The Sibling Connection
Q: How long does the grief
A: The beginning part of grief
that is so much like an actual, physical illness usually lasts no more than
6-8 weeks. After that, the length of time depends on a number of factors,
such as the amount of life space shared with the deceased, the degree of
dependency on the deceased, and the number of secondary losses. Secondary
losses come about because of the death, which was the primary loss.
If, for example, your adult brother dies, and his wife has to move away to
get a job or to be closer to her parents, the secondary loss is your nieces
and nephews, and your sister-in-law.
Q: Isn't there some way to kill
the pain? I never thought anything could hurt this much.
A: Nature has created two ways of
relieving the pain of grief. The first is crying, especially if you are
trusting enough to cry with another person there who can be accepting of your
feelings. The second is talking about your loss and your feelings with a
trusted friend or family member, therapist, or minister. When you open your
heart to another, their feelings of caring can flow in to your hurt. This is
nature's medicine. However, if the pain of grief goes on for many months, so that you cannot
function, talk to your physician, because the loss may have
triggered a clinical depression. Clinical depression can be treated with
medication and therapy.
Q: I am having trouble
concentrating at work, even though it has been awhile since my sibling died.
What can I do?
A: Lack of concentration may be a
symptom of a clinical depression. Talk to your doctor about this. Also, if
you have never really had a chance to talk through your feelings with
someone, get a counselor or therapist.
Q: My sibling died when I was a
child, and now I'm in mid-life, and it seems to be bothering me more now than
it did back then. What should I do?
A: When you were a child, you were
not able to realize exactly what it was you lost. You may not have had the
support necessary to complete the grieving process, or aspects of the death
may have been traumatic. This is one of the most common patterns of grieving
following early sibling loss. It is crucial that you seek help to work
through your feelings.
Q: Why are siblings so often
left out of the grieving process, even when their parents and other relatives
get a lot of support?
A: This is something I hear all
the time. I can't explain it, although I know it happens. Perhaps there has
been so much talk about sibling rivalry, people forget about sibling
closeness. It might simply be too threatening for others to be supportive of
you, because it triggers that person's own vulnerability.
Q: Are there any support groups
for bereaved siblings?
A: Some of the Bereaved Parents
and Compassionate Friends organizations welcome siblings to their meetings. I
recommend calling them to find out. Also, most hospitals have a grief support
group, often run by the hospital chaplain. Call your local hospital for
information about this. If they don't know, ask to speak to the chaplain. For
online support, check out the SupportLinks page.
For further information, email
the Sibling Connection.
INTRODUCTION | Loss of Sibling As a Child | As
Adolescent | As an Adult |
Grief Stages | Movies |
Cultures | Psychology |
Healing | Effects |
Connections | Factors |
Anniversary | Creativity |
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