The Broken Pack™: Stories of Adult Sibling Loss

Surviving Sibling Loss and the Impact on Identity: Elly / Laura

June 28, 2023 Dr. Angela Dean / Elly Hughes Season 2 Episode 6
The Broken Pack™: Stories of Adult Sibling Loss
Surviving Sibling Loss and the Impact on Identity: Elly / Laura
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Surviving Sibling Loss and the Impact on Identity

In this episode our guest, surviving sibling,  Elly shares with Dr. Dean about losing her life person, her sister, Laura, a talented musician. They explore how Laura’s death impacted her,  setting boundaries and navigating therapy in the UK.  Elly shares the changes in dynamics within the circles of family, friends and workplace  as well as how misunderstood sibling loss continues to be for her. 

Elly shares how she believed she wasn’t allowed to live life fully because of her sister’s death and the process of beginning to change that. She also describes the painful, yet rewarding, process of learning to cope with her grief.

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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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Angela M. Dean, PsyD, FT

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Dr. Dean:

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. In today's episode, I had the pleasure of speaking with Elly about losing her sister Laura. Ellie lives in the UK, and We had the chance to discuss some differences and what counseling and support look like for grieving people. We also talked about how losing her person, losing her only sibling has meant navigating life differently than she expected. I hope you enjoyed the episode. Welcome to the show. Ellie, I was wondering what you would like our listeners to know about you.

Elly:

Hi. Thank you for having me first of all. I'm Ellie, I'm from this place called Swindon in the southwest of England. So for those that aren't gonna know where that is, if you're familiar with like Bristol in England or around Londony sort of way, it's probably easier to, to throw that one out there. I've lived here my whole life, haven't left just yet. I've been in recruitment for a long time and I live with my partner. all of my family are pretty much based in Swindon as well, so we're born and bred here So my sister, again was born and raised in England and in Swindon as well.

Dr. Dean:

All right, well thank you for that and I'm excited to hear a little bit more too. I think our. Cultures around death and grieving are slightly different from what I understand. So be interested to

Elly:

Yeah, same. Same.

Dr. Dean:

Before we get into the, the difficult stories around loss and what it's meant for your grief, I was wondering if you could tell us a little bit about Laura and who she was and your relationship with her.

Elly:

Yeah, absolutely. So Laura was my big sister, so she's around five to six years older than me and she was, music. Music's the first thing that that springs to mind. Whenever I speak about her, whenever I think about her really musical, she was so talented. I'm talking piano, clarinet, saxophone, flute, guitar, you name it. She learned it and she played it and was really successful with music. she was a funny one. She she'd wear odd socks. You'd never see her wearing the same pair of socks. and it was always a running joke, how polar opposite we were. So you've got me, I love my fake tan, my makeup and bleach in my hair and clothes. And I used to, take the mick outta her saying, can you please paint your toenails? At least paint your toenails. And she wasn't into anything that I was into, but, but we were close. I, I refer to her as my life person, if that makes sense. She's one of the first significant people in my life and was the constant for the, the three years that I was lucky to have her. So yeah, she, she was amazing. Very clever. She was a nurse as well, so was always put in others before her and, and really good at her job. Really good at her job. I'll get into this later on, but she faced some barriers and some issues with her work and she always kept trying. She just wanted to stay being a nurse. She was funny. She was, she was very, very funny, very sweet. Had the biggest heart, I think I know. just a, just a wonderful person. Just a wonderful person. And faced so many battles. I hear other people's stories and it's not about who's been through worse. Everyone's story is different, I feel, but I do feel that my sister Laura had an extremely difficult card dealt in life and, and still was loving and caring and, and tried to be happy all the way through. So, so that's my sister. In a nutshell, little ball of love is, is what I would describe.

Dr. Dean:

Yeah. and so how long ago did you lose her?

Elly:

it was 9th of August, 2016. So nearly seven years now. Nearly

Dr. Dean:

Oh, wow. Mm-hmm. You said that you were close with her. Are there particular things that, I'm sure you miss all of her. Are there things that come up that you miss more

Elly:

yeah,

Dr. Dean:

at different times in that seven years than you did initially or,

Elly:

So recently, actually, good timing with this. So the recent thing, I dunno what words are, the recent thing is I'm missing my big sister. Now I know that's stating the obvious. It's really clear that that is what I'm gonna do, but I'm missing. That element in my life that that older person that you've got that connection with because they're your sibling. I've had a few obstacles, shall we say, lately in life where she would be the first person that I would go to. she's the person that I fully trust, fully trust. there have been times that I've been too embarrassed or ashamed to talk about how I'm feeling about certain things in life. But no question, no judgment from her. I'd go straight to her. So, so lately in life, so I'll say the past year and a half, I've really, really missed having an older sibling figure. And she, she was awful with advice by the way. She, her advice didn't match up with what I needed, but her heart was there and that was enough. and even if it was what I would class as rubbish advice, that would've worked for me. She'd always try and come up with something. She'd never say, I can't help you, or I haven't got anything to say. She'd always, she's always try and, And give me something to advice. So for example, if I'm struggling in a job, say I'm really not enjoying a job, she'd suggest something like, so I, I trained as a beauty therapist, she'd, she'd suggest, why don't you go be a plumber? Match up to what I need. it's, I think it's that sister love that, that i, I miss the most. Cause it's, it's one of those, isn't it? You don't realize what you have until it's not here anymore. And I've really noticed in the past seven years, it's that go-to, you didn't really, you don't realize how much you go to that person until you can't anymore. So yeah, it's, it's that. So in a long-winded answer, which is standard me, to be fair, it's, it's all of her actually. It's, it's warts and all the whole package. It was a big part of my life and I became a person as a result of that. And then that part completely went. So, so it's, it's like again, stating the obvious i'd, I'd rather have it back. All of it.

Dr. Dean:

Right, of course. You mentioned that she was really connected to music. Do you find yourself having a connection with

Elly:

Oh wow. Yeah. Big time. So again, it's funny what you look back on, isn't it? Because I used to, this is gonna sound like I was a bully, but I used to take the mick outta her music taste, for example. I think it's like natural siblings that are different. She did the same back to me. She'd be like, what is that rubbish you're listening to? But these days it's funny cause I listen to exactly what she listened to and I now understand why she loved that music so much. She loved everything. Very eclectic music taste. It would jump from the Pirates of the Caribbean soundtrack to JayZ or something like that. So very eclectic. But I find times. Where I miss her, or I just wanna feel a sense of, of Laura, I'll listen to specific music and it's everything but what I'm currently listening to, it's going back to the classical or the jazz or things like that. But yeah, no, I feel like music is my ongoing connection with Laura.

