Tuesday, 17th January 2017

On Losing a Sister: Two Months On

Lifestyle Personal

Today, the 17th January, marks two months since my sister died. This blog is for travel. It’s a happy, positive place. And yet it’s a personal place. It’s my place. I do not want to write several posts on my situation, but instead I would like to dedicate just one post to her. I think she’d be chuffed to bits with that. I’m not trying to narrate a sob story (though it certainly is one if I’ve ever heard one), but just to record my thoughts. To record how grief affects someone. To document suffering. Because it is carthatic. Because no one’s life is as sparkly and pretty as their Instagram. And if it is, well, you should never take that for granted. 

 
As my dad said in his eulogy, this is the one opportunity he had to tell everyone who knew us and Caitlin what we have been through for the past seventeen years, with her final six years being the hardest. And then we’ll shut up about it. And move on. Because that’s what you have to do. Well, this is my eulogy. I’m not going to tell you all the details of her life and all the shit she put up with 24/7; you can read bits of that here. But I’m going to tell you about how I’m doing two months on from her death. Nothing but honesty. No sugarcoated bullshit. Our grief is very different to other’s grief when they lose a loved one. We grieve for her life as much as her death

 

 

I can’t believe two months have passed already. Two months since my heart was shattered into pieces. Two months since I lay on the carpet of my student house in Exeter screaming at the top of my lungs. Screaming “I don’t believe you” and “I can’t believe this is happening”. Two months since my life turned upside down. Everything has changed. It feels like the only things that have stayed the same throughout all of this are my parents and boyfriend. Other than that I am living in an alternative, unimaginable reality

 

Some days I don’t even feel alive. I’m numb and spaced out. I’ll find myself staring into space for 20 minutes and don’t even realise I’m doing it. Sometimes I struggle to even eat or leave the house. I’ve been having more panic attacks than normal, which is terrifying. I find myself reading back through our old Facebook messages together even though I know it’ll set off the tears. 

 

You learn so much about yourself at a time like this. You learn how fucking strong you are, but you also learn that you can’t cope sometimes and that’s okay too. In the last two months I have tried to make a couple of plans (as simple as going down the road to Cardiff to celebrate New Year’s or meeting up with some of Caitlin’s friends) which fell through because I could not cope. It hits you in waves. You think you’re okay and you’ve got it together one second, and the next you’re bawling your eyes out. Sometimes I cry so much I feel like I’m going to puke. And then I hear your voice in my head telling me to suck it up and get on with it, because that’s life. It’s that humbling attitude of hers that I will miss. Because when I’m being a “monster princess” (which was Caitlin’s final nickname for me – I only found out about it after she died) I’ll think of you and I’ll laugh. Last night I managed to shave the skin completely off one of my fingers whilst showering. You would have laughed at me for being such an idiot, but I’m struggling to complete the simplest of tasks at the moment

 

 

Luckily I managed to survive this weekend in Belfast without crumbling. I had a fantastic time to be honest. I wish I could come have back to you, like I did from my travels, with lots of gifts and stories to tell. Gaz and I are going to continue buying bears wearing t-shirts/hoodies from our travels in your honour. We’ve built up quite the collection in the last few years. Unfortunately we couldn’t find any on this trip because Belfast is not a touristy place, but you would have just said we were making excuses. One day we may have children and give them your bears, telling them about how amazing their aunt was. I know you would have been an incredible aunt. I think if you were still alive and we had a baby girl you would have forced us to name her Caitlin, as you always thought so highly of yourself. We wouldn’t have been able to talk our way out of that one. You also always thought so highly of our relationship and I could not feel more lucky for Gaz to have your blessings. Because, let’s be honest, you always thought your opinion was far more important than dad’s or anyone else’s anyway. “It’s all about me” as you used to say when you were very little. If you were reading this right now you would not be very happy with me for including that. Sorry, Caketin. Oops, sorry again. 

 

But now I’m back from Belfast and reality hits again. It felt like I was being told for the first time all over again. Like a plaster was being ripped off me for the second time. In Belfast I was in a little bubble and I had such a fantastic time with Gaz. And then I came home. It’s currently 12:45pm right now and I’ve crawled back into bed because I’m feeling so down. I bought a gym membership at the beginning of the year (as you may have read in my 21 Before 21 post) and have only managed to go twice because I cannot bring myself to leave the house due to emotional exhaustion. It’s easy for people who are not in your situation to make judgements on everything you do and what decisions you are making, but until you are in this situation you cannot judge

 

 

Throughout my life I’ve always told myself I did not want to be dictated by my home situation. At university no one knows about Caitlin (or at least they didn’t until now) and I could just be “a normal teenager”, like Caitlin always wanted to be. For the past 5 years my mental health has definitely been on the rocks and it’s going to take me a very, very long time before I’ll feel up to seeing friends again. I feel like I’m on another planet to everyone at the moment. I can hardly cope with immediate family let alone the rest of my family and friends. I’m an introvert at the best of times, let alone now. I’ve always found comfort and shelter in being alone, and these last two months have been no different. 

