Posted by: chlost | July 13, 2010

Four months

It has been four months.  You would think that after four months you would be used to something.  When you move to a new place, after four months, you have found the new grocery store, the new library, the way to work that is the best commute.  In four months, you will know if a new relationship holds promise to be long-term.  In four months, a newborn child gains a personality which is apparent even to those who are not the parents.

But it has been four months since my sister’s death, and I have still not accepted that she is gone.

For the past few days I have not felt well.  I have had a recurring migraine. I just could not get past it. I slept a lot over the weekend, trying to recover.  I had a few obligations which I had to meet, but other than that, I did nothing.  It has been a long time since I have had a migraine, especially one like this. I could not figure out why this one was so awful.

Then, I received an email from my other sister.  Her message was about how hard it was for her yesterday, on the four-month anniversary of our sister’s death.  She had been putting together an album of family pictures for our nephew, and looking at some forgotten videos of our sister.  She had heard her voice on the video and been overcome.

Can you feel grief subconsciously? I had not recalled yesterday as the anniversary, but could I have felt it somewhere below the surface?  Could that explain why I have felt so horrible? Maybe.

My sister was an amazing singer. Her voice was made for opera, and the classical music she loved.  Her speaking voice, however, sounded much like mine.  When I heard an audio recording of us long ago, it was hard to tell who was saying what-I knew only because I remembered what I said.  I can only imagine how hard it was for my sister to have seen that video.  Just thinking about it makes me very sad.  I know that if we find a video (or audio) recording of her singing, I will be in very bad shape.

Do you realize that we are the first generation to be able to have life-like recordings of our relatives who have died?  It used to be that there were just memories, then photos, then maybe a movie without sound.  Now, it is common to have video, either digital or otherwise, with our loved ones moving and speaking as if they are still alive.  It will help future generations get an idea of that person whom they never met, but I am not sure that it is great for those of us who lived with them and loved them to see them as if they are alive. 

Maybe someday it will be comforting.

All I can tell you is that it has been four months, and I am still not there.



  1. You shouldn’t be there after only four months. It’s still very new and raw. And yes, you can experience grief outside your conscious awareness. Every year mid-May, I feel a welling up of sorrow, and then realize – it’s the anniversary of my brother’s death. Even after nine years, it still happens. Go easy on yourself.

  2. So sorry you are going through this. I lost my sister when I was young but I think it is much easier for kids to cope with loss than it is for adults. Wishing you all the best! Hang in there! 🙂

  3. Four months isn’t a very long time ch….certainly not after a lifetime of caring and loving someone. I’ve never had a sister…but if it were my brother, I’m not sure how long it would take me to get through it. I believe you definitely can grieve subconsciously; and I wouldn’t be at all surprised that your horrible headache may have been a result of that. Mourning someone who has been an important part of your life can affect you in any number of ways. I lost my husband almost five years ago, and I get little nostalgic moments every year because they remind me of things he liked to do or times our family spent together….or something just reminds me of him as a person. There’s never a time limit on something like this ch….. Hugs, Joy

  4. For a newborn, four months is everything. For grief, it’s just a small drop in the huge lake.

    My dad was an opera singer. He’s been gone more than seven years. I still haven’t played in any of his tapes since his death. I just can’t.

    Grief is a subway of pain: low and rumbling and powerful, buried in the subterra.

  5. The others are correct, you should not have any expectations after four years nor four months. People live on in our hearts and minds, we keep them there; all the good thoughts and memories, the things they did that changed or effected our lives. It shouldn’t be any other way. Embrace the memories.

  6. I’m so sorry for your loss. Four months is nothing at all when it comes to mourning.

    Yes, I do think we mourn subconsciously, perhaps forever. For myself I appreciate that my tradition allows me, requires me, to bring this mourning to the surface several times each year so that I can freely express my sorrow over my losses. Maybe that helps keep it from becoming overwhelming, I do not know. I just know I value these times.

    May your sister’s memory be for a blessing and may your headaches subside.

  7. I agree with all the other responses. Four months is nothing when mourning someone. I have a recording of my mother and cannot bear to listen. But I am so pleased I have it: when she died my first thought was that I would never again hear her voice. Then one day when sorting through her effects I found this tape and there she was. It was too difficult to listen to but at the same time a great comfort to know that I could do so if I wished. My thoughts are with you.

  8. Four months is still very early to think about being there. Grief is a very individual progress, depending on so many factors: how much we loved the person, how long we knew them (with a sibling it’s often your entire lifetime), how conflicted our relationship was, etc. Sometimes it helps to just accept your grief for what it is. Let it roll over you, pass through you, feel it now and know that you’ll eventually feel less intensely. But, all this said, it’s such a hard go. I’m sorry you lost your sister. Sounds like she was loved very much.

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