Dr. Dean:

Mm-hmm. Well, thank you. I think we have a little bit of a sense of her and it was just a

Elly:

it'll miss music, basically.

Dr. Dean:

thank you. Yeah. Was she a

Elly:

Yeah. Yeah, so she was absolutely fantastic at the saxophone, clarinet, and piano. She played quite a lot, but those were her main, her main instruments,

Dr. Dean:

So what would you feel comfortable sharing with our listeners about losing Laura?

Elly:

What part would you like to listen to? the day or the after?

Dr. Dean:

Well, let's start with what it was like even just learning

Elly:

Yeah, yeah,

Dr. Dean:

and leading up to

Elly:

yeah. That day. Are you happy for me to go into that day? Because it was a bit of a strange day. It was very strange.

Dr. Dean:

absolutely. Whatever you're comfortable with. Mm-hmm.

Elly:

with this. So that day, I dunno if others or yourself will understand this, I knew something was wrong. I can't tell you why. I cannot tell you why. Because I went to work as normal and I didn't, I didn't work in, at the time, it was about an hour commute, so it wasn't local. Everything about that day was the same, got up the same time, got dressed, makeup, running late, get in the car, and I got to work and that something wasn't sitting right in me. And, and as the day was going on, I started picking up on things from my parents, for example. So it, it wasn't unusual to be in contact with my parents throughout the day. My sister experienced some, some health problems, so it, again, it wasn't unusual to communicate with each other throughout the day, but one of my parents, I was reading their messages as unusual, like something was going on and there was just, i, I, these days, we'd call it red flags maybe.

Dr. Dean:

Mm-hmm.

Elly:

wasn't wanting to talk to me, but kept texting me, for example. I just, I just knew something was wrong and I went the whole day with weird messages, not making sense, not physically speaking to anybody. I can remember turning around to a lady I worked with and, and I just made a comment that might have been inappropriate at the time. I made a comment referring to, I think she's dead. As, as upfront as that. And this lady turned around and went, no, no, that isn't the case. I'm pretty sure you'd know. And I just looked at, I said, no, something's up. And I finished work, dropped my friend off as usual, so everything's still very normal. And my partner at the time would call me halfway through my journey home to sort of break it up a bit. And that didn't happen that day, that one day that didn't happen. And I thought, he's avoiding me. Ok, something's, something's happened. And as I got into my area where I lived at the time, I can remember thinking, and again, I can't explain where this has come from, I think it was just my insides just screaming at me. But I can remember thinking, I don't, I don't wanna go and see my mum and dad. I just don't, I don't wanna do it because they'd. And, they wouldn't usually request for me to go over, cause my days were very long, very long. and I, I knew I needed to go and I can remember parking outside the house and I sat in my car and I had all these thoughts going, but I, again, I knew deep down there was something that I wasn't gonna like coming soon. And my body was just going, don't go in the house, don't do it. But I had to, you know, I had to go and see my mum and dad and I can remember, so the house, like I was parked up in the stairs to go down to the house. So it's almost like they lived on sort of like a slope. I could remember walking down the steps and I could see my mom and dad in the kitchen. Now the blinds were a bit open so I could see what they were looking like. I wanted to get a feel bearing in mind. This is all like split second, isn't it, in these moments. And I can remember reading my dad's body language and I just had his face, he had his head, his head and his hands almost, And, walked into the house the vibe was not ok. I, I just, again, can't describe. So I'm not very good at like that bit, but it's just the feeling of the house was usually like a warm, fuzzy, noisy, someone's always in and out. And there was silence. Silence. And I, all I did, I walked into the kitchen. My dad sat at like the breakfasty bar sort of area in the kitchen again, couldn't look at me. And then my mum was, stood almost like she didn't know what to do with herself. And that's when my body's going, yep, you're about to receive some horrible news. And, Side note, I was a bit used to that because of the nature of what my sister experienced in her life. Like, there was some scary times. So again, equipped ready for this, not ready for what happened next at all. my mom's words, was like, I'm sorry, love. She, she's died, she's dead. And I can remember that was my first experience of nearly fainting, I think, in life. before I knew what was happening, I'm going backwards. I can't stand up. My parents are a mess. And I, I went and sat outside straight away. I can remember asking what happened, why, what happened? and they couldn't say. They couldn't say, they couldn't tell me because they didn't know. And so I just went straight outside and I can remember those moments very clearly. I can remember very well sitting there straight away telling myself my life was over. I can remember my body and my brain telling me my life was over and. That's where my shock set in for a very long time. From that point, very long time. The shock went on for, but that's the day, that's, that's the day that's literally, I went to work, I finished, found out my sister had died at nine o'clock that morning. That morning. So,

Dr. Dean:

And so no one wanted you to have a different kind of day, but it ended up

Elly:

Yeah. And I can remember my mum telling me, not on that day, but as time went on, the reason because I went quite a while being upset at finding out when I did. it was all to do with, she wanted me to drive home safely knowing I had a bit of a dodgy drive home an hour, and it wasn't a main roadway. It was quite a, a dangerous way if I wasn't concentrating. So I understand. I do understand it was difficult finding out at six o'clock compared to nine in the morning when.

Dr. Dean:

Mm-hmm. What do you think about that? Now, it sounds like you understand that, but that's a long period of time to not have that news, but you had a sense, like you were able to say to

Elly:

Yeah, I knew it. I can't, I really can't tell you how I knew. I just, there was something about the situation and for a long time, I'll be honest, I was very upset that I found out when I did. And I, I did. I carried that for a long time and it wasn't until later times in therapy when I actually said the words, it upset me that I found out when I did, but move forward to now where I am now. I completely understand. My mum and dad were helpless in that whole situation, and how do you tell your daughter that their sisters died that morning when they work so far away? So I do understand

Dr. Dean:

Right. Mm-hmm. In those days after that, how did you, like, did you get support from people or like what was happening for you

Elly:

This is, this was a very difficult, difficult time. I think on the outside, people would perceive these situations to making the remaining family closer, but I, I could have had a hundred people around me, 24/7, and I, I would still feel, there were things that one parent was capable of doing times. Again, understandably, very distressed. Very distressed, very heartbroken. I, it was a devastating situation for us as a family, but them as parents. But it, it made me worse. It, it made me feel worse inside, but I felt compelled to spend time with them nonstop in those days after there was no way I was leaving them. but I felt at the time, and this, this is purely based on how I felt at the time. It's not to say that behaviors were behind it, but I did feel it was a them and me situation. Even though I was there, I was at the family home a lot, which again, was very hard. I didn't find it comfortable ever going back to that house after finding out that day, even though she didn't die there, it was our family home. So I did struggle and I was there a lot. I found myself doing a lot that I was uncomfortable doing to try and make things easier for my parents. and that was a real rough time. That was, that went on for quite a while. Actually years I'm talking of, of doing things that I'm like, if I was now with my mindset, now, I'd be explaining I have to have boundaries for this. But I didn't know about boundaries at the life. so I just doing everything power to try and make life better. But looking back, how can you fix that heartache at that time? You can't. But that was a rough

Dr. Dean:

right, right. And it, yeah, it's not necessarily about fixing it, but that's what you need. You felt like you needed in the moment. Yeah.

