Alex looked after their sister during a short illness. When she died, Alex arranged the funeral and handed over probate to a solicitor.

13 minute read

<aside> <img src="" alt="" width="40px" /> 3 months before her death, Alex's sister is diagnosed with leukaemia


It was like a big whack over the head

My sister Sarah was diagnosed with leukaemia around Christmas – I was there when she got the diagnosis. She deteriorated within weeks. Everything was chaos and I even had to help her take down the Christmas decorations.

This was when the bulk of my grieving occurred because the diagnosis was such a serious thing – it was like a big whack over the head because she was actually quite a healthy person with no big symptoms. I was distraught seeing Sarah go through the horrible chemo and bone biopsies and all the painful stuff.

At the time, I was in the finals of my Masters and working 12 hour shifts on a ward. I don't know how I did it.

And it was expensive. I was getting cabs home from the hospital a lot of the time, because I was so tired. On average I would say it’s about 10 or 15 pounds a day, which adds up. Sometimes if you haven’t got time to buy from the Co-op or Tesco you end up, you know, buying something from the hospital shops which are extremely expensive.

<aside> <img src="" alt="" width="40px" /> Grief can begin at the time of illness, not just at the point of death


<aside> <img src="" alt="" width="40px" /> Caring for someone who is ill is emotionally draining, tiring and can also be expensive


<aside> <img src="" alt="" width="40px" /> Alex is with their sister when she dies


She's really poorly, she's going on morphine

My sister was in and out of hospital but able to have a lot of the treatment at home. It was horrible seeing her there – for somebody who’d once been very independent and enjoyed their holidays and stuff, basically sitting in the flat with the blinds shut a lot of the time, I mean it’s not really what she wanted. In the last week, Sarah completely shut down and gave up. I felt like she was holding on and holding on.

The hospital rang me and said 'she’s really poorly and we're going to put her on morphine'. That was when I knew that things just weren't right so I went straight to the hospital. Last time I'd visited she'd been on the ward with other people but when I got there she was in a room by herself.