The Broken Pack™: Stories of Adult Sibling Loss

Of Memories and Metamorphosis: Butterflies, Hummingbirds, & Sibling Loss: Sasha / Amy

February 15, 2023 Dr. Angela Dean / Sasha Abdon Season 1 Episode 6
The Broken Pack™: Stories of Adult Sibling Loss
Of Memories and Metamorphosis: Butterflies, Hummingbirds, & Sibling Loss: Sasha / Amy
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

A Surviving  Sibling's Sibling Loss Story of Devastation, Continuing Bonds, and Navigating Her Roles after Suicide Loss

Sasha openly discusses her sibling loss story of losing her sister, Amy, to suicide in July 2021. my was a kind, caring, loving sister.  When Sasha lost Amy, her identity changed, as it does for many siblings.  Learning to navigate her place in the family and to wrestle with many mixed emotions related to Amy's death have been understandably part of her grieving process.

  • Sasha emphasizes the profound impact of such a loss.
  • She highlights the unique bond she shared with her sister and the subsequent feelings of grief, guilt, and longing.
  • Sasha also shares how she copes with her loss through connecting with nature, finding comfort in small moments, and seeking support from those who understand her pain.


Content Warning: Information presented in this episode may be upsetting to some people. It contains talk of suicide and suicidal ideation.

If you are in the US and need support for yourself or someone else  with suicidal thoughts or other topics discussed in this episode, please call SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or Text your 5-digit ZIP Code to 435748 (HELP4U) or call a warmline. For more immediate crisis call 911, 988, or go to the nearest emergency room.

In the USA, an updated directory of warmlines by state can be found at https://warmline.org/warmdir.html

A warmline directory for trained peer supports in over 20 countries can be found at https://www.supportiv.com/tools/international-resources-crisis-and-warmlines . (Some of those may be hotlines.)

Support the show

If you would like more information or to share your own adult sibling loss story, please contact me, Dr. Angela Dean, at contact@thebrokenpack.com or go to our website, thebrokenpack.com.

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Thank you!

Angela M. Dean, PsyD, FT

Credits:

The Broken Pack™ Podcast is produced by 27 Elephants Media

"If Tomorrow Starts Without Me" © ℗ 2023, 2024
Written by Joe Mylward and Brian Dean
Performed by Fuji Sounds (feat. MYLWD.)
Licensed for use by The Broken Pack™

Angela:

Hello and welcome to The Broken Pack, a podcast focused on giving adult survivors of sibling loss, a platform to share their stories and to be heard. Something that many sibling loss survivors state that they never have had. Sibling Loss is Misunderstood™. The Broken Pack exists to change that and to support survivors. I'm your host, Dr. Angela Dean.

Dr. Dean:

In today's episode, I spoke with Sasha regarding the death of her sister, Amy, to suicide. She shares with me many things, including her current connection to her sister and how that relationship after death has been, as well as things that she wishes people would ask survivors of both suicide loss and adult sibling loss In general, I hope that you enjoy the episode Content warning information presented in today's episode may be triggering to some people. It contains talk of suicide. Resources are located in the show notes. Today we're joined by Sasha. would you like mind telling us a little bit about yourself before we dive into the more difficult conversation?

Sasha:

yeah. My name is Sasha. I'm 32. I am a mom of three young ones. I have a son who's 10, his name is Asher, and I have another son, Gunner, who's seven, and my daughter Vera, who just turned four. Married to my husband. We've been together 11 years. And yeah, in our free time we're simple we just like hanging out. family is like big to us. So just sticking with each other and just hanging out in our free time is what we do.

Dr. Dean:

Mm-hmm. I'm guessing family has always been big for you.

Sasha:

It's actually been small. I don't come from a big family, so like spending time with the family that I've made now is super important to me.

Dr. Dean:

Fantastic. thanks for sharing that. before we dive into the story of loss, I'm wondering what you wanted to share about your sister, Amy, and what you wanted us to know about her.

Sasha:

I just like to talk about her. I don't really get, sorry, I don't really get the opportunity to, so just talk, I just love talking about her so, I thank you for giving me that platform to share about her, so thank you.

Dr. Dean:

Yeah, no problem. So what would you like to tell us about her?