Elly:

Yeah. Like, again, that moment I told myself that my life was over, the next thought was, I have to do everything to make this better for them. So I, I, I went on to, to do all sorts that I wouldn't have usually. and then, yeah, I made it worse.

Dr. Dean:

For you. For them. For everyone.

Elly:

To my understanding, just me. But again, it, not that they've ever verbalized that, but we don't really talk about the early time, in fact, as a family, so me, mum and dad, we don't actually talk about Laura together very much. One parent I don't think is very comfortable. The other, I do quite a lot, but one parent has different ways of coping, I think, and different personalities and yeah, everything's different. I think someone dies. Every single person has a different grief story, don't they? And it's like, how do you manage that under one roof?

Dr. Dean:

Right.

Elly:

work.

Dr. Dean:

Well, all of your relationships with Laura were different, and so it makes sense that the grief was different for sure. do you go back to that house now?

Elly:

I drive past it. So they actually went on to move from that house, only a couple of years ago. It was literally as lockdown had started over here that they moved hell for them, bless them. But, they left the family home and I have to drive past that now and then, like if I need to get to the doctors or, I've got a couple of friends who, who live up there and, I drive past it now. And it's strange ever since they left, ever since they left, I feel like I have no attachment to the house. It's my memories of where I grew up before they moved. I really struggled going whilst they were in the house, but Laura hadn't been in that house for years. many reasons like her health, mobility issues and things like that. so she hadn't actually physically been there for a long time when she died, but I did. I struggled. I really struggled even step stepping foot into that house.

Dr. Dean:

Mm-hmm. And that's the house you grew up in?

Elly:

Yeah. Yeah. So I was there forever. I was born there and then left when I went to do adult life. but that, that was where our whole upbringing was. So that's the turn of memories and situations that there,

Dr. Dean:

so it's been seven years, like where would you say you are in grieving currently?

Elly:

Do you know what, this is gonna maybe sound like a bit of a strange response, but I feel like I've never been so clear on what I'm feeling and why, so I'm very, like, the confusion's gone for me. That's, I was confused for a long time. I'd even find myself sitting there being like, why am I upset? I understand, I'm upset my sister died. That's upsetting now. Now I allow myself to, to be upset, but I had a lot of confusion around a lot of things and a lot of struggles. But now I also have more heartache than I used to have. So for me, when I hear people saying, these lines, time's a healer, and all this stuff that really irritates me personally, time hasn't healed me. time's allowed me to get used to this life without her. And actually my heartache gets more as time goes on. She, she's missed me getting engaged. she's missed me doing well in life. She only ever saw me stressed and. And what we would classes off the rails maybe. didn't get to see me achieve. And my partner, who I'm marrying is who I've grown up with. So she knows him and she hasn't seen where we've got to. And the plans that we've got in the house, we've got together and that hurts. So we've, each good thing that happens, I find it actually does make it worse for me. And, yeah, so time goes on. The hurt increases for me,

Dr. Dean:

Mm-hmm.

Elly:

But I, I manage it well. I'd like to say I manage it well. I have my times where it dips like, the standard birthdays or the, the anniversary of her death or Christmas. Oh, Christmas is rough as well. but there are these random times. So for example, I'll give you a recent one. I'm in a job. That I'm not enjoying, let's just put it that way. I'm not having fun in this job. I get real imposter syndrome and cuz I'm so tenacious and I wanna do so well for myself, when things go wrong with work, it does it, I do, I struggle with my moods and things like that. and it's really opened up that Laura grief box. It, it makes me just wanna be with her. Like again, it makes me just wanna have a hug from her or I find myself going to the crematorium just to have my alone time with my thoughts with her when things like this happen. So like,

Dr. Dean:

Hmm.

Elly:

All I want to do is speak to her and nobody else, so I can't speak to her. So I won't speak to anybody else. It gets quite intense. It does. and no matter how much therapy I've had, I've tried different things. I think sometimes, and I may be wrong, I may be completely, completely wrong, but I think sometimes you, you, you do just have that hurt because of how much that person meant to you. And like I said, like I refer to her as my life partner, and I think that's a pretty big deal to just get all right with over time.

Dr. Dean:

Right. And for her not to be doing life with you as your life partner, that's hard. And she's missed a lot.

Elly:

yeah. Yeah. It sucks. It really sucks. Yeah. Yeah.

Dr. Dean:

You mentioned therapy there and I know when you made the first contact you mentioned that you've spent a lot of pounds. Actually seeing the pound sign is, it's funny cuz I was like, oh, that's pou, that's money. so you've spent a lot of pounds on therapy and I was just wondering if you could share a little bit about what that was like. you said that there weren't a lot of resources for you.

Elly:

