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My sister, my friend


Dear Life Coach,

I am 18 years old and my sister is two years older than I am. People who meet us for the first time think we are twins; we have a striking resemblance in terms of facial features, height, size, complexion, voice quality and behaviour. Sometimes, we also dress the same way for fun. We have the same mother, but different fathers. Both our fathers left my mother when we were young. I do not know my father, but my sister’s father went to Canada and has kept in touch with her on and off over the years.{{more}} I learned recently that her father is filing papers to have her join him, so that she can attend college. My sister and my mother are excited, but I am completely heartbroken. I pretend to be happy for her, but the truth is — I am not. I am not jealous or anything, but I consider my sister to be my very best friend. I thought that we would always be together. I look forward to her being my chief bridesmaid when I get married some day and vice versa. I thought she felt the same way about me too; we spend so much time together and have so much fun. We share everything and whisper and giggle about little nothings. How could she even consider leaving me? Even if she was told by her father that she has to, how could she be happy about it? I am shocked, alarmed and saddened by the idea. Furthermore, I feel that my friendship with her has been betrayed.

Betrayed Sister (BS)

Dear BS,

I know that it is very difficult for you to lose your best friend, even more so your sister — since good friendship is extremely hard to find.

Your Situation:

Several factors appear to be at work here: sibling relationship, friendship, grief and loss, migration, developmental milestones/transitions, disappointment. I will address each briefly.

Sibling Relationship

Good sibling relationships provide us with emotional and practical support throughout life. The bonds shared by sister-friends are deep, doubly strong, and highly treasured by those who find it.


During adolescence, the need for intimacy (closeness to others) increases, which motivates teenagers to seek close friendships. Youth experience loneliness and reduced self-worth, and are at risk for drug abuse and other delinquent behaviour in the absence of positive peer relationships.

Grief and Loss

When we lose someone (or something) that we love dearly, we experience grief, which is a mental and emotional reaction to our loss. When we are able to make an emotional and mental adjustment to our loss in a relatively short time (using our support system) and carry on with our lives, grieving is considered to be normal.


Migration is the movement of individuals from one area to another, whether local or overseas. Millions of individuals worldwide migrate yearly, with the hope of finding a better life for themselves and their family. Migration of Caribbean people to ‘up North’ is often seen in idealistic terms, which usually creates excitement at the prospect.

Developmental Milestones/Transitions

You and your sister are adolescents. During this stage you are expected to accomplish various developmental tasks including: academic achievement, selecting a career path, and finding a job. It is the period of transition to adulthood of which your sister is on the threshold.


Disappointment is the feeling of dissatisfaction that results when something we expect or hope for does not happen or materialize. This in turn can lead to frustration, anger and depression.

What to Do:

Talk with Your Sister

Find out how your sister feels about leaving for overseas. Be open to the possibility that she may be excited about the idea. Find a way to be happy for her, since it gives her a better chance to succeed in life, although it breaks your heart to lose her.

Make a Pledge to be Lifelong Friends

Let your sister know how much you love her and the friendship you share. Make a commitment with her for lifelong friendship, despite the distance. Plan ways to keep in touch on a daily/weekly basis (telephone calls, emails, Skype, letters, visits). In this technological age, distance is dramatically reduced by our ability to communicate via electronic means.

Be Supportive/Assist with the Transition

Although it may be hard, try to be supportive of your sister. If she is happy, try to be happy for her. If she is sad about it, then be sad with her. Help to prepare her for the transition (planning, shopping, packing, etc).

Think Positively

Think positively about the situation. It may work out better than you think. It may also open the opportunity for you to visit overseas. Bask in the memories that you share.

Grieve if you Must

It is okay to be sad about your loss. However, try to find appropriate ways of grieving e.g. keeping her picture nearby. Seek comfort from other family members.

Find New Friendships

While no one can replace your sister and the close bond you share, it will be important for you to find new friendships or strengthen existing ones, so that you have persons with whom to connect, share and have fun.

BS, take hope in the fact that you can see your sister again, and in the mean time you can carry her in your heart.

Life Coach


Need help with relationship and other problems? Ask DYNACII’s Life Coach. Email your questions to To Chat with the Life Coach, visit: Dynamic Action Center International Inc. (DYNACII) a non-governmental organization committed to social and spiritual empowerment.