I never told my sister how much I loved her

Our relationships counsellor answers your problems: I never told my sister how much I loved her

  • READ MORE: I’ve always felt inferior to my dead brother

Q My sister, who was my best friend for 73 years, died two years ago after suffering from breast cancer for some time. She had missed an annual scan because of the pandemic and developed a bad cough. 

I visited every day to help as she had lost her husband and lived alone. One day I found her struggling for breath so I called an ambulance and she was admitted to hospital where they diagnosed severe heart failure and secondary cancer.

We were devastated. She got the medical help she needed, but sadly passed away three weeks later. I can’t get over a feeling of guilt that I should have got her help sooner. 

An anonymous woman reveals that she wished she’d spent more time with her sister. She explains how her sister was diagnosed with secondary breast cancer and passed away three weeks later

When the doctor told her she only had weeks to live I froze emotionally. My sister asked if I was OK and I could only answer that I’d be fine, and told her not to worry and that I’d look after the family. What I wanted to tell her was how much I loved her, and how I’d miss her. I can’t get over feeling that she died not knowing that.

A I’m so sorry to hear of your terrible loss. It must be devastating to lose a sister who was also your best friend – and it’s not surprising that the pain is so raw. But please try to stop blaming yourself and questioning whether she could have been saved if you’d got help earlier. 

It is definitely not your fault. It is sadly another Covid tragedy. You were doing so much to help her. It is hard work, both physically and emotionally, looking after someone sick at any age, but even more so when you are in your 70s – and it can be difficult to see beyond the day-to-day. 

Even if she had received help sooner it is entirely possible that it might have prolonged her life for a short time, only for the illness to be more drawn out and perhaps much more painful – we can never know how things might have been different. The nub is that you miss her. 

Many people regret that they didn’t have the conversation they wanted with someone they loved, because death is not predictable and can leave us unprepared. It must have been a huge shock to discover that she had just weeks to live. It is only natural that you froze emotionally at this news. 

So while you might not have told her you loved her in those final weeks, I promise you she knew. You had shown her how much you loved her for every day of those 73 years by always being there for her – by being her best friend and confidante and, in those final months, by doing so much for her when she needed you the most. 

It would help you hugely to get support for your grief and to talk through your feelings of loss. So please contact one of the brilliant bereavement charities such as Marie Curie (mariecurie.org.uk) or Cruse (cruse.org.uk) for help. 


My husband and I divorced ten years ago when our children were teenagers, after being together for 19 years. He was under a lot of pressure at work and had become very bad-tempered, with no time for me or them. 

Eventually I’d had enough. He was devastated when I said I wanted a divorce but we managed to be civilised about it and are now good friends. I have often regretted leaving and wished that I’d tried harder to save our marriage. 

I wondered if he felt the same but he remarried a year ago after a whirlwind romance. I’ve had a couple of short relationships, but I’m single. However, a few days ago, we met for coffee and he told me his new marriage was a terrible mistake and that he still loved me. It’s completely thrown me. I want him back but it’s so complicated now.

A It’s always sad when two people who were once in love find that external pressures drive them apart. But yes, it is complicated now. You need to approach this with caution. 

I know you don’t want to hurt his new wife but to be honest if he feels this strongly that this marriage has been a mistake, then the chances are he would leave her anyway. However, it is important that he doesn’t leave for you – he needs to do so because he doesn’t want to be with her, with no rose-tinted glasses about the past. 

But if you do decide to get back together in the future, I would recommend that you take it slowly and perhaps have counselling before becoming too involved in order to work through what went wrong in the first place. It would help you navigate the future together as a team. Visit relate.org.uk.

Source: Read Full Article