Yes. So it would be interesting to see if it's similar. On your side of the world. but for me, the first thing I did was I, I knew I wasn't right. This was a few months after, she died. I knew I wasn't feeling right, I wasn't functioning, didn't wanna work, didn't want to do anything. And now I was a person that was always out partying, socializing. You'd never catch me in. I was here, there and everywhere, and I suddenly wasn't doing that anymore. And I suddenly wasn't wearing makeup anymore. And suddenly I didn't care if I showered. And I wasn't even wearing my Britney Spears perfume that I wear every day. So it was like I knew something was wrong, and I contacted the doctor and, and essentially the options given to me were tablets or group therapy. So at that time, I took what I was offered and eligible for, for free. And it, and it wasn't enjoyable. It wasn't enjoyable. So soon. At my age, cause I was 23, I was quite young when, when she died, going to bereavement classes with, and this is no disrespect, but I feel it, it was the wrong group. Like I was sat amongst people that had lost, lost their, their husbands and their wives. And they were all in like, what I think were like their sixties and seventies. And I couldn't understand their grief and they couldn't understand mine. And it really distressed me being in those sessions. So I started researching myself. I thought, no, let's look for something more specific. I think nothing. I kid you not, nothing. Back then, I, I was searching for forums, even like, I thought, oh, I'll speak to other people that have lost a sister or a brother, maybe nothing. I thought, oh, let's look for groups or workshops. And my closest one was three hours away. like a three hour drive and it just like nothing was working and I was struggling more because of that. I think I needed something. So my mum, it was my mum actually who suggested to me, I go to a counselor or a psychotherapist. So I thought, no, I'm going straight for the psychotherapist. That's exactly what I'm doing. Cause my mind is not feeling very well. So I'm going straight in for the more what I thought would be like in depth sort of intervention sort of thing. And that's where I started my journey with a lady who I believe saved me in those early days. And it was 50 pounds a session. So I dunno what that looks like over your way. But for us here, that is quite expensive for like a. therapy session, but I did it weekly. and then I did that for a long time and then I went biweekly. So I've, I've, even in those early days, my first therapy journey, I spent so much money, but I will still say it was worth it. It was worth every penny because that, that woman gave me that safe space to talk about things that would've never left my mouth, I don't think, if I hadn't have had that platform to do it. she helped me establish things. She made me piece together my childhood and all these really helpful tools, but at the same time, I'm still 23 years old. I've lost my sister. It was a lot like, I can remember

Dr. Dean:

Right.

Elly:

these sessions like I'm a weirdo. I'm very weird cause of how I was talking and how I was thinking and feeling, but that was just the start of me starting to be open with what I was feeling. I think actually the. Pre Laura's death. I wouldn't talk to anybody. I would not, nobody would know that I had anything going on in my life, let alone the stuff that she had to experience when she was alive, let alone when she died. So I was a serial bottle, upper like cereal. but this lady, the psychotherapist has given me the tools to be able to speak to you today probably. If it wasn't for that,

Dr. Dean:

That's what I was just thinking.

Elly:

yeah, this, she's amazing. I messaged her the other day actually. Like I, you do, I think like you get to know your therapist very well, especially if you're someone like me that it was like a year and a half or two years down the line. I'm still trotting down the road to go to my Sessions to see her, but she, I don't think she'll ever know just how much impact she had because she was the only person. Do you get what I mean by saying when someone hears you, like someone can listen, but she heard me like she heard me, heard me. She got me and. If it wasn't for her, I'd still be blaming myself for a lot of stuff. That wasn't my fault. So though she's so important, that woman, but it, the psychotherapy did stop. There was a time it stopped cause it wasn't doing anything anymore. it, it, it got to the point where I thought, I, I can, I can talk forever me, I can, I can definitely talk, but I'm talking about the same things and I'm feeling the same issues. So it got to a point where I needed something else. I needed something else. And tablets and psychotherapy weren't doing it anymore. So I, I moved on to another therapy. Very expensive. All of it's expensive. That's one thing I've observed.

Dr. Dean:

it's not covered by your healthcare or

Elly:

so this is very interesting. So I feel like, I feel like in England we're so lucky to have the nhs, so we're so lucky to have that service because like I look at other countries that have to pay for things that I don't. So for example, today again, I'll be open. Today I picked up my prescription for some antidepressants for a small dose of those, and it's nine pounds, something for my three months worth. Other countries would have to pay so much more for just that one point. And I don't pay the doctor's appointments and stuff. However, mental health, mental health is an issue over here. Big, big, big issue. You have access to some free things, but again, it's those group sessions that I mentioned, they were free. you don't. This is just my experience that other people might have had differently, but I couldn't find the one-on-one that would be covered. And, and we don't really run by private medical healthcare over here. Some people do. I think if, I think if you're in a bit of a more fortunate situation, should we say you'd have private healthcare? there's not, there's not a lot covered here, if I'm being honest.

Dr. Dean:

That's interesting because here we. our insurance is expensive and, but, and I'm a psychologist and I'm one that takes insurance. Not all therapists or psychologists do. but it's interesting cuz that's still usually an option in most places in the US there are some cities where mental healthcare, you can't find a provider that'll take insurance, but a lot of places you can. So that's that. So you had to choose, do I have as a grieving sibling go into this group of people that don't understand my loss

Elly:

Yeah.

Dr. Dean:

and you're already feeling like not understood and not being able to talk.

Elly:

And not heard and not important. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah. And so I made the decision to pay and my parents were great. I was very, very fortunate to have their financial support. They, they've always been, one thing I would say is even with her alive, they were always very keen for me to be okay and supported. So, yeah, and still to this day, I'm pretty sure that they would still financially cover me if I needed it. Thankfully I'm in a position where I've actually grown up now, so I don't need bank of mom and dad, but I, I'm pretty sure that they would, they will do anything to, to help where they can. Cause I, I know they feel they can't help me in other ways, so, but yeah, it's very unfortunate that you have to pay for things. but I don't regret paying for it. At the same time, I'm so glad that I did that. I see people, other people who I feel would benefit, and that's not to sound right, but just from experiences and knowing them very well, who either won't or can't pay. So there's a whole load of people in this country. This is an ongoing issue. I dunno if it's the same for your side, an ongoing issue that mental health is very underfunded here and there's a lot of people. That should be helped. That can't be helped. And mental health is rife here, especially after covid. I imagine that's everywhere. a lot of

Dr. Dean:

is true

Elly:

struggling. The struggle, like honestly, it's so sad, isn't it? You see people that you would refer to as like the rocks and the resilient people. And everyone's capable of crumbling and aren't they? And the help just isn't there that easily. And I had a doctor's appointment yesterday, so I've been off meds for quite a while, quite a while, like a couple of years now. And recently, like I have no shame in this. I have struggled. Like I have really struggled for various reasons and it took me three weeks to get seen. So from that call from me saying, I'm worrying about my thoughts, I'm worrying about how I'm feeling. It was three weeks before I was even

Dr. Dean:

Oh wow. Mm-hmm. Yeah. There's such a delay here too. And that got worse with the pandemic as well. Yeah. It's hard to get in. which is unfortunate worldwide, it sounds like.

Elly:

It is. It is a shame, isn't it?

