Dealing with the Loss of a Loved One

Losing a loved one is a devastating event, no matter how old you are. The way we choose to deal with our loss and the range of emotions that comes with it is what will determine how soon we get to the other side of it.

We recently sat down with a friend and colleague to find out what it was like for her when she lost her beloved sister. Her story reminded us that when you lose a loved one there will be good days and bad days, but the most important thing to remember is that it's ok to reach out for help. That’s why we’re sharing this moving account with you.

Donna, The Best Sister I Could Ask For

As the youngest child in my family, I usually got whatever I wanted. My sister Donna was my oldest sibling and I fondly remember her holding me on her lap while I pretended that she was my mother. While I did love our mother dearly, basking in my oldest sister’s attention made me feel very special as a child. Donna and I went everywhere together. Spending time by the pool was a favorite activity of ours. These trips to the pool always included her son David, who was a very good friend of mine as we were only 2 years apart in age. We were as close as brother and sister.

My sister and I were inseparable and shared a very close bond. She meant the world to me and was a mother, sister, and best friend all wrapped into one. We spoke on the phone one to two times a day and drank our coffee together every morning whenever my work didn’t interfere.

A few of the things I admired my sister for were for her beauty, wonderful fashion sense, and perseverance. She had an exquisite wardrobe later in life and always looked marvelous. Although she did not have very much money when she was raising her three young boys, she made a promise to herself that she would wear nice clothes one day and she kept it.

I also admired Donna for her talent as a seamstress. She could alter any blouse and make it look like a designer piece of clothing. At one point in her career she worked for a clothing company called Ursula and later on down the road she began working for herself. My sister was truly an amazing woman, and, in my eyes, she was perfect in every way.

My Vibrant and Vivacious Sister’s Health Declined

In 2014, Donna’s health began to decline. She was already diagnosed with dementia but denied that she was having any problems with her memory. She had accomplished a lot in her life and had every reason to be proud. In the midst of all of this, she had a stroke but was not debilitated by it.

In 2015, it started to become difficult for Donna to live her everyday life on her own, although she tried very hard to hide the truth of her situation from all of us. She frequently overdrew her checking account, had arguments with the staff at the bank, and would often find herself lost when driving around town. None of this was made any easier for Donna because this was also the year that her son David moved to Arizona and I moved to Florida with my husband. In the wake of losing her support system, she decided to move in with David. Her decision to not live with me was hard to accept because as always, we were very close.

2016 saw more health problems for Donna. She suffered a massive brain stem stroke and was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Her condition was so bad that she was fated to live out her remaining years in a memory care unit. The silver lining in all of that was although she was unaware of her surroundings, she always remembered who we were. I was spared completely losing the sister I loved like a mother.

The Passing of My Beloved Sister

Thanksgiving of 2019 was the day I had to say goodbye to the sister I loved and admired my entire life. She left this world with her oldest son by her side. Due to extenuating circumstances, I was not able to be there.  When she passed away she was only 57 pounds, but she remained a fighter until the day she died.

I have had time to reflect on the last part of my sister’s life and I often wonder what my family and I could have done differently. The truth is there was nothing different we could have done. She was loved and cared for the entire time and her son was always by her side.

With all of that being said, I still feel pain and guilt. I’m still struggling to forgive myself for not being at my sister’s bedside when she died. If Donna was here with me I know she would tell me not to cry and that she is still with me every day. The one thing that does help me today is that I still talk to her when I’m alone, just like I used to when we shared our morning coffee together all of those years ago.

The Loss of Donna Makes Me Compassionate

I am an employee of VIP America and the story I just relayed to you helps me in the field every day. Losing Donna has given me a more compassionate perspective on my work and makes me do my job a little differently. I now give all my clients and their family members my cell phone number. I do this so they never feel alone and that they have the assurance that they can always get in touch with me. I also try to empathize with frustrated family members as I have been in their shoes and have taken my frustrations out on a caregiver. When things are stressful, I smile and think of my sister, and do my best to help families cope with situations that are often similar to what I went through. At the end of the day, I want them to know that they are not just a client to me. They are family. 

Your Loved Ones Are Never Alone with VIP America

If someone you love is suffering, don’t hesitate to call us. Whether they are in need of companionship, housekeeping, meal preparation, or any other type of home health care in Melbourne, and surrounding areas,  that a caregiver can provide, we can help. Experienced caregivers can help you make it through whatever situation you may be facing. With our services, you don’t have to face it all alone.

VIP America is family owned and operated and has been in business since 1997. We treat all of our clients with the same love and compassion that we would give our own family. You can depend on us to be there for you when you need us the most. Contact us today to learn more about companion services and become a member of the VIP America family.