Dear Annie: Three weeks ago, my oldest sister passed away. Her passing was not expected.
Her children told me she had a fall several months ago. She fractured a disc in her back and had been in a great deal of pain. A week before she passed away, she woke up very confused and was not making sense. They called an ambulance and took her to the hospital. She had a urinary tract infection. When she was discharged, she was sent home with hospice care and passed away a week later. Had I known she was not well, I would have gone to see her.
My family and I went for her service. She stated that she wanted a closed casket. Evidently, she had lost a great deal of weight. It was a sweet service.
When my sister’s husband passed away several years ago, I could not attend his service. He was cremated. She originally planned for his service to be held on a Saturday. My family and I made plans to attend. She changed her plans and moved the service to a night service held in a city about an hour from where they lived. I would have been driving home by myself at 11 or 12 at night, and I did not think that was wise.
I gave a memorial in his name, and she received a note making her aware of the memorial. She sent a thank-you note.
I called her several times a week checking on her. I continued to call at least once a week. She was very short with me. Several times, she told me she was busy. Then she told her son to tell me she was not there. I knew something was wrong, but I had no idea she was angry with me. Finally, this spring she mentioned to me that none of our family members attended her husband’s memorial service. I explained why. She said I could have stayed with her. I told her she did not invite me to stay with her. She ended the conversation.
I continued to call at least once a month to say hello.
We always remembered each other’s birthdays with a card and a call. This year, she did not remember my birthday. On her birthday, I called, but she did not answer her phone. I left a message on her answering machine. I also sent a card. She did call and thank me for the card.
I feel badly that I did not get to see her before she passed away. She had told her children not to tell me about her fall. I told my niece I would have come to see her had I known. She said my sister did not want me to see her because she had lost so much weight.
Surprisingly, she wrote to her friend who lives in the same city as I do and told her about the fall and also that my nephew had prostate cancer. I find it odd that she shared with her but kept it from me.
Could I have done anything to make things better between us? — Sad Sister
Dear Sad Sister: I am very sorry for your loss. And having regrets about your relationship when someone has passed away is really difficult. Try to focus on all the happy memories you had with your sister when you were younger and the good times. Also, try to make amends and repair the relationship with her children. What you can do now is enjoy each day and stop beating yourself up for something that cannot be changed.
“How Can I Forgive My Cheating Partner?” is out now! Annie Lane’s second anthology — featuring favorite columns on marriage, infidelity, communication and reconciliation — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to [email protected]