No day but today- Mourning a meant-to-be-Auntie


Tomorrow will be the 6th anniversary of losing my big sister to cancer. There it is. The crux of it.

And breathe…here goes…

I think about my sister everyday. She was the most amazing, generous, spiritual, caring, hard-working person I have ever known. I moved to London to go to university, away from most of my family and my (then) boyfriend, (now hubby), and the one person that I knew in London was my sister. She had already created a succesful life and career down here, but she was like a second mum to me, (I know my mum wont mind me saying this because she is the biggest advocate of my sister’s amazing-ness). Obviously no one wants their little sister hanging around but with my sister it was different, even from a young age. We would go rowing in a little dingy on holidays in the Lakes. If I needed a break from uni life, I was always welcome round to hers like a second home. If I needed help with uni work, she would spare her precious time helping me. She would always have me at gatherings at her flat. She even came to a singing competition at a tiny restaurant that I competed in, when no one else could make it- she treked right across London in a taxi, even though she had started to feel ill (little did I know at that time this would be the start of her cancer). I keep my memories of my sister close to my heart but I am so sad that my baby will not get to meet her meant-to-be-Auntie.

A lot of this is heightened when I think about baby’s similarities to my sister. She loves books. I mean obsessed. My sister (my mum tells me) loved books as a baby/child, she studied English at University and read a phenomenal amount growing up. She would sit and have toys and books brought to her rather than crawl around and would pour over the books. Baby, before she could crawl, was a great reacher. She would lean as far as she could and reach for the nearest books and reach up to her little shelves to grab them, so that she hardly had to move. Now that she can crawl and pull herself up she always beelines for her low-ish bookshelf. She has bright blue eyes- the only person in my family with blue eyes was my sister. But then I think how blessed I am to have these little reminders. I have dreams about my sister often, sometimes that she is actually still alive and that this was all a mistake and she has come back after just a long trip away. It makes me sad when I wake up but at the same time I feel closer to her.

I will be strong for my baby and not be sad when we talk about my sister. Baby will know her meant-to-be-Auntie and will be told how amazing she is and all the things I see in her that are similar to her Auntie. I’m not saying it’s something you have to do, but for me I feel it’s so important to talk to our children about close relatives. I’ve never been a big talker about feelings but this is one I will stick to. We will show baby pictures of my sister and play her favourite music. We will take baby to the Lake District on holiday, and see where her ashes are scattered- a little place called High Dam which we loved to walk up to as kids. We will tell baby that her Auntie is watching down on her from heaven.

There is no day but today, but there is also an incredible past/passed life which is so important to remember. I’m coming up to the age my sister was when she showed the first signs of her illness and all the sadness, worries and darkness bubble up to the surface again. But there is so much to plan for our baby’s future and I feel so lucky to have this new life and the bright memories of my sister to share with her.



  1. With an ocean between us I did not have the pleasure of getting to know her. I was lucky enough to be able to see her a little while we were on our 3+ year sojourn in the UK. We also had a meal with her and her husband while they were in the US. That meal was rather poignant. She was smiling and pleasant but told us she didn’t feel well. We hugged and said good bye. That was the last time. They returned to the UK and her subsequent diagnosis. Devastating to everyone.

    I know that as my children grew into teenagers and got married there were many times my mothers relatively early death played over the events of their lives. I missed not having her to share with, ask questions of, or talk to. Sometimes I felt very alone.

    Even though I wasn’t blessed with a sibling I understand your pain.


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