Sasha:

Oh, she, she was incredible. she was just different and she was everything. I wasn't, and I think. That's what I admired so much about her. I always grew up as the quiet, reserved, mature one. And Amy was just goofy and wild and she was just out there and she was so intense. Like everything about her love was intense, her anger was intense. She was just extreme in the best way possible, and I think that's why the loss was so hard. It's because it's just, you'll never find somebody like her. So yeah, Amy was special.

Dr. Dean:

Was she older than you?

Sasha:

She was, she was older by, almost two years.

Dr. Dean:

Mm-hmm. And what was your relationship like with her?

Sasha:

growing up we were very close because my mom's a single mom we moved around a lot and a lot of the times it felt like all I had was my sister, so we were just connected at the hip. anything we did as kids, it was just always together. if Amy ran away from home, I was with her. I didn't have to know the reason. I was just going wherever she went, I just looked up to her so much and I just wanted to be close with her. And, as we got into like our teenage years, She started dating and that's when, she started spending less time with me and it hurt a lot. When Amy started getting her own life, that didn't include me. And so I held a lot of resentment for that because I felt my mom's always at work and now Amy has her own life and now what am I doing with myself? I just spend a lot of time waiting for Amy to come home so she could hang out with me, But even as teens, we hung out. We had the same group of friends. We were always hanging out on the weekends. as we grew into our twenties, she got pregnant and shortly after I was pregnant. So we were pregnant at the same time with our first kids, and that was fun. And then Amy had her daughter and I had mine. And then into adulthood, life got the best of us and we got busy. I ended up having more kids and I was working and she was working and it's like we always stayed in contact through text. I didn't have to see Amy all the time, but I knew I could always count on Amy calling. That was her thing. She loved to talk on the phone and I hate it. I hate phones. text me all you want, don't call me. But Amy was like a pusher. She would call you, I would ignore it. And then she'd text me like, I called you. And I'm like, yeah, I know I'm not picking up. What do you want? but eventually I'd call her back and we'd end up talking for like over an hour every single time. And that's just who Amy was. She loved to talk and she loved to be around people and it like, I hated it cuz I don't like interaction. I'm just like, I like to be by myself. But Amy always forced me out of that. And yeah, I'm, I'm bummed because I let life get in the way and I didn't know that our time was gonna be cut short, and I just wish I saw her more. And it wasn't just phone calls and texts,

Dr. Dean:

Mm-hmm. Does she live nearby you?

Sasha:

Yeah. we were always within 10 to 15 minutes of each other. We were never far.

Dr. Dean:

Mm-hmm. So it sounds like you feel responsible or guilty for not having more of a connection, like not more of a connection, but more closeness.

Sasha:

I do. I try not to feel guilty because I know, like with Amy, it's like nothing but love. Amy, I know Amy would never hold anything against anybody, and so I don't. Feel guilty because I know there's something deeper in that connection. My sister knows like I love her and I always have and I always will.

Dr. Dean:

Mm. it sounds like you were definitely very close and you looked up to her, in some ways, if I'm gathering correctly?

Sasha:

Yeah. The thing, she was older, but she would, if she was here, she would've told you that I was the more responsible, mature one and she always told me like, She looked up to me, even though I was the youngest one because I was always the one that was working and Amy was just, she loved to have fun and be free. Amy was a free spirit, and I don't operate that way. I'm more of a planner and I have to know what I'm gonna be doing next. And Amy wasn't like that and I admired her for that.

Dr. Dean:

Mmm, hmm. I can relate to that. My brother was very similar. so do you wanna move into the story, the painful story of losing her?

Sasha:

Yeah, we can talk about that. Yeah.

Dr. Dean:

So I'll just leave this open-ended and you can tell me whatever it is that you want to share.

Sasha:

Mm-hmm. so I lost my sister on July 13th, 2021. She had been struggling with her depression her whole life, I feel like depression was a part of our identity and it's just something that we grew up with. And I always knew that Amy was depressed, but as we got older and we had kids, it just never was a thought in my mind that Amy wouldn't be on this earth. And

Dr. Dean:

Mm-hmm.