Dr. Dean:

What else has helped you cope? Because you said you mentioned other things, and if you're willing to share

Elly:

Yeah. Yeah. So throughout my journey, there has been this thing, right? Hate exercising. I actually, I hate. Admit, I'm very lazy, I just don't like it. And I got a personal trainer right when she died. I thought, I need some focus in my life. And I'd put on quite a bit of weight from overeating. So me and mum joked, we actually joked that we're probably the only people in the world that put on loads of weight when someone died, but I imagine other people would've done. But, we were so stressed that we just were trying to eat to comfort, and I put on so much weight. So now, now I'm left like 24 years old now. And not only am I really grieving, really struggling, not understanding life or any of it, I'm also really tubby and not comfortable in my own skin. So I thought, do you know what I'm getting a personal trainer. So there've been mo this has been on and off for the past seven years, this exercise thing, suddenly enough about to rejoin the gym to try and help again. But the exercise in the gym, it did actually help. I have to, I have to vouch for that. I know it works. It, it worked for me. And not only did it. Helped me get some control and consistency. I lost weight as well, so I was healthier and feeling better. that only goes so far though. Cause these things happen in life where feelings can mean you don't get motivated anymore, so then you don't go. My, personal trainer at the time, he was a diamond. He knew the full situation and got to know me as a person. So when I was too anxious to walk through the door of the gym, he'd walk in with me like, so. He was a very special part of, of my journey as well. what else helped me? Music. Music, again, on my own, listening to music, walking, I like long walks. So I don't like active exercise where I'm getting outta breath, but I'm happy to casually walk somewhere. So I, I walk a lot, especially now, the sun's decided to surface here in England now. So, I can go and have my sunshine walks and I like forest. So I actually, I established that it was covid that made me realize it was that, but the whole way through it's been forest. So obviously nature seems to sooth me a bit. and there are people, there are certain people that got me through. that's an important subject for me is the support because, and again, I, I don't wanna sound disrespectful to anybody or cause offense to the people that have been part of my journey, but there was a severe lack of understanding and support. I'm talking from colleagues, friends, my family, I don't wanna completely out these people, but there are some family members that would be considered as close members that still to this day haven't asked me how I am on the back of Laura's death. So, you know those situations where you can't expect from people because they don't understand and great, I'm glad you don't understand, but you know, that feeling of being let down and disappointed by family and friends, I, carried a lot of difficulty with those feelings until a year ago, only. So six years of carrying, feeling like people weren't doing enough or anything. but my, my partner, he's another significant, significant part of this, for many reasons he knew her as well. So when we were little and at school, he knew her in older years, knew her. And, our relationship side, Started after she died. Right. But we were very, very good friends growing up. me and my partner, but he, I, I think he's the one that deserves the top marks. Like he's up there with my psychotherapist and my personal trainer. These were all important people as to why I'm still here and okay today. And he's the reason I can experience happiness. later on, my parents, I, I have to give them full credit. This is a difficult part for me. it's, I don't feel like there's a person at fault for this. It may well be me. You never know. I, I don't know because I haven't had the conversation. But I did feel like, that it was a them and me situation. We, we have a group chat on WhatsApp called Line of three that was set up as soon as she died that we, we needed to communicate about funerals and like all these things, that line of three chat is still there, but, and I used to. Openly talk to others about, we've got our little line of three now. I used to think, no, it's a two and a one. It's a two and a one. Your parents, I'm the sibling. There's no way we can go through this journey together. And I do feel, and I do strongly feel that they went on their journey and I went on mine, but recent years, I cannot express how thankful I am for their support. It's, it's, it's all I need. And what I've got, it's, it's amazing. And the, the stuff that I can understand now, I couldn't, at that age, I don't think I put myself in people's shoes. I like to do that. I like to try and think. And now, cuz I haven't had children, myself, but the thought of having one and one not being here anymore is devastating and very different to a sibling. I think. I think it's too different to be able to go through it together. But then, That's just my opinion on, based on what I've gone through with them. But the parents side I struggled with. I did struggle to see them be around them. there were times that I've been really hurt by comments, not from them, but I dunno if others may have experienced this. But one real rough thing I used to feel was when people used to say, your poor parents. Your poor parents. I cannot imagine what your parents are going through. Do you know what I felt like doing in these moments? Being like, sibling, I've lost,

Dr. Dean:

Yeah.

Elly:

lost someone that's been in my life my whole life so far, actually. but no one ever, no one ever. There was a few people cause they've stuck, but not many people, like when she died, I had my Facebook was inundated by people cause she was a popular girl as well. Like she was a very, very well loved girl. And my messages were all to pass on to my parents. There wasn't one really like many that were directed towards me. And it's still to this day,

Dr. Dean:

That's so

Elly:

to this day. And it's madness. Madness.

Dr. Dean:

Yeah. It's so hard because. Of course we want our parents to be cared for and asked about, but if you don't feel seen or understood, is there something that you would say without outing the people who they were, but is there something that you would say to them now that you couldn't say to

Elly:

yeah. This is the problem, right? So, well, should I use the word problem? So I've gone through as we, I've gone through quite a lot of therapy, so I'm finally like, Back to my own Gobby self. but there's a lot, there's a lot I would say. So I've lost a lot of friends on this journey. those deep meaningful friendships that, those proper like girl gang friendships that you can get from school or college upwards. I had those, I had, I, I was popular myself, I didn't see it at the time, but I had a lot of people around me or wanting to be around me until things go wrong with you. That's, this is what I, I really struggled. And, there was a particular group, there was a particular group of girls and we called ourselves, funnily enough, a wolf pack. We refer to ourselves as a wolf pack. And that was based on the strength for each other and everything. And I started to struggle with this friendship group. It was quite a large one. They'd all gone to school together. I'd gone to a different school, but I was friends with one. That's how I got introduced to the group. So then, yeah, I, as time went on, started struggling more with certain things. So I don't drink alcohol anymore. And I started to make that decision quite soon into my grief. Very simple. It makes me grieve more. The alcohol doesn't like me anymore and I just don't do it anymore. But they were all wanting to go out clubbing still, and they were all about other stuff that I'm not into. And the differences just started to show, but they actually started being quite nasty to me. I've had this group tell me that I'm a bad friend. Because I couldn't be available for someone whose dog was ill or something like that. But at the time, I was really, really struggling to come to the terms with the death of my sister and I couldn't be available to go out all the time, plus didn't want to. and that whole group, eventually, one by one, started turning their backs on me. and I'd have comments like, I'm hard work. I'm hard work, I'm hard work to be around, like, the gist of like just people not getting it. So if I could say what I wanted to say now, it would literally, like, it would probably come out like not okay words. but I don't think I'd be bitter anymore. Like, again, I'm glad they don't understand what I've gone through. In fact, every single person in that group has their sibling alive still. So I'm really glad that their life is still intact like that. one thing I would do is what I didn't is stand up for myself and say, I'm not a problem. I'm going through hell. Something you don't understand. I understand you don't understand it, but you don't have to be horrible to me and make me feel any worse than I do on a day-to-day basis. They, again, I don't really wanna like say the words that were used against me, but it was essentially like, I'm a poo friend. I'm, I'm, I'm a bad person. I'm boring. I'm boring because I don't go out anymore. Like what sort of good friend takes someone out who has depression and gets them absolutely on vodka? Like

Dr. Dean:

Right.