 

I don’t know what the message of this post is. It was just utter word vomit. Believe me, I do not take my life and all the good things in it for granted. I’ve always been an optimist, a dreamer and a hard worker, and I always will be. I will rise up stronger from this, like I have done in the past, and will be a better person because of it. Thank you Caitlin for blessing my life with all your happiness, optimism and laughter, in the face of adversity. You will inspire me not to take my good health for granted, to always give back to others and to achieve wonderfully brilliant things despite any setbacks that may get in my way. As dad said in his eulogy, the saying “worse things happen at sea” should really be changed to “worse things happened to Caitlin“. I love and miss you more than anything in the world and always will do.

 

So go tell all your loved ones that you love them. Give them a hug and thank them for all they’ve done for you. Never take anything or anyone for granted. Because in one split second everything can change for the rest of your life

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  1. Reply

    It’s difficult to know what to properly say here but this was such a beautiful post, not to mention heartbreaking. I can’t imagine what it’s like to lose a family member, let alone a sibling so even though it doesn’t always feel it, you’re doing remarkably well and your sister will be so proud of you. Everyone copes differently in grief so you just have to listen to yourself and take as long as you need xx

    1. Reply

      Thank you so much for your lovely comment Claire, I really appreciate it xxx

    • Heels In My Backpack
    • Tuesday, 17th January 2017
    Reply

    This is heartbreaking, I can’t imagine what you’re going through right now. Sending my love xxx

    1. Reply

      Lots of love xxx

    • Jessica Buck
    • Tuesday, 17th January 2017
    Reply

    Such beautiful words Luce, I don’t know how you find the strength to get up each morning, but you do, you can and you will continue to do so and you will get through this awful painful time. Caitlin will never be forgotten but time is the biggest healer. Sending you so much love babe and big hugs coming your way soon xxxxx

    1. Reply

      Thank you so much Jess <3

  2. Reply

    I almost cried at work reading this, my heart goes out to you love. What you are going through is unimaginable – remember that, whatever else happens, every day that you get through is an achievement in itself at a time like this. Even if you prefer to be alone, I hope your nearest and dearest are offering all the support you need.
    Sending all my love,
    Kate

    1. Reply

      Aw Kate thank you so much, it means a lot xxx

    • Sally Hyde Lomax
    • Wednesday, 18th January 2017
    Reply

    Dear Lucy
    You have been so brave and stoical, not just in the past two months, but throughout your life. You were such a good sister to Caitlin and you deserve to speak out, you really do. Sending love and hugs and thinking of you and your Mum and Dad. Sally xx

    1. Reply

      Thank you so much Sally <3

        • Sally Hyde Lomax
        • Wednesday, 18th January 2017
        Reply

        ❤️

    • Samantha Lamb
    • Thursday, 19th January 2017
    Reply

    Lucy, I always love to read your blogs. I love to read your blogs because I can feel your free spirit, I can feel the passion. You can see it in your photos and writing. By far this has been my favourite thing you’ve ever written. I felt the utter devastation right alongside with you, my heart brakes for you and your family. There are no words any human being can say to heal wounds that dig that deep. I hope you have all the time in the world to heal. Although those wounds may never go away they will just be bandaged with good laughter, good experiences and beautiful relationship. I hope you continue to always update your blogs and I will continue to silently watch on the sidelines. But always know that you are one hell of a human being. And if you ever find yourself in Hereford with no place to be, you can always come and see me. It would be great to see you. I hope you and your family’s hearts heal. Sending you every ounce of love I possess. Bassie xx

    1. Reply

      Thank you so much for this comment, Bassie. Seriously this made my day, thank you. As I said in the post I probably won’t feel up to seeing anyone for a long time, but that’d be fab. Lots of love xxx

  3. Reply

    Words can’t even describe how much I feel for you and your family Lucy. This was a truly beautiful thing to read, the love you have for your sister radiates from your words and I am sure Caitlin would be so proud of you. Grief is such a difficult thing to understand as it’s different for every single person but I do know that time is the biggest healer. If you ever feel like you need somebody to talk to, then please drop me a line and I can pass you my number/skype name. I know from experience that speaking to people who are non-family members can be very healing when grieving and a way to share things that you feel are too hard to share with your friends/family. Just want you to know that I’m here 🙂 sending love to you and your family. Abby xx

    1. Reply

      Abby! I’m so sorry I only just read this comment. Thank you so much for your very kind words, I really do appreciate it xxx

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    • Danni Harwood
    • Friday, 10th February 2017
    Reply

    Lucy i think of you so much and even more so now. You and your family may have lost caitlin but she will always stay in your memories and that is the most important thing. She will never truly be gone, you will always think of her. Now is the time to accept your grief and accept that yes right now life is shit but you WILL get through it, things will pass, things will get that little bit easier. Two months is such a short time, do not beat yourself up for not being able to function, its understandable. I send you all my love, and i still care for you. xxx

    1. Reply

      Thank you so much Danni, you know I always think of you too. Thank you for these lovely words xxx Lots of love

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