Sasha:

on that day I got a call that Amy had taken her life and, uh, yeah, the floor was ripped out from underneath me because I couldn't believe it. I just didn't think that Amy would ever do it, we had talked months prior and she had told me, I'm getting into a dark head space and I, I tried to talk her through it the best that I could while in the back of my mind just thinking like, she's never gonna do this because we've talked each other out of this so many times.

Dr. Dean:

Mm-hmm.

Sasha:

I just kept telling her like, you have so much to live for, and I just thought she would never do it. And. Yeah, it had been months and I noticed the signs, like she was pulling away. Amy was, like I said, she was a talker. She always called, she always text and she stopped replying to my text and I knew something was wrong. And I told my brother like a couple weeks prior, I was like, something's wrong with Amy. And uh, we tried, we tried to reach out, It was, the day before, the 4th of July was the last time that I talked to her. And, we talked for 30 minutes on the phone and I actually ended up calling her, which is surprising cuz like I said, I don't call. But, yeah, I felt it and I called her and we talked and, we talked about things that we wanted to do together. we talked about how we were tired of feeling sad and she wanted to go skydiving. She said she wanted to feel free and we talked about just other things like going to therapy and like working on ourselves. And she had plans and I invited her over for the 4th of July and she said, you know what, maybe I'll take you up on that offer. And I didn't hear anything from her the next day, and I just assumed., she was on the up and, I text her again a couple days later and I didn't hear back, and the next I heard was, yeah, she, she was gone.

Dr. Dean:

Mm-hmm. So it sounds like you've been through this gamut with her enough that it felt like that is not imminent? Sasha: Yeah. I just, I always look at Amy as being like the strong one and I. I didn't give her enough credit as the older sibling. I just assumed Amy always had it together. Amy was tough. Amy was a take no crap kind of person. She spoke her mind, and I just thought that She was strong, and I just thought that sh she would've got through this, And if she couldn't, I thought she would've reached out like she had before and I was wrong. Mm-hmm. Is that where some of the guilt's coming from? You feel like responsible? Is that what I'm hearing?

Sasha:

A little bit, because that day, I remember that day so clearly, I was trying to buy a new furniture, for my son's bedroom. And like I said, I'm a planner. So once I'm fixated on something, I have to do it, start to finish. And that whole day I was fixated on this freaking dresser like, It had to be right. I was looking at measurements, comparing prices, and that's how I spent my day. But three times throughout that day, I had this big gut feeling like, you need to call Amy. And I just kept telling myself yeah, once I'm done figuring out this dang dresser, I'll call Amy. And I just, I think the guilt comes from had I listened to my gut feeling could I have talked my sister out of it? I don't know. You know? And I don't feel responsible, but there's always gonna be the what if

Dr. Dean:

Mm-hmm. Yeah. That's hard. That's heavy when we have that, that what if, I think that's, especially true with suicide, but I can tell you. I have the, what if I had called my brother to get him to go to the doctor? So different, and also it's there. I'm sorry that you're experiencing that.

Sasha:

it's okay.

Dr. Dean:

So were you alone when you found out?.

Sasha:

I was, Downstairs alone, but my husband and my three kids were upstairs. and I had actually gotten a text from her friend that said, you need to call her ex-boyfriend right now. And instantly I just got off the couch and my heart was racing because I just knew that something was wrong. I didn't know what, I just assumed like maybe they got into a bad fight or I didn't know. And so I walked outside the backyard and, I called her ex-boyfriend and that's when he said that, Amy had shot herself. And I just screamed. All I could do was scream and I just kept asking him if she was alive. And, he just kept saying, I wish I could say that she was. And I fell to the floor and I crawled inside my house on my knees and I just couldn't breathe. And I remember grabbing at my throat, gasping for air, and my husband ran down. He was just saying what happened? What happened? I said, Amy's dead. And then I had to go into okay, who do I need to tell? So I had to call my mom and I had to call my brother and just notify, the people that I thought should know on my end.

Dr. Dean:

Mm-hmm.

Sasha:

And so I stayed up all night doing that. And that was hard too, you're trying to give this news to everybody else while you're trying to process what is happening. And so it was a lot and it was very overwhelming.

Dr. Dean:

Yeah, for sure. what was that like having to tell your mom and your brother?

