When you lose a parent, you lose your past. When you lose a spouse, you lose your present. When you lose a child you lose your future. But when you lose a sibling you lose your past, present and future
Sibling death is often the most overlooked loss. Those who’ve lost a brother or sister say that the question most often asked of them is: “How are your parents?”
We don’t expect our parents to be alive in our old age, but we do expect to grow old with our siblings. Siblings share secrets and common experiences as well as an understanding of what it’s like to grow up in a particular family. We anticipate experiencing milestones and momentous occasions with them – marriage, children, careers. We also expect to have our siblings to lean on when our parents grow ill and die and whenever we face a difficult time in our adult lives.
At Salt Water, you can connect with and learn from other bereaved siblings of all ages – how their lives were forever changed by their loss, the damage their sibling’s death did to their family, what they did to survive and how they keep their siblings’ memory alive.
Some resources for those who have lost a sibling:
- The Empty Room – Elizabeth DeVita-Raeburn’s haunting memoir of her life with her deceased brother, Ted and her exploration of the devastating impact a brother’s or sister’s death has on the remaining siblings
- “The Loss of a Lifetime: When an Adult Brother or Sister Dies” – “In the thickness of shock, I didn’t realize that the rest of my life would be measured in before and after. Before, when my family was intact. After, when I would somehow learn to live without the person I was supposed to get a lifetime with.”
- “The Specific Qualities of Sibling Grief : How It Morphs and Marks Us” — “The connection between them is intense and sacred. They drive each other batty, but the relationship they have with each other is theirs alone, and … their bond is something they won’t experience with anyone else, ever.”
- “Why The Death of a Sibling is Like Losing a Part of Yourself” — “There will come a day when the 19 years you were able to have with your sibling becomes enough for the 19 more you’ll never have.”
- “His Last Game” — Brian Doyle’s essay about an afternoon car ride with his brother who is dying that captures the magic and beauty of every day life
- “Life After Death” — Anna Quindlen’s essay on writing an obituary for her sister-in-law
- “Will I Ever Get Over This Grief?” — Dear Sugars column in the New York Times about grieving the death of a loved one while continuing to find the joy in life.
- I’ve Never Been the Same Since My Brother Died – Billy Bob Thornton video about the death of his brother
- The Moment My Sibling Passed Away – A short but powerful video about sibling loss
- Carry Him Shoulder High – “In English you say, I’m sorry for your trouble, but in Irish we say, I’m standing with you.” Mary Kate O’Flanagan shares how her father’s death gave her back the only thing she needed to walk through this world unafraid — her sisters. You can also listen to her talk here.
- A Family Disrupted: Dealing with the Death of a Sibling – a powerful video of three bereaved siblings sharing their stories – the devastating impact of the loss, what helped and how they stay connected to their deceased siblings
We invite you to become part of our community. Share your story, ask a question, make a comment. We’d love to hear from you.
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