Grieving the loss of my sister Carrie

Thank you all so much for your condolences regarding the loss of my sister. It helps a lot to know so many people are thinking of and praying for me and my family during this difficult time. Love, Amy


A sister is a gift to the heart,
a friend to the spirit,
a golden thread to the meaning of life.
— Isadora James

Living a Nightmare

It’s been two weeks since I received the devastating news in the middle of the night that my sister died in a car accident. As the coroner said the words over the phone, I felt like I was living a nightmare. Through the seemingly never-ending river of tears that night I had to ask my husband Jody, “Is this really happening?

I waited about two hours before calling my parents in Michigan. I wanted them to get as much sleep as they could before I uttered the words that would turn their world upside-down.

That was the worst night of my life.

Some days I still think that this all must be a horrible, awful dream and I pray that I will wake up. Yet I don’t. I am already awake.

The Reality

It doesn’t seem possible that my little sister Carrie Scislowicz — my only sister — could be taken from this world at the age of 31. She was just really getting comfortable with who she was and she was making a difference in the world.

The truth is she’d been making a difference in the world for years. Carrie entered into Narcotics Anonymous at the age of 19. Throughout the years, she’d overcome many obstacles in her life and inspired those who met her. Narcotics Anonymous became her second family and she was instrumental in so many people’s recoveries.

My sister — who earned her law degree three years ago — had been working as an advocate for people with developmental disabilities and she was great at her job. She not only advocated for the people who were her clients, but she also helped friends and friends of friends to get the assistance they needed for themselves or their loved ones.

She was compassionate, silly, intelligent, passionate, fun, witty, sarcastic, daring and loving. She was so amazing.

Emotional Rollercoaster

In the past two weeks I’ve gone through the gamut of emotions — sadness, anger, rage, confusion, disbelief, guilt. I expect this to go on for a while. It still feels so surreal. Although I’ve seen her totaled car, read the accident report, talked to the coroner, planned her memorial service, delivered her eulogy, buried her cremated remains, and packed up and moved her belongings from her apartment to my garage, I am still having a hard time accepting this is real.

It wasn’t supposed to happen this way.

The Broken Puzzle

I spent some time at the cemetery this morning talking to Carrie. It felt so foreign to sit there in the grass, talking to the ground while the tears poured down, down, down.

I’m trying to make sense of it all, but it doesn’t make sense. It’s like trying to put together a puzzle with pieces belonging to several different puzzles. They just don’t fit.

A Long, Winding Road

In less than two weeks there will be another service to remember Carrie, this time in Michigan. Until that is complete, I don’t feel like I can truly begin to heal. I can only process so much at one time.

The sadness washes over me in waves. I grieve until it hurts so much that my mind must turn it off for a while. I take a break. I try to do normal things. Today I played in the leaves with the kids. And that was good.

I don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but I am thankful for the so many yesterdays I got to share with Carrie throughout the years. She was so much more than a sister to me. She was my best friend.

She won’t be forgotten.

Carrie, Ava, Julian and me – Halloween 2009

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36 thoughts on “Grieving the loss of my sister Carrie”

  1. Amy,

    My heart goes out to you and your family, again and again. Over and over again. You’re so right. Losing Carrie doesn’t seem real, and it absolutely wasn’t supposed to happen this way.


  2. so very sorry for this incomprehensible loss. a wise woman once told me that “grief shatters and scatters.” wishing you strength as you try to pick up the pieces.

  3. Amy,

    My heart hurts for you. I wish there was something I could write or do that would help. Before my mom died, I hadn’t lost anyone close to me in death. I don’t think it matters who it is- if you love them, it is a loss that changes you and I don’t think that hole in your heart heals completely. I’ve realized it’s okay that it won’t. That spot in your heart will never be the same, but it will always remind you of Carrie and the relationship you had. In time, it won’t be as raw- as painful as it is now. But it is an unimaginable loss.

    A few weeks after my mom passed away, I came across a poem on another blog- a blogger had lost her battle with cancer after several years and one of her readers posted this poem that just touched me. I sat and cried for half an hour, but it made me feel better. I will bring it for you tomorrow and you can read it when and if you like at some point. I think the only thing I can say is do what you need to do to just get through the day right now- we are all here for you, and love you.

  4. Amy,

    I know I was not close to Carrie, I graduated with Paul, and for some reason Carrie’s untimely death has hit me hard. I try to process why, and the only logical reason I have come up with is my sister and Carrie are the same age and graduated from Clawson together. Everytime you post something I HAVE to read it.

    Please know you and your whole family is in my thoughts and prayers daily. Just the thought of something happening brings tears to my eyes.