Sasha:

it was hard because the relationship with my mom is strained and. but I knew like I had to be the one to tell her like, no one else should be telling her this. And so it was late at night at that point. I think it was like 10 30, maybe 11 at night. And my mom was asleep and I couldn't get ahold of her. So I called my other sister. I was texting her and saying, you have to wake up Mom, now you have to. Cause it's not something that I wanted to say over text. Like I wanted to make sure I was on the phone with her when I told her. I think like my mom was just stunned because there wasn't much of, she was just confused. she just kept saying, huh? what do you mean? And after I got off the phone, my sis, my other sister was texting me, that mom's just pacing back and forth. Like she's not really making sense. I think she was just stunned by the whole thing. And when I called my brother, I couldn't get ahold of him. And so I just kept calling and calling. And finally I called my brother's wife and she picked up and I just had to tell her so she could relate to him. Cuz at that point I was just in panic mode. I could hear her on the phone telling my brother that I was on the phone and my, I could hear my brother say what? Amy killed her. Amy killed herself, didn't she? Did she? And it's like he just knew too, like he had that sibling feeling the same one that I had, because he ended up texting us probably an hour after my sister had died, to say, I love you both. And he said he had a feeling too, like that. He needed to tell us that. And it's just, you just know, I think like on a sibling level, you'd know. Yeah, and then it, that conversation was quick. And then I think we were all just trying to gather our thoughts at that point and figure out like what comes next. then you go into admin mode, right? Like you have to figure out all the admin stuff which suck because you wish you could put that on someone else, but you can't, so while you're grieving, you're also having to process. How are we gonna lay her to rest? Where are we gonna get the funds for this? what is even happening right now? And yeah, it was just a lot, And then also figuring out how are you gonna tell the world what happened? Because eventually you're gonna have to let people know. And all of that kind of fell on me and it was just hard because. You wanna do it in the right way, but there is no right way when there's such big feelings involved, And so it's very hard for me to look back on my Facebook post that I had originally made when this happened because it's like I was in so much pain when I made that post. I don't know. I wish I could have done it differently. You. Because I didn't come out and say I'm sorry to inform everybody, but it was just more like my sister's gone like this freaking hurts. And it probably wasn't the most like professional way of coming across, to let people know, but it was just like extreme pain and it's very hard to go back to those posts and reread where I was mentally. You.

Dr. Dean:

I think you had mentioned in the initial correspondence we had that she was your only full-blooded sibling?

Sasha:

Yeah. Amy. Yeah. And that's what makes it harder too, because it's, and Amy lent through stuff together that no one will ever know. we're close with our brother. and he just had a different life than we had because he had a different dad. So he spent half his time there. His summers were spent elsewhere, and it was always just me and Amy. So this loss, I don't discredit anybody else's loss. I know my mom lost a daughter. I know my niece lost her mom, and I know my brother lost a sister. My sister-in-law's a sister. But for me it's just, it's so deep because it was me and Amy for so long. and we shared a room until we were teenagers. There's just, how many conversations did we have that no one will ever know about? And it's our whole childhood. There's no one I can reflect on that with anymore. My brother wasn't there. And so you lose a part of yourself and your identity when your sibling goes..

Dr. Dean:

Absolutely. And for you being younger, she was there from the time you were born, and we expect our siblings to be there until old age.

Sasha:

yeah. And I guess I was like a little naive because like I said, we came from a small family and. I remember, I would think like nothing bad can happen to us because there's no way my siblings will be gone because they're all I have. I would, I believe that. And I was naive to think that. yeah, life has a way of showing you you're not above anything,

Dr. Dean:

Mm-hmm. for. Did you feel supported by your family and your friends in that immediate period after she died?

Sasha:

Yeah. it was amazing to see how many people loved Amy. I started a GoFundMe. For her expenses and then whatever else, is now in a savings for her daughter. And, it was amazing to see how many people supported Amy and supported me, A lot of people that we went to school with came out and offered support with, her celebration of life. I had people stopping by. I was seeing faces that I hadn't seen in so long, and I think that's with death, that kind of happens. it brings everybody back and it makes you realize what's important, and I'll never forget the people that supported me through the very beginning of it. the friends that stopped by and. Yeah, I did get support in the beginning. Yeah.

