The death of a sibling can change a family. Parents may
struggle as parents or be nurturing to other children. Siblings can feel
survivor’s guilt, regret, and a loss of shared history among many other complex
feelings. The age of the sibling as well as how they died, may add layers
of complexity to both processing and expressing your grief. It can be both
hard and comforting to find support within your family.
Here are some things to consider:
inventory - if your parent(s) are still alive, what needs do you have that
they can meet and which needs can they not meet at this time? Being able to
differentiate what is possible and not possible right now will help you
identify what needs have to be met elsewhere.
open communication – every family dynamic is different so this may not be
easily done in your family, but consider initiating open and honest
conversations about feelings, memories, and day-to-day struggles. Sometimes,
the pain is so hard to navigate that we aren’t sure what to say or how to say
it so we remain silent. If you can, push through and try to find the words. It
may help your family come together and talk openly. Be compassionate and
- Give and
take –death is a disruption to our lives and has a way of forcing us to
compromise. Create boundaries and know what you can and cannot give. But also
be willing to receive. Vulnerability is brave not weak.
a good friend – family dynamics, complex emotions, and all that comes with
grief can make you feel like you’re going crazy. A supportive friend can help
you get out of an echo chamber by listening and giving you a different
– grief is not just an emotion. It comes with fatigue and other ailments.
Exercise is a healthy coping strategy if you’re able to do so.
For young children: When Someone Dies: A Child-Caregiver Activity Book (National Alliance for Grieving Children)