I Lost My Sister To Addiction, Here Are My Thoughts

To My Big Sister Who I Lost To A Battle With Addiction, You Live On Through Us Every Day

It's time I open up about it, so why not to the entire world?

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My big sister was 29-years-old when she died. I was in my first semester of college. Her favorite thing in the world was her little boy, and music came in a close second place. Savannah was my role model for my entire childhood. She was my protector. Our mom would joke saying that I was Savannah's baby doll and only Savannah knew how to take care of me.

Savannah was suffering from medical issues, as well as addiction, which ultimately led to her death on Thanksgiving night in 2017. It is safe to say, I really do not care for Thanksgiving anymore. Savannah was a type 1 diabetic who was in and out of the hospital since she was 7-years-old. Doctors put her on many prescriptions, such as painkillers and beyond. Savannah was used to taking medication to stop her pain, suffering, confusion, and the discomfort that was with her at all times. When the opportunity for cheap opioids arose, there was no wonder she found it easier: no doctor visits and no huge medical bills. I do not validate that what my sister did was correct by any means, but I saw how opioids were the drug she was addicted to.

Coming back to school after the funeral and darkness, I did not know what to expect. I did not know how to tell people. I did not know if people even wanted to listen to what had happened over the Thanksgiving break. It was like I was holding an awkward secret, or I had a hidden identity, "the girl with the dead sister." When I did happen to bring it up two things would either happen: I would break down in tears and not be able to continue with what I rehearsed saying while walking on the way, or I would say "My sister died" really quickly, and the person would just stare at me like I was about to vomit in their lap. I felt alone and grieving was a new experience for me. I would just cry and call my mom.

I felt that people did not actually care, but checked in on me because of the social obligation to treat the girl with the dead sister with a little bit more tenderness. I am a little more tender than before Savannah dying. I was so mad at my friends because they were trying to comfort me, but every word they ever spoke made me so mad at them. I did not know why, so I asked my mom. My mom once told me, "You are dealing with life issues and loss that adults do not truly experience until their forties, and you are 18-years-old." I think about that conversation a lot.

The trauma of getting the phone call from my devastated mother is still fresh if I think about it hard enough. I needed someone to talk to. I had so many thoughts and wanted to talk and not get that damn puppy-dog face when I talk about my sadness.

Not many people know what is going through my mind. Hell, I do not know a majority of the time. This is where I turned to therapy.

I started going to therapy at my campus's Counseling and Psychological Services. I still go, twice a month. It is an amazing experience for me. We talk about grief, relationships, communication, anxiety, and more. I recommend that if you are curious, go to a counseling/therapy session and see what it is like. Yeah, scheduling may be a hassle, but totally worth it. Please check out what your campus offers, or talk to your healthcare provider (yikes, I know it sounds scary, but the scariest part is making the appointment, I promise). Find someone in your area you can talk to.

I do not know if a higher power exists or anything. However, I know the universe knew I could handle losing my big sister. Savannah knew I would be okay. She knew I could be strong. When I look at my nephew or the amounts of photos in my mom's house, I know Savannah is not really gone; she lives through us. Savannah is not physically with us, but I refuse to let her die.


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Everything You Will Miss If You Commit Suicide

The world needs you.
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You won't see the sunrise or have your favorite breakfast in the morning.

Instead, your family will mourn the sunrise because it means another day without you.

You will never stay up late talking to your friends or have a bonfire on a summer night.

You won't laugh until you cry again, or dance around and be silly.

You won't go on another adventure. You won't drive around under the moonlight and stars.

They'll miss you. They'll cry.

You won't fight with your siblings only to make up minutes later and laugh about it.

You won't get to interrogate your sister's fiancé when the time comes.

You won't be there to wipe away your mother's tears when she finds out that you're gone.

You won't be able to hug the ones that love you while they're waiting to wake up from the nightmare that had become their reality.

You won't be at your grandparents funeral, speaking about the good things they did in their life.

Instead, they will be at yours.

You won't find your purpose in life, the love of your life, get married or raise a family.

You won't celebrate another Christmas, Easter or birthday.

You won't turn another year older.

You will never see the places you've always dreamed of seeing.

You will not allow yourself the opportunity to get help.

This will be the last sunset you see.

You'll never see the sky change from a bright blue to purples, pinks, oranges, and yellows meshing together over the landscape again.

If the light has left your eyes and all you see is the darkness, know that it can get better. Let yourself get better.

This is what you will miss if you leave the world today.

This is who will care about you when you are gone.

You can change lives. But I hope it's not at the expense of yours.

We care. People care.

Don't let today be the end.

You don't have to live forever sad. You can be happy. It's not wrong to ask for help.

Thank you for staying. Thank you for fighting.

Suicide is a real problem that no one wants to talk about. I'm sure you're no different. But we need to talk about it. There is no difference between being suicidal and committing suicide. If someone tells you they want to kill themselves, do not think they won't do it. Do not just tell them, “Oh you'll be fine." Because when they aren't, you will wonder what you could have done to help. Sit with them however long you need to and tell them it will get better. Talk to them about their problems and tell them there is help. Be the help. Get them assistance. Remind them of all the things they will miss in life.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255

Cover Image Credit: Brittani Norman

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Finals Season Told by 'How I Met Your Mother'

Since that's what I've been watching instead of studying.

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For people who are not in college, the spring season brings a plethora of wonderful things to look forward to: blooming flowers, warmer weather, the prospect of summer coming next. However, for students, the months of April and May are purely defined by one terrifying concept: finals.

Instead of actually studying for my exams, I've been binge watching old television shows to distract myself from my impending doom. Of course, classics like "How I Met Your Mother" always have a ton of relatable content that can be applied to the lives of young adults, but I've discovered that some its best quotes are actually relevant the common struggles we all face during finals seasons.

Thinking About Taking Your Upcoming Finals

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It may seem dramatic, but we know it's true.

When You Take That First Glance At Your Study Guide

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Whether it's an online guide you made, flashcards, or a Quizlet you snagged, it all hurts the same.

Regretting All Those Nights You Went Out Instead of Getting Ahead On Studying

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Should have skipped the party instead of skipping the first four chapters of the textbook.

When Your Professor Won't Raise Your 67 To A 93

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How dare they?

When Everyone Ghosts You For that 'Study Group Session'

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Even though we all know "study group sessions" are never nearly as productive as we think they will be.

When People In Your Class Ask If You've Started Studying

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Honesty is the best policy, after all.

Stress Eating In The Library At Two In The Morning

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Nothing tastes better than that bag of potato chips you've been saving for this very moment.

Trying to Cram All The Information From One Semester Into A Single Study Guide

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A better challenge: cram all the information into a single study guide the day before your exam.

When The Professor Gives You a Review Session During Class

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Sometimes, I can't even pretend I'm interested.

When You Realize You Haven't Had Any Social Interaction For Days

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The library can be a lonely place.

Your Reaction After You Read The First Question On The Exam

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You knew you should have gone back and reviewed that one section, but you were sure it wouldn't come up.

Leaving Your Exam Room After You Ace That Final 

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Until your next exam, of course. But we'll ignore that for now.

Go crush those finals. High-five!

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