September 08, 2020
When your parents die, it is said you lose your past;
when your spouse dies, you lose your present;
and when your child dies, you lose your future;
However, when your sibling dies, you lose a part of
your past, your present and your future;
As I put this week’s edition together I am trying to prepare for my sister’s death. She’s in hospice and failing fast. How does one prepare for this?
Losing my mom last year was hard, but to lose my sister so soon is almost unbearable. She’s always been a second mom to me.
I decided to read a few articles about the death of a sibling and I found some info through various articles that I have assembled below.
To my sister… Even in the end, you love to laugh and love with all your heart. I love you so much!
As always please reply with your thoughts and comments.
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The Loss of History…
Your family has its own special history and shared bonds. Now that your sibling has died, the bonds are changed, and the family history has a void that cannot be filled. As you grew up together, you and your siblings developed certain characteristics and talents.
Some sisters and brothers tend to complement each other by having a balance of interests and skills in different areas. Because you have lost your sibling, you may find your role in the family is changing, and miss the special contributions of your sister or brother in various ways.
The Loss of Future…
After the death of your sibling, special occasions will be different in the future. There will be no more shared birthday celebrations, anniversaries, or holidays with your sister or brother. There will be no telephone calls to announce good news or to seek support.
The sharing of life’s unique and special events will never again take place with this person, and you may feel the pain of loss deeply each time a holiday or anniversary comes around again.
You Feel Lonely Because…
Although you’re surrounded by people, you miss the one person who you could truly be yourself with.
Fear of Mortality…
When a sister or brother dies, it is natural for you to look at your own life. You may question how many years you have left, and how your death will impact the family.
Anger Towards Other Siblings…
Perhaps they don’t share the closeness you do with the sibling who passed away. This doesn’t mean they aren’t grieving but they may not have had the closest relationship so they are unable to know what to say or how to react.
Know that they ARE grieving in many of the ways listed above, it is just that they are not capable or will not allow themselves to grieve in the same way you are.
It is also best to remember your love for them and not let this create friction at a time you need one another most.
When We’re Older And Lose A Sibling…
When you are a senior and your sibling dies, your loss can deeply wound your heart. If your spouse and others important to you died before your sister or brother, the grief from the death of your sibling may be more intense.
You may be left without the feedback, support, comfort and remembrances you relied on, and feel very alone in your grief. Possibly you will sense from others the belief that there is no need for special acknowledgement or comfort for your loss since it is “normal” for aging people to die. In reality, whether the sibling who died is nine or ninety, the loss can be very painful, and you need compassionate understanding.
Getting Over The Loss, Or Allowing Yourself Not To…
Siblings are always connected in the shared memories, in family discussions, and in memorials. Journaling or sharing your thoughts with others you do not know can also help healing. Remembering your sibling does not have to be sorrowful. Laugh at the memory of the time your sister tried to pierce your ears, or when your brother tried to teach you how to ride a bike.
Society often encourages bereaved individuals to feel guilty for grieving too long. There is no magic technique that will make the grief go away. There is no defined right way to grieve length of time that one is expected to move on.
Moving on with your life does not have to mean forgetting your lost loved one. In fact, allowing yourself to hold your grief in a special place in your heart can help you to be okay to move on with your life.
Continue your connection with your sister or brother. Even though your sibling has died, a connection still remains in your heart. Surviving sisters or brothers think about, talk about, and remember their sibling at special times such as birthdays, holidays, and the anniversary of her or his death. You do not have to give up your connection to your sibling to move forward with your life.
Be open to your grief. It may be that you are putting your grief process on hold as you try to support others in the family such as parents, the spouse of your sibling, or your nieces and nephews. In order to heal, you need to accept your own feelings of sadness and pain. One motto that may be helpful to remember is: “What you can feel, you can heal.”