  5. Amy,
    Beautifully written my friend. Your sisters legacy is truly and inspiration to us all. I am so sorry for this shocking life change. I have no answers, no advice…I know my world would cease to exist as it had too. Playing in the leaves with the kids sounds like something we ALL should do more often…

    Peace and hugs to you,

  6. I lost my sis 3 years ago. I wish there was something I could say to make it better, but there isn’t. If you ever want to talk to someone who has been there, email or DM me. I’d be glad to listen.

  7. amy, i can’t conceive of your loss. i am close with my own sister. there is something amazing between us girls. you were lucky to have each other and my heart breaks for you and your family. there are no words but i hope you can feel the love across the miles.

  8. What a beautiful tribute to your sister! My heart aches for you. I will keep you and your family in my prayers. I was not blessed with a sister, but I cannot help but tear up reading this and thinking of my daughter’s! How truly blessed you were to have her. Take care.

  9. I wish I could express just how deeply I feel for your loss and how much I want for your pain to ease. Please know I hold you in my thoughts constantly and am sending you vibes of love and peace and strength. Hugs to you, sweet friend!

  10. i’m so glad to read these comments in support of you, amy. and i hadn’t read the beautiful blog post your fiend wrote on oct 27 (which you linked to above). it’s so good to see that you have some wonderful people in colorado to support you and your family at this time. my thoughts and prayers are still with you and your family and parents.

    ~ cousin becky

  11. Amy – What a beautiful post. My heart is heavy for you and your family and what you all have had to endure. My beloved aunt died suddenly in a motorcycle accident over 10 years ago. I had spent my young life trying to be just like her and I was in so many ways. I also had been given the responsibility of telling my mom that her youngest sister was gone. Just this year, I lost my dad and my grandmother and 2 friends. A friend of mine lost her sister last year. There has been a lot of grief and loss in my life.

    My thoughts for you – the road to healing is a long, painful one, but it will get better. You will heal and the severity of pain will subside, but know your heart will always have an ache for her loss. Take the grieving one day at a time, heal as much as you can and always take your sister everywhere you go. She will always be next to you.

    Know I am here for you and please let me know if you need anything. Even just a hug or an ear when you need to talk about your dear sister Carrie.

  12. I am sobbing reading this. I am so sorry for your loss. 3 years ago my cousin who was like brother to me was killed in a motorcycle accident. There is nothing as painful and tragic as such an unexpected and sudden loss. The only thing that helps is time. I just wanted you to know I feel your pain, and am saying a prayer for you and your family.

  13. Amy – My heart aches for your loss and I cannot imagine what it must be like to lose a loved one so young and unexpected. This type of loss is the most difficult to overcome.

    Carrie was a wonderful woman who really made a difference. I’m so happy that you were close with your dear sister and that you have many happy memories to draw upon.

    How are your parents holding up? How do you answer the questions your children must have about their aunt?

    My heart swells with compassion for you, Amy, and I hope you feel some peace after the memorial service in Michigan.

  14. I’m still unsure of what to say A. Each Monday since, I’ve thought of her and each Tuesday since, I’ve thought of you. I don’t know that pain should be washed away because then it would mean that we don’t feel deeply. However, right now, I wish that you weren’t hurting *so* much and that you didn’t lose so much. I will always remember Carrie as sarcastic, witty and super intelligent with a beautiful smile. I am continuing to send you hugs across the miles and love you much.

  15. You and your family are in my thoughts Amy. The enormous range of emotions reflect the love you shared with your sister. Maybe the surreality will never go away. Losing a sibling is so hard at a young age. It did all but kill one of my closest friends at 11 when she lost her older 13 yo brother. Spend some time with your lovely children. Just play, run through leaves, pack food and go backpacking with the kids. Cherish your moments with them because they can help you heal. 🙂 Children are so intuitive.
    Love and hugs to you and your family.

  16. Amy,

    Reading your blog and feeling your loss makes me grieve with you. Please know that you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

  17. What a beautiful tribute to your sister and your relationship.

    The best thing you can do now is FEEL and take the time you need. It sounds like you are doing that.

    Again, my deepest condolences. I knew your sister had to be someone very special.

    Please take care of yourself, Amy.

  18. That picture of the four of you makes me weep, sob from my heart. What a terrible loss for you, your family and the world. She sounds like the most amazing person. Oh God, I hurt for you.


  19. I am so sorry to hear of your loss. We lost my brother this past August 2010 at the age of 34. I never could have anticipated how painful grief really is. Sending you good thoughts…

  20. hey

    i used to work with your sister at CU, we were a team at Kitteredge, where is she buried? i would love to go lay some flowers.

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