Dr. Dean:

That's fantastic. Do you still feel that support?

Sasha:

No., no. once, everything like settles down and after the celebration of life and it's no fault of them. this loss is very personal and if it's not immediately tied to their life, I don't expect them. Always be thinking of me or how I might be feeling or, I get it, but no, after the first couple of months you stop hearing from people or people don't ask you about them anymore or, yeah, it's very isolating.

Dr. Dean:

And so when you said earlier that you love to talk about her, we know that is a big part of the mourning and grieving process. I'm guessing from what I'm hear you saying is that you don't feel like you have that outlet very often

Sasha:

no.

Dr. Dean:

to share about Amy.

Sasha:

Because in the beginning I felt like I was bursting at the seams of what I wanted to say about her while she was living and how I felt about her death. it was almost like word vomit. I was just so emotional that everything was about Amy and then it would get to the point where it was like, oh gosh, I overshared and now I feel awkward. And then you get enough of those and you just I'm just gonna be quiet now because I can talk all day about it, but that doesn't mean that you wanna talk about it or that you wanna hear about it, And I think for any like friends or family, if you wanna support somebody, I think just being intentional in how you ask. not just saying how are you doing? if you just said how are you doing surrounding the loss of your sister? I think in being more deliberate in what you're asking and giving the person that space, it's easier to know that our feelings are welcome here,

Dr. Dean:

Absolutely. Mm-hmm. that's an important thing for sure to share that what we're asked is oftentimes what we have, that's all we can respond to. so thank you for pointing that out. what has helped you? Cope through this process.

Sasha:

Oh gosh. It's so much. I've tried . I've tried everything. Immediately after my sister had passed, I just wanted to do anything that reminded me of her. So my sister was big and wearing jewelry, and I was just buying jewelry. I never wore jewelry. And now I have all these pieces because it's like, it's something that my sister loved. And I ended up getting her, one of her tattoos that she had. I got the same tattoo. She had left me a note when she passed and I ended up getting a tattoo of her signature. I buy things in her favorite color colors that I didn't even care for before, like mustard yellow, like who? No one likes mustard yellow, but Amy did and she pulled it off so well, and so now I'm buying blankets that are mustard, I set up an altar with her picture and I, that's where I, it's in my living room and I go and I talk to her and like I sit there and, yeah. In my sister's letter that she had wrote me, she told me that she would never be gone, that she would come and visit me as hummingbirds and dragonflies and white butterflies. So when I'm outside and I see those things, like I take it as a sign that my sister is truly there. And

Dr. Dean:

Mm-hmm.

Sasha:

I see those things I just sit outside and I take in like the fresh air and I just try to appreciate like life. I try to find my way back to like appreciating. The little things,

Dr. Dean:

Mm-hmm. And that's so very hard at times.

Sasha:

yeah. It really is. Yeah.

Dr. Dean:

And you said hummingbirds and

Sasha:

White butterflies and dragonflies. Yeah, and it's funny because it's like leading up to me talking with you. I've been just thinking about my sister a lot and What I wanna say about her and hoping that, I share her in a way that brings honor to her. And I've had this humming. We just got snow here, it's 20 degrees here in Washington right now. And this hummingbird has been sitting in front of my house for two days straight. I just feel like it's a sign

Dr. Dean:

Washington State

Sasha:

Yeah, but it's,

Dr. Dean:

in December. There's probably, that's, yeah, that's your sister.

Sasha:

That's what I'm saying. I've never seen a hummingbird in the snow like this. And it's, it doesn't move it, it's perched up on this branch and I can look out right now and it's probably still sitting there for two days straight and I just know it's my sister.

Dr. Dean:

Mm-hmm.

Sasha:

can feel she's saying I got you. You're fine. You can do this.

Dr. Dean:

Mm-hmm. That's beautiful.

Sasha:

Yeah.

Dr. Dean:

So it sounds like you're able to feel the connection to her even now? now

Sasha:

Yeah. it is hard because there are those moments where you wanna text them and you want to call them, and then it's that gut punch reminder every single time. you can't and you never will, And so

Dr. Dean:

Mm-hmm.

