Emma’s story: “I miss my sister every single day”

Emma | November 2021 | 6 minutes

Emma shares her experience of losing her sister in the hope that it helps others feel less alone.

I lost a piece of myself through alcohol: I lost my sister.

I lost my sister in April 2019 when she was 43 years old. But really, I’d lost her 15 years prior when her alcohol problems changed her from a funny, outgoing person to a withdrawn, angry, unhappy human. See, alcohol creeps in slowly – it slowly took away everything from her; relationships, her job, her self-respect, and sadly her health.

It wasn’t easy to witness my older sister, who I’d known all my life, literally fall to bits in front of me, her body slowly giving up little by little. It took years of heavy drinking but before we knew it, she was at the end stage of alcoholism.

I knew she might not have a lot of time left when she first developed ascites in her stomach, and to hear her cry when it returned again and again still haunts me to this day. The worst part was that I couldn’t do anything to help her.

It’s awful for family members – that desperate, hopeless feeling when you want to help someone and can’t. Year upon year I tried to tolerate the new relationship between my sister and me, which was mainly all about her. Occasionally I would ignore her calls, knowing it was probably either a drunken rant or another argument or another episode at hospital. But now she’s gone I even miss those calls. It’s just silence now.

Nothing prepares you for this. Nothing people say takes away the feeling of desperate loss, and I miss her every single day. Now I would give anything to listen, just to hear her voice. Alcohol has taken all of that away from me. She was my only sister, so in a way it’s the feeling of being completely alone now that is hard to deal with.

The pain of why plays on in your head, the guilt of ‘what if…’ and ‘if only I had…’ repeats in your mind. It’s now two years since she passed and finally I have started to accept that my sister was her own unique person and she wanted to do what she wanted to do. People did try throughout her addiction to help her, they tried and tried but all attempts were always in vain.

My deepest regret is wasting what precious time we had talking about or trying to stop her drinking.

My deepest regret is wasting what precious time we had talking about or trying to stop her drinking. I wish I’d concentrated on making the most of the relationship we had, because she knew she was an alcoholic and there was nothing I could do to change that. Problems with alcohol are sadly misunderstood by many of us, so I hope that my story helps people understand and makes people feel less alone. I will always miss my sister deeply.