I have lost both my sisters and I am haunted...

by Jojo
(Ireland)

Both my sisters died of a genetic illness by the time I was 17. One of them I knew and the other sister, she was only 4 months old when she died and I have no memory of her at all (I was only 6). And lately, as I get older, it is her death that haunts me.

There are no photos of her, no discussions, no mention of her (she died in 1976, I know things were different then).

I keep crying about this one thing - who was with her when she died. She died in hospital, very ill with bowel problems and I could be wrong about this but I don't know if either of my parents were with her when she passed away. She was in a city hospital and we lived hundreds of miles away and back then, parents weren't allowed stay with sick children. My other sister died in the late 80s and it was so different then. I know they were both with her. I can't ask them as they can't talk about her.

Do people think that my baby sister had a nurse with her, at the end? I know nurses are angels and I pray someone was comforting her, I would give anything to know who was with her.

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Apr 07, 2021
Pandemic makes grief worse
by: Betty from GriefandSympathy

Dear JoJo,

Thank you for writing to us and we hope you find some comfort from the many pages on our site.

This pandemic has made us all aware of how vulnerable we are and you are grieving the loss of sisters you might have known had things been different. My friends who are close to their sisters show what good friends and support they can be. I did not have any sisters, only one much older brother who died many years ago.

I had experience as a child, as an inpatient in hospital; when families could only visit once a week and had to wave from the window outside. However the care and kindness we were given was so supportive. My first time away from home it made me keener to be a nurse. It could have put me off but the quality of care was exemplary.

The long dormitory type wards had sister's office in the corner with all windows. Every patient could be seen at all times. When children or babies were sick they were moved to be much nearer these rooms for constant observation. I realised this when I worked as a midwife and also was a staff nurse on a children's ward. All the student nurses in those days were working on the wards all the time. Doctors did many ward rounds and could be called. The specialist did daily ward rounds. I would honestly say that not having anyone around you was the impossibility.

The chances of your baby sister being alone at her death are remote. It was common practice to have a nurse routinely beside a very ill child 24 hrs a day. There was a rota system. Any change at all they would send for the doctor.

This pandemic has caused many anxious thoughts for us all. We have had too much time to linger on the negative side of life. Let us hope that this period will pass soon and we can mix socially with all our friends again and get back to a more positive view of life.

Our very best wishes to you.

Betty
www.griefandsympathy.com


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