things i’ve learned from losing my little sister

I wrote in my last piece how I have been coming to terms with a really painful loss that was looming over both myself and my family. I’m pretty sure I can talk about it now (if not literally kiss my arsehole I don’t care) I will bring you up to speed.

There’s was an ongoing court case from may 2020, on 8th March 2021 it was decided that my beautiful little sister will be flown out to live with her birth parents in Portugal. There is a final court hearing in April to discuss the logistics of her leaving. We have contact with her as a court order and there is a social worker to oversee her in Portugal. We are unsure when exactly this will come into place but it could be from May.

Anyone who knows me, or even anyone who follows me on Insta or has me on snapchat will know how much I love that kid. She’s incredible. We’ve been raising her since she was 6, she will be 11 in October. She can communicate now, feed herself, walk confidently, climb, scream the place down, play. She can do so many things that some people never thought she ever would, she’s amazing. I love her so much and if there’s anything I can do in life to be there for her, I will do that thing. But the fact of the matter is that nothing belongs to anyone. This little girls soul purpose, life journey, path in life does not belong to me- all I can do is help her be the happiest her she can be.

The grief is mine to handle, not hers. I want to present to her the idea that this is an exciting transition, because who am I to say it won’t be? How do I know? The most daunting thing is the fact that I don’t know.

As a figure of stability for a child, whether you’re a mother, guardian, whatever- it is so important that you maintain a level of calmness around your child. Until a brain is fully developed, it cannot make decisions based on objectivity. The brain won’t necessarily think to be balanced and look at alternate perspectives/ ideas and theories that person has studied and sought out, because the underdeveloped brain is just trying to survive.

This means that as a survival technique, the child will pick up and adopt the attitude/ emotion of the guardian. If a guardian is taking something the wrong way, blowing something out of proportion, expressing their fears loudly- the child FEELS that. It isn’t fair to project your own uneducated and really unknowing judgements on the reality of a child, because it could drastically alter their outlook on life for years to come. It’s my responsibility to float outside of my narrow side of the story and see the situation from a birds eye view.

My sister, at the end of the day, is loved. Everyone falls in love with her. She will be cared for. She loves sunshine, she loves water, she’s going to PORTUGAL. I concentrate on the things she loves and I focus on how far she’s come and how she now has the ability to enjoy these things. I focus on the way she is now able to hold her own in a way she previously did not. I focus on how much time has passed and how much things is changed, she won’t just be left.

You have to focus on the facts and not empath fears. You cannot be selective with the facts, for every negative there is a positive.

And anything else is none of your business. Catastrophising and making up unpleasant scenarios in your head does no good at all. The night time is the worst for this. You have to remember that it’s imagination. It’s none of your business. You are not the hero you might make yourself out to be, it’s a hard truth to face.

Being able to speak about what I’m going through publically has made me quite emosh because it reminds me that I have support, and people care about me. Over the last year I was probably acting quite out of character and I couldn’t explain myself. I know I have probably been quite doom and gloom. I’ve never been good at asking or recognising my needs, so this means a lot. People’s reactions have also given me the opportunity to change the way I react when someone tells me some saddening news.

I know that my reaction will now not be to say ‘that’s so shit’. I feel like it’s the default human reaction in an attempt to empathise, but now I’ve been on the other side of the coin I can say that I can almost guarantee the person with the news knows it’s shit. I can also guarantee that the person telling the news is desperately trying to find an alternative way of seeing the news so they can get up and function in the morning and attempt to make themselves happy.

I have no aggression to the people who have tried to empathise with me at all, I love them for trying to find the words to say, but as I said, I have now had the opportunity to become a more compassionate person.

Seeing as this has been my grief, my responsibility, I have learned a lot.

In the past, when I have felt grief like this (to the point where I don’t know what to do) I will have developed a pattern of getting out of control and scaring people around me. This hasn’t always been intentional. I’d just go out with a friend, not tell anyone, end up in London or something, and not be home for days. I’d drink lots, be quite reckless, and while this was fun in the moment I knew full well that people would notice and I would eventually have to come down.

It’s a stupid pattern because it does nothing for me. I’m too grown up for that now.

So in this stage of grief I’m presented with an opportunity to rewire my brain and see a new perspective. The future is a little more of a blank canvas. Whether I ‘wanted’ it to be this way or not is irrelevant- it’s done. There is a blank canvas and the question I ask is ‘now that I can do anything, what do I do with it?’.

I don’t want this to happen again. I don’t want to carry on with patterns, cycles, or develop boring neural pathways that will mean I get scared of everything and do nothing with my life.

I don’t even want to look at the future. I just want to feel nice.

So I take each day as it comes asking ‘what do I want to do’ and then ‘why do I want to do that’. The second question is important because sometimes I just want to do things that won’t necessarily serve me in the long run. Wanting to do things like party and have fun isn’t necessarily bad, it’s just bad when you develop an unhealthy relationship with that thing.

If I want to do something to avoid the moment, avoid my headspace, then I won’t do it. I will focus on why I want to avoid the moment/headspace and I will read/research why I feel that way. Then when I understand my brain and journal my way out of a certain way of thinking, I’ll socialise and have fun.

I’m lucky to be at uni. Uni is good for me. It’s my blank slate.

I wanted to ramble today, and there will probably be more blogs to come as I learn my way through loss. This is it.

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