Sister Surrendered by Darla M. Grese
Age Group: Adult
Release Date: April 11, 2014
When you’re a twin, loneliness is somewhat unfamiliar because you’ve always had each other. So when a twin passes, the other is left unprepared. Our loyalty was steadfast and our devotion to one another, solid. Our love was unconditional no matter what the circumstances.
I’m so grateful every day for the memories of the joy and laughter that we shared together. I know the bond that Kelli and I shared is impossible for anyone to replace. This memoir has become something so much more than initially intended. It’s become a documented journey barely scratching the surface of the love between two sisters. And surprisingly, it’s also become an outlet for me to speak candidly and honestly about my struggles with the cause of Kelli’s death.
This is a love story turned tragedy. An exposure of one of the greatest healthcare failures killing Veterans and civilians, and a cry for help to remedy the fiasco. I’ve stressed about who I would mention in this book, nervous that I would hurt someone’s feelings by not mentioning their names. But I’ve realized that it’s impossible to do.
Kelli had so many great friends, some I’ve never even met. I need each person to know who has taken the time to reach out to me in whatever capacity that if it weren’t for your heartfelt show of support and love, I don’t know that I would be able to muster the energy to even get up each day. Kelli, we did it.
Sister Surrendered, my memoir, is a book that I wish didn’t exist. I wish I could replace the word Surrendered with perhaps prospered or flourished. But I cannot.
How did this happen? How did I lose a battle that I fought so hard for? Why did I settle the case? Why did I have to write my memoir that ended in such avoidable tragedy? These are questions I’m left with each and every morning, after nights filled with nightmares, sadness and feeling s of defeat.
Every story should have a great ending right? By the time we finish the last paragraph, we’re leaping to our feet, applauding and celebrating that happy, “feel-good” ending. And dammit I wish by the time you finished my book, you’d be doing the same. But the truth is, you’ll end up angry, sad and maybe even baffled. You’ll be left with questioning a system that’s now currently under fire in most media outlets, the Veterans Affairs Health Care System.
But this book isn’t only about my twin sister Kelli’s demise…it’s also about telling the story of the greatest love I’ll ever know with the exception of the love that I share with my little boy.
If you suffer from depression or love someone who does, you should read this book. If you’re grieving the loss of a loved-one, you should read this book. If you or someone you know suffers from addiction or PTSD, you should read this book. If you’re a veteran, you should read this book. If you struggle with finding comfort in your “own skin”, you should read this book.
I wrote this book intentionally as an easy read. I included only enough information that tells the story in an honest way. There’s enough lightheartedness to evoke laughter, enough struggles to elicit empathy and enough truth that will hopefully result in change.
Darla M. Grese is a twin sister who lost her better half to side effects from prescribed medication. As a U.S. Navy Veteran, she is an advocate of Veteran X and Veteran Hope programs that address mental illness, PTSD, and unintentional addiction issues.
Both programs are sponsored by the Veteran Affairs Medical Center and focus on Veteran recovery and independence. She raises money for “Team Kelli” and annually participates in the Out of the Darkness Walk at Mt. Trashmore in Virginia Beach. While continuing to bring awareness to this cause, being a loving parent is her favorite passion and the main focus of her life.
Darla’s love for the arts has been expressed as a talented actress with appearances in The F.B.I. files, The New Detectives, Diagnosis Unknown, Wicked Attraction, Discovery Channel’s The Haunting, and the movie Atlantis Down. She currently works full time as a respiratory therapist at a trauma center in Norfolk, Virginia.
Her memoir, Sister Surrendered, is her latest release.