Siblings – ‘Forgotten mourners’ – by Maureen Slough:
In September 2019 I lost my sister Wendy to suicide.
Since her birth, from day one I was bonded to Wendy when she came into the family and my world.
This bond was special because the previous year my sister Lesley died at 3 months of age in a cot death (her twin had died at birth).
I said to me mother where is Lesley gone and she pointed up. My reply ‘’Can we not get a ladder and get her back down from the sky.’’ That is how I perceived reality at age 4. When Wendy was born my perception was that Lesley had come back and I was really excited; so happy with Wendy coming into the world as I thought she was Lesley.
We grew up together through the adolescent years. Not a total happy story (it was no fairy-tale). We used to fight over lipstick and clothes, she would wear my clothes and there would be killings. We were becoming women and striving to survive in this world and this shared competition bonded us.
We were also bonded because of a dysfunctional childhood and parents. I was bonded most to Wendy because of the nearest in age and we remembered later the conflict and the abuse endured on us innocent children. Our unique bond gave us the strength to get along and we laughed, and we cried together.
Despite our unhappy times we had some very happy moments. We had a bond glued together by our characteristic traits—We both loved nature and animals and we both loved gardening. We had totally different personality traits but shared one common trait –to mess and play jokes—she threw slugs at me once- I got her back- threw sheep shit at her. We were lovey dovey, like kids never growing away from each other and now looking back at the photos of us, I see this deep love and connection.
Since September 2019 I feel an awful void in my life, can’t put words to describe my grief. I feel not everybody understands. The saving grace for me was meeting FOSL members especially the siblings in the FOSL support groups that I have met and who understand. Outside that I feel! I feel my grief is not recognized; this sibling bond is not understood. Here is a letter I wrote to Wendy which was read out at the FOSL support group recently:
Them last few weeks that you visited me made me very happy. I loved picking you up at Whitegate as you got off the bus.
Then you got a second-hand car which was great and you seemed very excited.
I checked out the interior and exterior of the car with glee.
But there was something profoundly different about you now, even your personality.
Your beautiful hair that was always immaculately kept
was now unbrushed and the sparkle that was once in your eyes was now gone.
We had lots of chats near the end and we spoke about so many things from our childhood and about abuse we had suffered.
I always knew that like me you were scarred from our experiences at the hands our father the monster.
We had so many heart to hearts and I kept asking you “were you happy”. And you would always reply “yes”.
I never believed your reply and knew something was really bothering you. So I asked you the same question so many times hoping for a different answer and that you would open up to me.
Your sleeping and eating patterns were all over the place. Sometimes you would sleep constantly and eat little. Then you would sleep less and eat lots.
The last day I saw you I watched your car leave until I couldn’t see it no more. There was sadness every time you left. I just didn’t want you to go.
I want you to know Wendy that I was privileged to have you as my sister.
Until we meet again
Sleep well my beautiful butterfly. No one can hurt you no more.
Love your sister Maureen. 🦋
A trillion stars shining in the
A beautiful sunset is easy on
But all the beauty in the world
Can’t compare to you
Because you are
the one and the only
Daffodils blowing in the wind
I watch them as they sway
Raindrops falling onto my
face on a rainy day.
But all the beauty in the world
Will never compare to you
Because you are the one and only