Elly:

sort of situation. workplace. I've really struggled since that day. She died to work and I've jobs for various reasons, whether it's been redundancy, covid, it's nature of recruitment. You move quite frequently. I've been in quite a few corporate environments and I'm a very open person. It's like, Hey, this happened in my life. It changed me a bit. I'm quite sensitive. I work a particular way. Now there are times of the year I struggle. This is what my struggle looks like and this is how it can be helped. I'm very clear and I've been made to feel like a nut job in the workplace. Again, my current job, my current job, this is happening, happening as we speak. the mental health is getting dismissed and,

Dr. Dean:

Mm-hmm.

Elly:

and then that feeds the not being understood and being different, and I. And this might be a bold thought, it might not be right, but I just think some people just don't get it. Get scared, panic, don't do anything or be horrible. That's the only conclusion I can jump to, but I just try and explain to people. I haven't always suffered with mental health. I don't even wanna call it mental health. I'm grieving.

Dr. Dean:

Right?

Elly:

I have times where my mental health suffers, believe me. Believe me, I need tablets at the moment to help lift the fog. But a lot of not understanding and lack of education, I feel is, is the friends and the colleagues situation. Yeah.

Dr. Dean:

and I think that's an important distinction. There's a difference between grief, normal grief, which lasts basically for the rest of your life, and. Mental health or depression, and it's difficult to distinguish. I, I don't know about in the uk, but here as a mental health professional, if I see someone for therapy and they want to use their insurance, they have to have a diagnosis. And so then it grief becomes a, something that we've pathologized.

Elly:

Wow. That is different. That is

Dr. Dean:

is normal.

Elly:

Yeah.

Dr. Dean:

Yeah. Well, and because if, if the person isn't using insurance, then I don't, that's a different story for a lot of providers. So that might be part of

Elly:

Yeah.

Dr. Dean:

the difference in our, our approaches. but I think our society, at least here in the US, has really pathologized grief, that it's, it's not normal that funeral customs here are traditionally like a couple days after the. And then you're supposed to be okay. which obviously you're not right, so,

Elly:

no, no. It's quite, do you know what? It's very, that sounds very different. But the similar thing I think here is everyone else's life moves on. Right? And the expectation is that yours does as well. So it's the same with the funeral. So the funeral isn't as quick here. I think, so she died on the 9th of August. A funeral was on the 23rd, I think it was around the 22nd. So it wasn't that. Soon after the funeral goes, the people fade off the messages, stop the expectation for you to function as a human being. Resumes it's absolute madness, isn't it? And

Dr. Dean:

That's, yeah.

Elly:

grief

Dr. Dean:

The timing's different, but the same expectations.

Elly:

Yeah. Yeah. And, and I look at, I look at people and how they respond to me as a human being, for example. and sometimes when I'm like describing things, people look at me like I'm an alien. And when I say, like, when I, I can remember once it was her three year, it was the three year point. And I was in a job, a certain type of environment and I thought, I'll work this one. I'll actually work this one. cause usually I'd book the day off and I'd protect myself. I thought, let's see, let's see if we can work. And we're all right. And I, halfway through the day, I wasn't all right. I hadn't spoke to my parents or anything. I just wasn't feeling very settled. And I approached my manager at the time and said, I'm really sorry. Not bringing in personal life in, I just need you to know this is today for me. I'm struggling to be here. really sorry. Should have booked it off. can I leave early? And, they turned around to me and said, oh, how long has it been? And I said, oh, this is the three years. And the response, oh, quite a while then. Right. So that, that's the general response I get. So now, now I'll move forward to me telling people seven years and people are Oh wow. Nearly 10 years. Oh, quite a while. It's like, no, no. It's really, to a certain extent, yes. It's too long without her. Like, when I look at that amount of time, it's way too long since I last spoke to her way too long, since I last heard her voice and sout her and all these things. But really it's not, it's it's not a lot.

Dr. Dean:

Let me share a message with you that my father gave to me this past weekend, actually, which was a big day in our family, but he lost his sibling nearly 60 years ago, I think. I'm not exactly sure on the time, and he said to me, I, I know like how hard this can be. I still miss my brother after all these years. So I wanna validate that for you. Coming in from my dad.

Elly:

Oh, bless your dad.

Dr. Dean:

Yeah.

Elly:

guy. Yeah, it doesn't, and I'm prepared. Do you know what? I'm prepared. This might sound strange though. I'm prepared to carry this for the rest of my life and reason being is she's still alive in here. And for me, it's not that I wanna hold onto the hurt, the struggle, the, I don't want any of it, but that's there for a reason. Cause I miss her and I'm hurting. Cause she died. Like the trauma of your sibling dying on its own, that that situation is enough, isn't it? Like that whole situation I. I look at it very separate. Like I, I, I do tend to do this as a person. I separate things to try and make sense of them, but the fact that person's died is bad enough. The fact they're not coming back is another thing, isn't it? I think it, it's, it's a lot for one person to c that carry, sorry, in their little heart, isn't it?

Dr. Dean:

Yeah, for sure. And you said that you keep her alive in your heart, so, so you feel like you're living for both of you.

Elly:

Now I am now, so this has been, this has been since 2021 ish. So fairly recently I had this sort of epiphany, this sort of like eyeopening situation where I realized what I was doing. I. Wasn't living my life because I didn't feel I deserved to, cause she wasn't here. I got a bit messed up in the head, understandably, about the situation, and now I'm going out of my way to make sure I am okay. I can live and most of all do the things that she couldn't get to do. Like she, she was 27 when she died. She didn't even make it to her 28th birthday. A couple of months down the line. She's very young in my eyes to die, which meant there was a lot she didn't live with. So I do, I try and experience these things to live for her. And I do the odd, like strange thing in her memory, like, I'm not too fussed on tattoos, really. Like I, I like the ones I've got, I've got a massive one that I got for her, but I think I'm gonna get a couple of bits that I know she wanted to get done that she couldn't do and, she always wanted to go to Alcatraz Prison. Right. This is a very common thing for us over here to want to do.

Dr. Dean:

To go to Alcatraz.