Sasha:

I'm just trying to hold on to faith that like I will see her again and I'll get to hug hugger when it's my time, but it just sucks thinking that's gonna be potentially another 50 or so years, Saying that number out loud. It just sucks because I'm only on 18 months coming on 18 months, and it's it's painful, And to think of another few decades like this, ugh, I don't want to.

Dr. Dean:

Yeah, so 18 months. So you've experienced your birthday and hers at least once

Sasha:

Yeah. And that, it's funny that you mentioned that because. My birthday's actually coming up on January 9th, and, I have so much anxiety because I'm turning the age that she was when she passed. And so from this point, I will now be getting older than my sister ever was. And, I don't know how to process that. it's weird and, I'm not looking forward to it. And it's just hard because, Yeah, she should be here. she should be two years older. She should, yeah.

Dr. Dean:

I think that's an aspect that's not talked about enough. It's come up in multiple interviews. You'll probably hear, but it definitely, for me, I was 22 months younger than my brother and those two birthdays were, I became the age he died, and then I became the age

Sasha:

You passed him.

Dr. Dean:

older. Now I'm older than my older brother like that. Those, it's a very hard thing to navigate through.

Sasha:

Was he your only sibling?

Dr. Dean:

Yeah.

Sasha:

Yeah. See, that's hard too, cuz then you're by yourself. And then in my case, it's like I jump into the role of now the oldest sibling, which I don't know anything about . I don't know how to be the oldest. I don't know how to take care of the other ones emotionally the way that Amy did. you as siblings, you have your roles and how you show up in that dynamic. Yeah, I don't know how to be Amy for my brother, And sometimes that's hard too, because I feel this pressure to be strong like Amy was, but I never was the strong one. I'm the emotional one. I cry. Amy's tough, she doesn't cry. I'm emotional and my brother is just whatever he's feeling in that moment. And it's just so hard to try to be what Amy was to him knowing that I'll never be Amy. and he'll never be Amy to me. So the whole family dynamic, I feel shifted when Amy left. And it's hard. The absence is felt. There's a huge hole.

Dr. Dean:

for sure. I think I've probably said this before, but not today. but previously on other recordings, a family system is just like any other system and one, one part breaks. We have to somehow find a way to make it still function. Just like if you're missing a

Sasha:

A limb. Yep.

Dr. Dean:

right? You have to figure out how to work with that. And so obviously you miss Amy more than you would miss your gallbladder, but, your system has changed.

Sasha:

Yes. Yeah, and it's just hard because I like, like I said, I like to isolate, And my brother and Amy, they were callers, and I know my brother calls me a lot, and I'm very dodgy. But that's just how I process it, And Amy hated me for it, and I know Josh hates me for it too, but I wish I could show up for Josh in the way that he means. I wish I could answer every call, and I wish I could tell him that I'm not completely falling apart, but like, I'm, I'm, I'm not okay. And I don't wanna be that burden to other people. I'm not okay. And I don't know how long I won't be. Okay. So for now, I just need to be by myself, And I don't wanna push people away, but for me, that's what's comforting is just I need to process what's happening,

Dr. Dean:

Yeah. Have you pushed other people away as well?

Sasha:

I think unintentionally. Yeah.

Dr. Dean:

Hmm.

Sasha:

I've had friends that, I've had for years that I would talk to every day that I. Texting back, because I just, I'm not the same person anymore, And it's exhausting trying to be that same person, and I know no one expects me to be. But how do you show up as this person now that carries this baggage of grief with you everywhere you go? I don't know that everybody will accept the new me. I don't know if the new me is welcome or if they're gonna be looking. The old me and I don't wanna be exhausted trying to be that old person cuz I, it's gone.

Dr. Dean:

Mm-hmm.

Sasha:

So,

Dr. Dean:

Yeah. Have you accepted yourself where you are?

, Sasha:

sometimes I think that I have, and then sometimes I look back on the past year and a half and I'm just, I think I'm pushing everybody away so I can't be abandoned again, I think I'm just like scared of who's gonna leave next. I don't know. So I'd rather just isolate that way. You can't hurt me cuz I don't know that my heart can take it anymore. I think sometimes I'm doing stuff unintentionally that I can look back on now and see it, but in the moment it's just like I'm I'm drowning, And nothing makes sense to me.

