I take some comfort in knowing she isn't suffering or in pain anymore. I've been a nurse for 10 years and never realized how much people with mental illness and addiction suffer. That is where alot of the guilt comes from......"I've made a life around saving and caring for people, yet I let my own sister die". My brain tells me there was nothing more you could have done, and my heart says you failed. It's a strange juggling act, but I know I have to let myself feel all this.
My heart goes out to you for your loss. I really appreciate your sharing this. I lost my sister Patti from alcoholism and abuse. She had been in a downward spiral that I watched - like a train wreck in slow motion. I understand the feeling of powerlessness and guilt - the "what if only". I do believe that everyone has their time and purpose in this world and that Patti contributed a great deal for her short time. So even though she died at 57, her contribution to the world and her family's spirit goes far beyond and I'm eternally grateful for the gift of my sister. I struggle the most with the feeling that I could have done more to "save her". Perhaps you feel the same. I do take comfort in knowing that I did the best that I could at the time - of course and that she was spent, ready and done in her own world - nothing that I could have an impact on. Just a selfish thought to keep her in this world that she felt so "done" with. Your expressions tell me that you were both lucky to have each other for the time that you did. Celebrate that and the people you have in your life today that nourish you as she did.
I'm so sorry to hear about your loss. I lost my sister to an overdose a year and a half ago. Her life had also taken a downward spiral for the worst.
I think it's really important to not stay in feelings of regret for too long. My family and I talk a lot about how we did absolutely everything we could for my sister, but nothing we could have done would have prevented her death. It sounds like you were a loving sibling, and you did what was best for you and for your kids. Losing a sibling is hard enough as it is, but beating yourself up for what you should have done is an extra burden that you shouldn't put on yourself.
You are not alone in your sorrows, but you need to be sure to show yourself compassion and not be hard on yourself.