About Puzzle Pieces
We are from a family of five girls. We think of each of our sisters as a puzzle piece with differently shaped edges that fit perfectly together and complete the picture. We each have a unique personality and set of talents, but we were shaped by the others and feel most at home fitted together. Our oldest sister, Colleen, died of cancer at the age of 39. Without her, we will always feel like a piece of our puzzle is missing.
Our sister died in early 2015. Since then, we have managed to get a few minutes of sleep, form sentences again, and return to our daily lives. It was not an easy journey. We are sisters numbers 2 and 3 (we often refer to ourselves by birth order) and we felt compelled to write about siblings and young adults dealing with caregiving and grief.
We do not discount the great work that all caregivers do but can only speak to our experience as sisters and young adults. Despite knowing that we were vital to our sister and feeling her loss acutely, as "mere siblings" it sometimes seemed like we had no status. We were not always recognized as important caregivers and our grief was discounted by some. We also discovered that there are gaps in care and resources for those facing the end of their life and limited support and training for family caregivers, but we felt especially overlooked as young adult caregivers of a young adult patient. And in our grief, we often felt isolated from our peers. Yet, we are optimistic that we can draw attention to areas of need and help you feel less alone.
We are sharing our story and experiences in caregiving and grieving in the hopes that other siblings and young adults will find this website a relevant source of information and connections. As you explore our website, you can read our stories and others' on the Blog, find useful and humorous Resources, and join the conversation online by linking and sharing our posts.