November is Worldwide Bereaved Siblings Month
Please take some time to reach out to someone you know who has lost a sibling(s), acknowledge the loss
and show them that you care. The loss of a sibling often causes deep pain and heartache that nobody
can imagine who has not gone through it themselves. Sibling grief is often misunderstood and
marginalized and siblings are sometimes called 'the forgotten mourners."
The focus of the loss is usually on the parents, child, or spouse of the deceased, and rightly so, but the
siblings may feel like their grief is overshadowed by the grief of other family members. Siblings suffer tremendously when they lose one another, especially so if the death is sudden or out of order. Often times
surviving siblings feel survivor's guilt, abandonment, loss of innocence, family dysfunction, somatic
symptoms, fear and anxiety when their brother or sister dies. Sibling relationships often hold deeply
complex, rich attachments, so when one dies the other is often left feeling untethered and like they have
had a limb amputated. Their memory keeper and life witness has suddenly disappeared forever.
Often our siblings hold truer knowledge of us than anyone else, perhaps even ourselves. With the
death of a sibling the shared history they had, and hoped for future they wanted to have with them is
lost and that creates a great deal of uncertainty, insecurity and anxiety, and that usually goes
unacknowledged and misunderstood by others.
There is a saying that rings true that, "When a parent dies, you lose the past.
When a child dies, you lose the future. When a sibling dies, you lose the past and the future."
This November make an effort to connect with someone you know who has lost a sibling…even if it was years ago. Let them know you’re thinking about them and how sorry you are for the pain of their loss.
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Sara J. Cobb
Founder, My Grief Connection
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Updated 21 March 2023
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