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When my sister died

My only concerns when I was 16 years old were my friends, my boyfriend and what I was going to wear to the next party. During this time in my life, my older sister Tahnee underwent an operation to remove a brain tumour. Due to complications, she was induced into a coma.

Tahnee had her 21st birthday whilst unconscious in hospital and after six months in a coma and devastating our entire family, she suddenly died. My world and my family's world was shattered. I withdrew and in time lost/pushed away everyone closest to me.

Now grief IS a normal part of life, but I had not at that point, developed good coping skills to say the least. The grief I experienced was out of balance and completely all consuming.

At 18, as I left high school, which should have been an exciting time in my life, I was instead crying myself to sleep every night for the next two years. I was enormously withdrawn and disconnected from everyone who meant anything to me.

I knew and those around me knew that I was enormously impacted by my sister’s death but what I didn't fully comprehend was that I was actually traumatised by it all. ICU, saying goodbye as machines were turned off, then the hope and ongoing stress and uncertainty as she remained alive in a coma, the hospital visits and finally her sudden death, followed by the viewing, the funeral and seeing everyone’s grief. Overwhelming, long term stress, combined with the traumatic experiences that I did not have the ability to cope with or process in a healthy way. I was utterly broken. This grief and trauma remained unresolved in my mind and body for many, many years.

Through all of these experiences, came 'learnt helplessness'; not being able to help my sister or my precious family who were suffering the most intense grief and worst kind of loss imaginable; a daughter and a sister.

The beliefs formed in those experiences and the effects of this traumatic time in my life changed the entire trajectory of my life. In the height of my int