”  No, you should not try and give advice to someone unless they ask you for it and moving on means we should leave the love for our loved one behind. That does not ever happen. 

What is helpful to someone who is grieving. JUST BE THERE FOR THEM. I cannot say this enough. I know it is hard to come up with words to say to someone and honestly, no words are needed.  The company of someone and a hug goes such a long way. I think I felt the most alone the first 6 months after I lost my sister. I know that it is hard to be around someone who has this intense pain and loss, but it really means more than you could know. Tears make others uncomfortable.

I know I am different than how I once was. I do appreciate life more now that ever. I realize how I may not wake up tomorrow so that I must make the most out of each day. I have found myself trying new things more and more and reaching out of my comfort zone. I care a lot less about what others think about me as long as I am doing what makes me happy. I am trying to live my life in my Sister’s honor and hoping that she will look down on me and be proud because she made me so proud in her short life on this earth. I hope she knows how much I looked up to her every day and just how much she meant to me. She made my life great for 22 years and now I believe she is an angel by my side.








11 thoughts on “Just because we smile and laugh, does not mean we miss them any less…

  1. Jackie Johnson says:

    Sarah thank you for sharing your experience with us. No one can truly understand the pain and loneliness of a loved one. Thank you for being brave and sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh sweet Sarah, thank you for sharing this post. While I have not experienced losing a sibling, I have lost a parent. I agree that one of the worst things that people can say to you is “everything happens for a reason” and “they are in a better place”. Those statements can make me cry more than anything else. I love all of the memories of Rachel that you have shared with me over the last year of our friendship. I absolutely love that picture of you two holding the cats, now I can see that the true crazy cat lady-ness started at such a young age! haha I love it. I appreciate your honest posts and I always look forward to them. Please keep posting and sharing all of your thoughts! I love you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow!
    Thank you for sharing this post with us, this was very heartfelt, I am so sorry for your loss. I could not imagine losing one of my siblings, it is hard enough to lose a close relative or friend but to lose a sibling that you grew up with.. that is different, it is like losing a parent who raised you all your life.

    When I have lost or when I am angry or sad, I don’t particularly like when people tell me to “cheer up” or “everything will be okay” or “everything happens for a reason and they are in a better place” because at that moment in time, I don’t feel that way, I feel like there is no better place than having them here with me, I don’t feel like everything will be okay, because nothing is okay about losing someone you cared greatly about and not being able to help that situation, because cheering up doesn’t come easy when you hardly sleep at night and don’t know how “to be positive”. I think some people want to help, but I have always believed the less words, the more during those times. Like you mentioned, just being there, that is all I would ask as well, I don’t need words, or sayings or mottos.. etc. I just need to know that someone is there just in case I need someone to fall on when I am weak.

    Sarah, I appreciate your sharing of this, and opening up to your audience and being able to talk about something so dear to you, it isn’t easy to even think about, I can imagine it weighs on your heart. You may never heal, or feel the same amount of happiness that you felt when she was alive, but you are trying and trying is all you can do..


    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much Shay-lon for your kind and beautiful words. It means so much that you took the time for such a beautiful caring response. It does weigh on the heart quite heavily at times . You truly have a gift with words lady ♡♡♡ you are right that less words in certain situations is better.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sarah.
        You are welcome, I never honestly know what to say when someone is going through something I have never experienced because I honestly don’t know how you feel, but I do know that whatever you feel is pain and hurt.. and everyone I know has experienced that at some point, including myself. I am honored by your compliment, it makes me feel really good that I was able to say something that was meaningful.


        Liked by 1 person

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