An Open Letter to My Sister Who Doesn’t Speak to Me Anymore…


Today, we are supposed to be at a Bon Iver concert in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, sipping on lemonades, soaking in the sunshine. I was supposed to take you to experience your first Summerfest. Today, we were supposed to celebrate your 17th birthday! But, something terrible happened. Our relationship crumbled, and now, I’m not sure if we can repair our sisterhood.

Getting cut out of your life feels worse than any other break-up I’ve ever experienced in my life. In middle school, my best friend stopped talking to me because she thought I was taking her ex-boyfriend’s side. This is worse. This is worse than any high school rejection I ever received because boys thought I was weird. This is worse than my long-time high school / college best friend ghosting me because she started to believe lies that someone was spreading about me. This hurts worse. This hurts worse than when my boyfriend of over 3 years dumped me on my 21st birthday. Throughout my life, I’ve dealt with rejection in all sorts of different ways. This, though, slices like a knife to a vital artery in a way because I can’t imagine my life without you in it.  You’re not some dumb boyfriend. You’re not some snotty, fake friend who obviously was using me. You’re my blood. You’re my sister. You’re my ride or die, or supposed to be. Image may contain: Haley Rae and Heather Yates, people smiling, tree, wedding, outdoor and nature

So, why don’t you listen when I tell you “I love you”? Why don’t you believe me when I say I empathize with you? Why can’t you let me in when I knock repeatedly at your door? Don’t you know how many nights I’ve lost sleep thinking about you, crying over you, praying for you to come back into my life? I fucking miss you. I have so many questions for you, and I wish you could answer them. When I close my eyes, I can still see your icy blue eyes welling up in pain. I wish, over everything, that I was enough to help you. I hate that there was nothing I could do to take away your pain. I wish I had said the right thing to help you rebalance your life and love me again.

As your big sister, I always wanted that perfect relationship where we would fight about clothes and scream-sing songs in the car when we were listening to the radio. Instead, I got fights about drugs and mediated screaming matches between you and mom, or between us girls.

Looking back, you were always Dad’s favorite girl. You were so similar in every single imaginable way. People compared your baby pictures and compared your tempers, your taste in foods and your interests in school. Where the fuck did that person go? The happy girl who was so goofy and so independent? The girl who had big dreams – bigger than ‘get me the fuck out of this house because I hate my family’. Your dreams were to save the world.

Image may contain: 4 people, including Heather Yates and Haley Rae, people smiling, people standing and dog

What happened?

When did your life start to spiral?

What part did I play as your big sister?

What did I do so wrong to make you hate me?

I hear your cries for help – I don’t know how to help other than the ways our family has already helped you. We’ve taken you to the best doctors, given you space to make your own choices. Your feelings are valid. You are loved. 

Image may contain: 4 people, people smiling, people standing, tree, outdoor and nature


I wish you would pick me. I wish you would pick our family over a substance. I wish you would pick our family over friends who are temporary and a job that is a dead end.  I wish you believed me when I said that I know exactly how you’re feeling, and I’ve felt that way too in my past before.

Life sucks, but the right people around us can make it so much better and easier. Please pick me. Please pick our family again. Please come back and be the goofy girl with the drive to save the world.

You grew up. You changed. I get that! I’m not saying be a little girl anymore … I’m saying please bring Ashlyn back so we can get the chance to be sisters again.

Image may contain: 5 people, including Haley Rae, Heather Yates, Sadie Bredl and Kathy Steensrud, people smiling, people sitting, table and indoor

I love you.

I miss you.


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