My sister has chronic depression and lost her partner -- how can I help?

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Date Joined Oct 2010
Total Posts : 4838
   Posted 10/13/2010 10:25 PM (GMT -6)   
This is my first post on this board.
I am so worried about my sister.  Her partner of 41 years passed away in February after a VERY short illness...played golf, had stomach cramps, went to ER, found colon cancer, had surgery,  Stage IV, 12 weeks later...gone.
My sister spends most days in bed or on the couch. She cannot balance the check book or take care of the estate issues.  And she had done the financial stuff for 41 years! 
She has been on meds for years and they mostly work.  She sees a psychiatrist and psychologiest...often.  But 6 months later she isn't even beginning to come around.
She was so strong during the 12 horrible horrible weeks, and now...
I know this is her journey, but what can I do. I call.  I listen...I am positive. she says she always feels better after we talk. But I feel helpless.
Is  6 months still too soon to start pulling herselft together?  I tell her each persons grieving time is different. That she is just where she should be now for HER situation.
She is 60, retired from a professional job, a golfer, reader, has a great group of friends. but they are all thinking she should be pulling herself together.  I am afraid they will stop calling.
Any ideas?

Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2010
Total Posts : 790
   Posted 10/14/2010 3:01 AM (GMT -6)   
I am so pleased to hear that you have such a good relationship with your Sister, and you continue to be there for her.

I know this is so hard for you to watch.

I have never lost a partner, but have lost a Father that I loved with all I have. It has been 10yrs now, I miss him as much today as the day he left this world. There will always be a seperate part in me, that is his place, and I can visit that.

I don't think 6months is long at all. and I am pleased she was able to be strong in the 12weeks they had together. I too was strong during the funeral, it took months for me to begin to process his death.

I think, just be with your Sister, (not always talking), just be with her. 40yrs is an awfully long time to be with someone, they clearly loved each other, and I think some gaps, just are always there, we just manage to hide it better over time.

I am so pleased your Sister has you.

Elite Member

Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 10/14/2010 5:50 PM (GMT -6)   
My heart is sad for your sister.  I have been down this road more times then I care to count.  Our 21 year old son died in 1990 and I still break down so there is no time period put on grieving. 
I agree with you that 6 months later she needs some help in settling the financial affairs.  Are you close enough that you could offer to help her with that?  My husband and I have been together for 40 years and I don't know if I could handle losing him as he held me up through all my other trials and tribulations.
May I ask if she is seeing a grief counselor or belongs to a grief support group?  The heart of grief counseling is validation. I feel yur sister is fortunate to have you by her side and I suspect you love and respect each other deeply.  Just keep being there for her.  Tell her you understanding how sad she must be feeling.  Try to get her to talk about her partner as talking helps get out the feelings. 
Blessings to you,

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