Elly:

yeah, no, honestly, to go and do some sight seeing over there. this is something that I share with her, so I wanna make sure that at some point in life I go and do that for me and her. So, yeah, these days I'm getting better. I'm getting better at allowing myself to live and, and be free. I can still carry her and the feelings about that, but at the same time, I can get joy out of life.

Dr. Dean:

that's beautiful. And also interesting. Alcaraz isn't, not, I guess a lot of people wanna go there. It's not, it's, are there other ways that you feel that you stay connected to her?

Elly:

This might be a questionable subject. So not, not to offend any listeners or yourself, just in case. I, I, I believe there's an afterlife. I do. I at this moment in time in life, that's not related to religion, it's just I believe that she's always with me. again, lots of things I say I can't really describe. I recently saw a lady who claims to connect with the other side, the

Dr. Dean:

Mm-hmm.

Elly:

and I had a very weird situation in the, this, this lady couldn't have known what she told me and the thing she told me. Well, what apparently Laura was telling her that only me and Laura knew until the day she, she died. Like there's these, all these things that, so spiritually I think I, I try to believe that, cause that's the next best thing to being connected. If I feel like she's always with me, I don't long for her coming back as much. it only goes so far though. Cause you know what it's like you just want a proper cuddle, don't you?

Dr. Dean:

Yeah. The physical,

Elly:

Yeah, yeah,

Dr. Dean:

yeah.

Elly:

yeah.

Dr. Dean:

Yeah. So there's a guest coming up that, she's a psychologist, but she wrote about this in her book about working with a medium, and so we'll be having a conversation about

Elly:

Oh, interesting. It was, it was like, I'm not gonna lie, it was a bit creepy, but at the same time it was so eyeopening because, Yeah, the things discussed, like I, I can't even tell you like nobody knew these things apart from me and Laura. yeah, it's, and that for me personally was, was a nice thing. I, I, so one of my parents, we can't really talk about this kind of thing. It really disturbs them actually. And, so I, I make a conscious effort to never refer to, like, talking to Laura or a knock in my bedroom, maybe being Laura or seeing a feather or things like I respect that parent's views and their grief. The other parent, however, secretly loves it and went to see a, a similar lady with me before. But, that is my comfort, thinking, yes, only everyone could tell me I'm wrong, but I'll carry on thinking she's here with me and it comforts me.

Dr. Dean:

Yeah. I think it's beautiful

Elly:

Mm-hmm. And I've still got her perfume. So it's going now. I think it evaporates, but, smelling this now and then gives me that next best thing to get in the comfort of what she smelled like. Good old ghost perfume

Dr. Dean:

Yeah. So it's different than the, Britney Spears perfume that you were,

Elly:

again, polar opposites.

Dr. Dean:

did you say the name of the perfume was Ghost?

Elly:

one.

Dr. Dean:

Huh. That's interesting that that's what's connected you. Are there other things you want us to know before I ask you my last question?

Elly:

I think for me it's been really nice to talk about things that are really difficult. The whole thing is difficult. It's been challenging. I've spent a long time feeling misunderstood. Unheard of. Like all these things. I felt like a nutcase at times. I've felt that no one wants to listen. I felt that people have got bored of the Laura bag. There's a lot of negativity that's been attached to my grief.

Dr. Dean:

Mm-hmm.

Elly:

At the same time, there's been a lot of growth. I wouldn't be half the person I'm now. recently there was a individual at work suffering with their mental health, for example. And I don't feel I would've picked up on it if I hadn't have gone through this journey. And I did as much as I could in that situation to get them the support. So like, I do feel like I can't change, I cannot change what's happened. Cause if, believe me, she, she would be here now. This is a very scary life. As an only child navigated my thirties without her, believe me, it's, it's challenging. There's, there's still been some good, and I've got some really, really good support. I think it's just a shame. It's underfunded like the people we'd go to for help, like the doctors and what would benefit people isn't easy to get that help. That's been part of the challenge and people have been part of the challenge, but I think like what you, you do, I think that's great. I think it's amazing that, that you can use that and if only more of us would do it. I think it's just the raising the awareness of people lose their siblings. It's not a standard grief. I think that's been part of the challenge, but it's, it's not been heavy. Crying antidepressants and therapy. There's been a lot of like, I believe it's brought me and my partner a lot closer from getting him to understand me and my life and what a great job he does, And I have other people in my life, I haven't mentioned a few people that probably should be, but you know, they're all involved in this. There's a lot of good eggs in my

Dr. Dean:

Mm-hmm.

Elly:

But yeah, sometimes you've gotta get yourself through. I think that's another difficulty. I dunno who will listen to this podcast. I dunno who out there a similar personality to me going through a similar thing. I just, I think more want whoever may across this. Those friends that make you feel like hard work, leave them. those people that make you feel like you're a problem. It's not you, it's actually them. And it's okay to get help. It's okay to get annoyed if you've gotta pay for it. Ev all of this is okay. No one gave us a manual on how to deal with sibling grief. So for anybody in this situation, you're doing well in any way, aren't you? Because no one can really tell us what that's gonna feel like and look like. And you're all still, you're still going through it. And I think, yeah, I have really bad days. I have really, really, really bad days. Like recently I've sat on the end of my bed sobbing for hours. There was, he couldn't tell me anything. I had to be on my own and very, very distraught. But there are still days of sunshine, there are still those moments of joy. So just grab onto them.

Dr. Dean:

Yeah. Thank you for that. That was so well stated. I think you address the, I think grief isn't always the sad emotions. There's some joy in there and it's learning how to live with the loss that is, is so hard.

Elly:

and grieving yourself, like learn that it's okay to become a new person because that new person isn't scary. It's who you want it to be. So it's, it's, it's scary doing that. It's scary because that person dies and you lose a massive chunk of yourself. And obviously the symptomatic stuff of grief can unfortunately shape what your life looks like with things like work, friendships and all that. But I was so scared to become this new Elly. I was so scared cause I didn't know what life was. I didn't know. But now I'm starting to see my life will eventually be what I want it to be. And that's a good one.

Dr. Dean:

Yeah. Thank you for that.

Elly:

In terms of everything I've covered everything, which I appreciate might be a lot. Was there anything in particular that popped up that you sat there thinking, yep, I had the same, or, I know of other people that have said the same.

Dr. Dean:

Yeah. So I think, It was interesting who showed up to support me, but also I think, and I've talked about this a little bit before, but so many people ask about how my parents are and still do. Just like you had that experience. and yeah, I'm really happy to answer that question. like I, they're in a different state from one another and it's just, it's hard to see and they're aging and all of those things. And, you mentioned now being an only sibling and so that was hard for me too. And in fact my, my dad once called me an only sibling and just having to adjust to that. and they're at a time in their lives where I'm probably gonna have to start caregiving for them. So people ask how they're doing and it's like, are you asking how they're doing just in general, like with their health or are you asking how they're doing? In regards to losing Tony and I don't know,

Elly:

Yeah.