Dr. Dean:

did you ever seek counseling to as a support?

Sasha:

I did multiple times. when it had first happened. My work offers like four sessions of counseling while you're like trying to get outside therapy. So I utilized that because I would be at work just at my desk bawling my eyes out. So I'd run up there just to vent it out and I did that. And then I was working with another therapist. Maybe two months or so during the darkest parts of my grief. And that was helpful. and I recently have just picked it up again. I'm trying, but it's therapy's hard because you have to find someone that you connect with, someone that specializes in grief or even like P T S D, all the things that come with these kind of losses. Finding that connection is exhausting too, because you have to go and search for people, see if they take your insurance, and that is work in itself. And the last thing you wanna do while you're grieving is exert yourself finding a therapist. And I just realized this process is so hard. I see why people don't get help when they need it. Cause it's exhausting.

Dr. Dean:

for sure. you said that first person was helpful., are there things that you would want mental health professionals to know about your grief that you felt like they didn't?

Sasha:

I think for me, the only way I feel like someone would get what I'm going through is if they've experienced it themselves, because I don't think, cuz every loss is unique, right? You have a sibling

Dr. Dean:

Mm-hmm.

Sasha:

which is very deep and then you throw on the suicide on top of it. And if you haven't dealt with that, I just don't think any amount, I personally just feel like I can't connect to certain people. There's a, there's that feeling inside that, like sibling loss. You relate on that. You know that feeling like you know that feeling and I know that feeling. it's something that you can't explain no matter how much you try to talk it out.

Dr. Dean:

for sure. Thank you for sharing that. Yeah. And that's a valid piece about the suicide as well. Like I didn't, my brother didn't die by suicide, but I've had family members and others die by suicide. Do you have specific feelings or things that you'd want to tell me and share on the podcast about what that's been like for you? okay to say,

Sasha:

no, it's okay. I'm a pretty open person. I think it's, it was j I think it ju it was just a huge smack in the face for me, to have to deal with that personally. you hear about suicide and I've always had a heart for it, I've always struggled with depression myself, and suicidal ideation, all those things, So I've always had a place in my heart for people who die that way and people that are that low to and at that point. But, when it hits you personally, There's just no words. Like you're, there's so much. There's always the what ifs. There's no goodbyes, there's no anything. It's just so sudden and it's at their own hand, And it just brings up so much what could I have done? Where were the signs? Did I miss something? What could I have said? It's just, there's so much with suicide, but I think it's hard to process. You are processing, losing them, and then also like, My sister took her own life. Like when you say that, it's just like, I just feel so sorry and sad for her in that moment. I just wish, I could just wrap her up and say it didn't have to be like that. she was worth so much, And I just wish that more people who are going through that, I just hope. They hang on just a little bit longer, because people think that it's not gonna affect anybody and that people are better off without you here. And that's so far from the truth. I can't even tell you how much pain and how much I miss my sister. I would do anything to have her back just so I could tell her how much she's worth, you know? That is so far from the truth. I just wish more people who are going through.. I just wish they would hang on,

Dr. Dean:

Mm-hmm.. Yeah, of course. thank you for sharing all of that. I'm wondering if there's anything that you wanted to share that we haven't talked about.

Sasha:

I had mentioned earlier, if you wanna support somebody who has. Gone through this. just be intentional with how you ask them how they are, because I promise you we wanna talk about it and we wanna get our feelings out and we want the world to know about our siblings. And if you care about somebody who's going through a loss, the way you can show up is just asking them, how are you doing on this specific subject? I can't stress that enough, And I think for me, like I just, when I'm like heavily thinking about my sister, I will post on Instagram about her. I'll share a picture of her and I just want, I don't know, I just wanna keep her memory alive. So I just hope, for people who haven't suffered this kind of loss, when you see people sharing that stuff and maybe you grow tired of it or it seems repetitive to you just know the people sharing are probably in. The deepest parts of their grief, and and hurt for the people that they miss. So just think of it on the other side of things,

Dr. Dean:

Mm-hmm. thank you for sharing that. Do you wanna share a favorite memory or few of her? Because we lose our memory keepers when we lose our siblings.

