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Gifts From A Dying Sister


When we were children, my sister and I were very close. Being older by two years, I was the extrovert, the leader, and the fearless one. My parents used to say, “Because you are the eldest, you have to care for your little sister.” She used to follow me around and I would create all kinds of situations for both of us to experience. It was the way things were in those days, and we both seemed to accept each other’s roles. This continued more or less the same way until she was twenty-four years old. Then she married a man eight years her senior and they moved to another city. From that moment on, our relationship changed dramatically. We both moved in different directions and began to live two very separate lifestyles.

Then at the age of forty she became ill with lung cancer. She moved back to Toronto and our journey to reconnect began again, a journey that lasted a year and a half. She died a few months ago. It was during this ordeal that for the first time in many years we told one another how much we cared for and loved each other. She told me, “I don’t want to die.” And I told her also that I didn’t want her to die and I promised her I would care for her children if she did not recover. We were beginning to bond again as sisters.

Then one evening during a healing session, my sister disclosed for the very first time deep feelings and experiences from when we were children. One of the things she shared was she had always wanted to be like me. She had kept this secret locked up in her mind and heart all these years. I could see how painful it was for her to open up, communicate and share her innermost feelings. I never knew who my sister really was till the end of her life. Then and only then did I get a glimpse of her strength, power and beauty. Finally we connected on a soul level. No words, no explanations, no concepts, no intellectual talk. She revealed herself quietly just by being there. At the end of her life, my little sister gave me the two greatest of gifts: that of knowing eternal life and divine love.

Death had always been a remote concept for me. I had no reason to think of it as no one close to me had ever died. I always felt I understood death, both intellectually and spiritually but with my sister’s illness, I had no choice but to face one of life’s greatest mysteries. I discovered my resistance, my ignorance, my deepest fear of death and the pain associated with it. The reality that my sister would soon die was getting closer and closer. I could not escape it, ignore or deny it even though there were many times when I just wanted to close my eyes and sink into oblivion. The pain that I experienced in my heart every time I would look at the almost skeletal figure of my beautiful sister was unbearable. Near the end of her life, she weighed only seventy pounds and also became blind in one eye. I wanted so desperately to take away the emotional and psychological pain she was experiencing and fiercely protect her from the humiliation she felt from the unwanted stares of people whenever we took her home from the hospital on a day pass. Whenever our eyes would lock, I could read her question, “Why is this happening to me?” I could give her no reason, no meaning, no answers.

Every minute of every day, the reality of her death was getting closer and closer. I began to feel anger at her indirectly for forcing me to go through this experience, one I had not chosen. Then one night several months before her actual death while in meditation I consciously allowed myself to really look at what her moment of death would be like. At first it was terrifying especially because I imagined her dying in a cold hospital room instead of the warmth of her home. It was overwhelming but then an awareness and calm came over me. I asked for spiritual guidance and another way to experience her death, without fear. I started to breathe slowly, relax and focus in the energy field of source within me. Images began to form and I saw myself with my sister and her children. I imagined how I would feel and what I would say to her. What I saw was a scene of what the last moments of her death would look like. At the end of my meditation, I felt uplifted and peaceful. I knew then, I would be with her when the time would come for her to leave this physical world.

Months later, on a Sunday afternoon, in a hospital room, my sister was leaving. I knew it. I was there as well as her children and our mother. Our father and brother came later. I could feel her soul very slowly and gently leaving her body. Her daughters held her by one hand and I held her by the other, while stroking her hair. I felt such intense love for her and I knew she felt it as well. It was as if my heart (I could feel this as a physical sensation in the centre of my chest area) was breaking open to stretch beyond its normal capacity. All the time her soul slowly began to depart her body, I was there whispering words of love, support, reassurance and guidance towards the Light. I experienced myself totally connected to her and my Spiritual Source. I felt at peace for I knew where she was going. The truth was coming from a deep place within me and I had a knowing beyond anything my mind could have imaged. I did not actually see any particular light but I felt a very strong energy field of peace and love encompassing the two of us. It was coming from inside of us permeating the whole room. As her life force slowly left her body, I could feel her slowly emerging to the other side.

My dearest, beautiful sister was peacefully surrendering her body while her soul came closer and closer to Spirit. In the last minutes of her death, there were no barriers, no separation. I could feel only Spirit, hers and mine were one. It was the same energy, the same substance. Through her death, I experienced life, the living Spirit and the vibration of love more intensely and deeply than I had ever experienced before in my life. The mystery of death had finally revealed itself to me.

My little sister, through her death gave me the greatest of gifts. I now know that death is an aspect of the continuum of life and an end of a cycle. It is the final surrender of our body and our ego to love and Spirit. The beauty, the power, and the peace this gift contains has enriched my life and has transformed me beyond measure.

I miss you dearest sister and when I think of your body, that empty shell beneath the earth, I feel an ache in the centre of my chest, an ache so deep. If I close my eyes however, and go within and feel our love, I know you are safe and well and this brings me peace.

This story was first published in 2000 in Vitality Magazine and then in 2004 in the book: Conscious Women Conscious Lives.


9 Responses to “Gifts From A Dying Sister”

  1. Kyrsten says:


    I remember Josephine, her beauty and her contagious smile.



  2. Lyne says:

    Very touching story, Medea. You have had to endure a lot of sadness in your life. My thoughts and prayers are with you. Blessings Lynne

    • Medea C. says:

      Thank you Lynne! Sadness, grief and loss can be used in service to our own transformation and evolution! This has been my soul’s choice and purpose!

  3. Robin Preboy says:

    Once again, your writing conveys a depth of experience that inspires and upflifts. Your conscious, courageous journeying into dark places we don’t want to go, and your ability to find Light there and so honestly and eloquently share it with us, is a rare rare treasure, Medea. I have great respect for you. Thank you.

  4. Janet Dawson says:

    Your story is so beautiful and well told! Thank you for sharing the beauty of human love, and life in all its depth and glory.

  5. Medea, this is such a beautiful and moving account of your sister’s transition. I cried as I was reading it. Thank you for sharing it here and telling this story with such eloquence, grace and wisdom — it’s beautifully written. What a gem!

  6. Dearest Medea,

    Once again you reach into the cauldron of love and pain and draw beauty forth from it. How deeply touching that you embraced this astounding threshold called death and felt the heights of spirit instead of darkness. I know your sister’s spirit was gently guided into light though your love. What a blessing you are.

    Much Love,

  7. caroline strutt says:

    my own little sister committed suicide roughly 10 years ago and I am coming up to her birthday nov. 13th. been feeling very depressed the last couple of days and then it hit me, oh of course claire’s birthday is coming up in a couple of weeks. yes claire ended her life 10 years ago, but the hurt and loss is always with me as much as I think I have processed her suicide, obviously I still have soome work to do. anyways the story of your own little sister was very uplifting and brought a tear to my eye as I read it. at claire’s memorial, she was cremated, a beautiful brown eagle flew overhead as though her spirit had been released from all the pain emotionally and physically she had been in. it was as though I was drawn to the story of your sister. thanks for listening.

    Caroline Strutt

  8. Medea C. says:

    I am moved as well by your share, Caroline! I think there is a difference between developing ourselves and relating to our emotions, especially true emotion such as grief. We can be developed and evolved AND we can still experience the pain of loss, the difference is that we can “hold and contain” the emotion from a deeper, compassionate and empowered center within.
    May you navigate this sensitive time with ease and grace!
    Much love,

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