Lost my sister to bowel cancer

I lost my sister to bowel cancer on the 29th December 2021. She started to have problems in January 2021 and went straight to the doctors. Cancer flag and operation in March. They thought they had got it all.  Three lots of chemo and then a scan in August. Follow up in September and cancer back. Waiting to be moved to Christie’s but being constantly sick. Referral  not to October. Admins to hospital at Bolton early October. blockage to the stomach, mass on pelvis and in ovaries. 9 hour operation. She never really got mobile after the operation and we could not visit. December sent home as diagnosis was not good. With in a few days she was being sick again. I had two weeks with her and then  she passed. It’s was really hard as she was such a fit health person of 58 and we’ve never had cancer in the family. We where sitting with her 24/7. My brother, sister in law and me. District nursed brilliant and carers. Hard as the Christmas period getting her medication and seeing her in so much pain. Had to keep getting the pain relief increases and visits from hospice at home. I am a strong person but even now five month later I am finding it hard to come to terms with not just losing a sister but a best friend. We had so much planned and wanted to be those two old ladies sat on a bench. I don’t have any other close friend as do like to potter around at my own pace. I always had my sister but no more. 

I lost my aunt to Parkinson’s with dementia in Jan 21 and no funeral and my god mother to covid in October 21. Not a good year.

I am reaching out to see how people cope with grief. 

  • Hi Deb63,

    I'm so sorry about your sister. I lost my dad 2 months ago after he was diagnosed with stage 4 stomach cancer in November last year.

    This is the forst time that I've had to cope with loosing someone so close to me, and it is so hard.

    I have some good days where I can still find enjoyment in some things, but there is always that feeling of emptiness without my dad being in the world.

    It sounds like you all had a really difficult time towards the end. My dad went downhill all of a sudden during his last month so it was a shock, and he ended up in a hospice for his last 3 weeks. It was so hard seeing my previously fit dad being bed bound and getting confused, plus the cancer was pressing on his vocal cords so he couldnt talk properly.

    I think that's the awful thing about loosing someone to cancer, as we are not just dealing with the loss of a loved one, but also with the images of them suffering and the difficulty of knowing they were leaving us.

    As your sister had hospice care at home, I think they are supposed to offer you bereavement counselling after 6 weeks. I still havent heard from my dad's hospice though, but it might be worth you looking into it to talk about how you are feeling?

    I know what you mean a bit having things planned. It hurts so much that we have had these future memories taken away from us. I feel so sad that my dad will never see me have kids, plus I've just bought a house and I feel so sad that he wont see it.

    I probably havent been much help, but just wanted you to know that I know what you are going through.

    Take care x

  • Hi

    Thank you so much for taking the time to reply. I feel I am in the final stage of grief. I have accepted what has happen but just going to take a bit longer to fully come to terms with it. I do not live close  to my family but my brother is visiting this weekend. Will be good to talk. I had a short break booked with my sister and move it to next year. Me and my husband will do the trip and make a new memory. My sister lived on her own and no children. I take comfort that she is with my parent and a beloved Aunt who she spend so much time with. As not local to the hospice had no contact. I have sad days but that expected and wonderful memories. Hard as you send seeing a  love one deteriorate and not the person they where. It’s must have been so difficult for you. You take care.

  • Hi Deb, I lost Mum last Sunday.

    She was first ill on Christmas Day 2021. Aged 77 and had done all the bowel kit tests and negative. Operation in February only inserted an ileostomy as it had spread to her liver and abdomen. Her energy levels just carried on dropping but the speed at the end was two fast deterioration days, and she passed.

    She was waiting for the hospice care to come this week so she was stuck in a black hole. My sister in law and I cared for her at home, which was her wish, with district nurse support for medication - which wasn't easy over a weekend. 

    The whole experience, and being my Mum too, was everything from surreal and scary to a privilege. 

    This past week has been crazy as I have to sort all the paperwork, funeral arrangements and my Dad. Today was the first day I've had to "myself". I'm finding I'm going though every emotion going. At the moment I'm feeling angry- no idea why, as I'm never an angry person. And I'm scared I'll mess up her funeral.

    I'll cry with you. It's so awful.


  • Hi

    So sorry to hear about your loss. I was angry.Why as she gone, to early and more. It’s one of the five stages of grief. Acceptance being the last. She had talked through all the details of her funeral but you do worry. We had it streamed online so friend living far away could login in to be part of the cremation. This was one of our better decisions. Covid and people not wanting to mix allowed them to be part of it but feel safe. Then starts the sorting out. My sister was a clothes lover and we donated a lot to the local hospice charity. They raised over £700 which was good to no. I can understand how hard it’s was for you through the last few weeks of your mothers like. It’s really not easy and emotional. It was five months yesterday since my sister passed and I am in the acceptance stage. Talking to family, having a good cry and writing a journal can all help. I’ve not had an bereavement counselling but my sister in law has. She said it was so helpful. My niece writes a journal and does mindfulness. Both go to the gym. I garden and enjoy just sitting outside reading. Breathing exercises to help myself. Losing a love one is so hard and grief can be all consuming. I am making new memories.You take care of your self. Take a day at a time and never blame your self for anything. Our love ones live on in our memories and we have a life to live before we eventual join them.

  • So kind of you Deb to reply so quickly. Your sister was so young. Cancer is such a b@@@@@@

    I wonder if bereavement counselling might help me but it's early days and if there are 5 stages I need to see how they go. Once the funeral has passed, that's one thing that's stressing me out of the way. My Mum didn't plan anything, and so it's on me although her friends are reading and they are a support as is the celebrant, who is a friend. Every day, more friends of hers are coming out of the woodwork. She seemed to know everyone and I'm scared the venues won't be big enough. My problem is that I dont handle "unknowns" very well because of my personality. Im going to talk to the FD today for support as the stress is overwhelming and being upset about Mum is one thing, but being upset about that seems a waste of my emotions.

    We have booked the filming too for overseas friends.  I thought UK ones might like it to but speaking to them, I think many just want to come.

    I know I need to make the most of every day and, as its sunny, I must be thankful for today and take one day at a time.

    My head is like mashed potato. Is that normal?

  • I sometime wondered if my brain was working as everything just wizzes round it. Funeral is so hard. You make a list and wonder how many will come and worry if you don’t cater for enough. I managed to books a good local venue with parking. Did a traditional northern food. Potato pie, pastry, red cabbage and mushy peas. A cheese plate pie for the vegetarians. I started with 20 but ended up booking fifty. Only a couple of portions left which was good. It was a really good turn out. My sister was part of a walking group and a manager. So many work colleagues and a lot from her walking group. Her work colleagues  had to have counselling after the company talked to them all. She had been there over 22 years and worked up to manager and so liked.. I had quite a few emails from senior management, work colleagues and friends. The celebrate was brilliant in including these and did a lovely memorial of Lesleys life. You can only do your best and don’t beat yourself up about anything. I wish you all the best for the funeral. It’s a hard day and hard days to follow. Stupid little thing will up set you and for no reason you cry. I may live for many years yet but I do no she will be waiting for me along with my parents. Life can be so hard but when the sun is out and you hear the birds and people laugh life is good. Cancer takes so much from us all but we have to move on as our loved ones would not want us to not enjoy life. I have a wonderful husband and a bucket list to tick off. It’s made us both rethink things. You take care.