Sasha:

That's

Dr. Dean:

yeah.

Sasha:

That's the thing that I struggle with the most is Amy's memory was so much better than mine. I swear I cannot remember anything, which is like, it sucks for me because I feel like I'm so spacey, even with memories of Amy and I try to think of all the good things, but it's I just remember being kids with Amy. It's like whatever she said I was gonna do, and like I said, if Amy was running away, I was running away with her. And I remember I was probably six and she was. Maybe five and seven. But yeah, she wanted to run away, so we packed all of our stuff and we ran away into the woods behind our house at the time. And we had no plan, nowhere to go, but we were just, gonna be outside together and, Yeah. And when we finally decided it's too cold to be out here on our own, we need to go home, we finally went home and as punishment, which it sounds bad what I'm about to say, but it really wasn't, cuz it's just who my brother's dad was. But he made us sleep outside. He said, if you wanna run away, you guys are gonna sleep outside. He packed up all of our stuff in garbage bags and Amy had to sleep on the back porch and I had to sleep on the front. And I just remember, this is the kind of like sibling. Amy was like, she came around in the middle of the night and gave me her blanket. because she knew I was cold and then she went back in the back to sleep without one. Amy just always looked out for me when I got put in the corner, for timeout or whatever. Amy would bring me to the stool to sit on cuz she knew my legs were tired from standing in the corner. that was just Amy, And like I never realized how much she looked out for me because it was just the dynamic. It was just the norm, Any time I was too lazy to get up and get a glass of water as kids, I would just pretend that my throat was so dry and I was too tired and I couldn't get up. And I would, Amy would be annoyed, but she'd get me that cup of water, like she would always do it. And there were other times like I never learned how to swallow my bubble gum. And if we were out somewhere and there was no trash can, Amy would swallow my bubble gum for me. And it's like she just she took care of me and it took. Losing her to look back on all of that and what seemed so simple while she was still alive, oh, those are just things that sibling does. It's no, Amy loved me so much. She would've done anything for me, even swallowing my bubblegum. that's so gross, . And

Dr. Dean:

Yeah,

Sasha:

and I just missed that unconditional love because it's I don't know that I'll ever find that again. And I. I wish she was here That, so that I could give that back to her now that I know how much she was suffering,

Dr. Dean:

yeah, for sure. And to maybe swallow her bubble gum

Sasha:

Yeah. I would do it now if I could. I still can't swallow bubble gum,

Dr. Dean:

I don't think that's a skill that you probably need to learn,

Sasha:

I know.

Dr. Dean:

I thank you for chatting today. Is there anything else you wanna share or ask or.

Sasha:

no. I just wanna thank you. Thank you for allowing me this platform to, to talk about my sister. I needed this and, it came at the right time.

Dr. Dean:

Fantastic. I appreciate you coming on and sharing, about her. I feel like I know her a little bit from your story. Also excited that I hope that Hummingbird doesn't leave.

Sasha:

I bet you she's out there right

Dr. Dean:

there with you.

Sasha:

Yeah.

Dr. Dean:

Yeah, . All right. Thank you so much for listening. Our theme song was written by Joe Mylwood and Brian Dean, and was performed by Joe Mylwood. If you would like more information on the Broken Pack, go to our website, the broken pack.com. Be sure to sign up for our newsletter, Wild Grief, to learn about opportunities and receive exclusive information and grieving tips for subscribers. Information on that, our social media and on our guests can be found in the show notes wherever you get your podcasts. Please follow, subscribe, and share. Thanks again.

Intro
About Sasha
About Amy
Their Sibling Relationship
Sasha's Guilt
Losing Amy
A Sister Having to Make the Calls
Sharing Her Devastating News with the World
Immediate Support
Absence of Support After the Celebration of Life
Talking about Amy and Sasha's Advice for Talking to Grievers
Continuing Bonds
Hummingbird in Winter: A Visit from Amy
Birthdays
Family Dynamics After Sibling Loss
Pushing People Away
Sasha's Experience with Finding Professional Counseling
Sasha's Wisdom: Be Intentional in Supporting Others
Sasha's Favorite Memories with Amy
Outro