Dr. Dean:

but also when you were waving your hands and like, no me, ask about me, yeah, I had that experience too. And then finding help and the support and who understands this. Right. I didn't ever go to a group therapy cuz it's, it's an awkward place for me to be as a psychologist in a

Elly:

Difficult. Yeah. For you. Yeah.

Dr. Dean:

But I did fire a few therapists myself over that time cuz I didn't feel supported. I'm glad that you had a good therapist that understood cuz that has varied for me and other people that I've talked to. it's not something a lot of us have a lot of training in is grief. so especially sibling loss. So there are a lot of grief therapists and some great grief organizations here. but sibling loss is not something. That is well spoken about. In fact, I was just at a conference a couple weeks ago and it was a death education and counseling conference. That's what the organization is for. And there was mention of sibling loss, but only for children. And yes, of course that's tragic in its own way, but yeah,

Elly:

Yeah. The adult sibling situation is just. It's almost like you think it doesn't happen. So that's why it's not covered. But it happens absolutely everywhere.

Dr. Dean:

exactly. Cuz most of the world has siblings, so most of the world, at some point we will lose a sibling. We just don't expect it to happen till later.

Elly:

I can remember calling a charity, so I did, I thought I'd found somewhere great. And then when they asked how old I was and how old Laura was when she died, they're like, oh, sorry, this is for 16 and under. It's like, oh, so I don't need support. I don't need support. Cause I'm 23 when I, I look at, so, my brother-in-law and my sister-in-law at that age, I look at and I think like, cause I'm still young, I still class myself as young at 30, but. I look at them thinking, how did I navigate that whole sa like situation with minimal support Like, and that's the sad bit. I think as siblings who have lost siblings, we are completely forgotten about and we are completely not looked after how we need to be or considered factored in like the lot, the whole lot like I did. And with that I think I lost a bit of my identity as well. But this is how damaging, it's when you don't have the right support available to you.

Dr. Dean:

Yeah, for sure.

Elly:

What was your relationship with your parents like after the.

Dr. Dean:

My brother and I always joked that he was the favorite child or favorite. Is it favorite if there's only two? I don't know. Favorite child

Elly:

Oh, there's always a favorite in there.

Dr. Dean:

possibly, also culturally, my dad's an Italian immigrant. My mom's an Italian-American, and there was a definite bias for male children. and so it was somewhat in addition to just the devastation, like I felt like, oh, well, Less than but my parents were immediately supportive in that, aftermath of that. And it was, about three weeks before the lockdown started here in the US that he died. So I was like calling them every day and checking on them. And then they drove to Florida for, which is from my, from where we live. It's, like a, like a day drive. and my parents are older and they don't use cell phones. they have cell phones, but they only turned them on in case of emergency. So we just literally had an emergency. Right. something you needed immediate contact with. And they drove to Florida and they only turned their cell phone on when they got to, where they stayed overnight. And I remember panicking what, what if something happens to them? And I was checking with them multiple times a day and they're like, oh, we would've turned the phone on if, if something happened. I was like, what if something happens to me?

Elly:

Yeah, it's,

Dr. Dean:

It was

Elly:

it's back to.

Dr. Dean:

yeah. Yeah. so that was an interesting conversation and, and we were really tight and close and talked a lot in those first few months and then we still do not as frequently. so it's changed over time, but we definitely grieve him differently. As you would, you described, it's been interesting to see actually. I feel like the relationship is closer now than when he was alive. And that's hard to say out loud cuz I'm happy about the closeness we have. But not for the reason that it

Elly:

No, I understand what you mean with those words as

Dr. Dean:

Yeah. My last question is, are there one or a few favorite memories that you have of you and Laura that you wanted to share?

Elly:

I do. And no one else is gonna find this funny, but this is one that literally straight away came into my head. There was a time that we had lots of time together, so she used to look after me a lot as well. So whenever the parents would go out for dinners or whatever, and there was this one time where I can't, I can't remember why, but the dynamics of the house wasn't particularly positive at this time. And I think parents were running late to go out for dinner and it just wasn't like a straightforward, they're going out and, I can remember we received clear instructions to not make a mess and cook loads and stuff like that. I think they'd even left us a lot of money to get a takeaway. And she decided that she wanted to go out all out and cook loads of stuff in their kitchen. And so she didn't make a mess. None of it. But as she was walking out with her dinner, and I think it was as my mum was walking through the door, she had made spaghetti bolognese and the whole thing went all up the walls and all over their new carpet and there was white walls and, and stuff like that. But that was just typical. The reason I wanna share that memory is we always got up to trouble and we're always doing things that we'd been told not to do and we always got caught out. So it's just like, like dyeing my hair. Cause I used to have black hair. I used to dye my hair black and we'd get all up the walls and on the ceiling just as mum had probably painted the walls that weekend and as she's walking through the door. But I have many, many, many good memories. But the best ones are when we were getting in trouble basically. Cause they're the younger years ones. But I also, I also have some really, really deep raw, maybe not as funny ones. I've had some really close. Deep, moments with her where, cause she'd been in the hospital. It was, it wasn't unusual for her to be in a hospital of some form where we didn't even have words to say to each other. I didn't have anything to say to her and she couldn't look me in the eye because she's the biggest sister and she's not well. And we just look at each other and, that look is, that sibling look is the I've got you and you've got me sort of look. So yeah. Thankfully my brain box allows me to, to think of too many, too, be able to pull clear ones out for you. But they are there. They're there.

Dr. Dean:

Thank you for sharing those as well as like the entire conversation today. I've really enjoyed it.

Elly:

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak. This is the first time in nearly seven years I've been able to openly and comfortably. Talk about these things, so thank you.

Dr. Dean:

You're welcome. 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 like, follow, subscribe, and share. Thanks again.

Introduction
About Laura
Missing & Living Without Her Big Sister
Connection to Music
Losing Laura
Support In The Days After
Childhood Home
Current State of Her Grief
Therapy in the UK
Being Heard
Therapy Coverage in the UK
Therapy Coverage in the US
Other Methods of Coping
Line of Three
Forgetting Elly's Loss
Workplace Challenges
Differences in Grieving
"Getting Over" Grief
Living For Both
Staying Connected
No Manual For Grief
Shared Experiences
Favorite Memories of Laura