Adult Loss of a Sibling

By Therese Rando, Ph.D.

There is no other loss in adult life that appears to be so neglected as the death of a brother or sister. Rarely has it been the subject of investigation or discussion. Nevertheless, this is a loss to which most of us are repeatedly exposed. While we have only one mother, one father, and one spouse (at least at any given point in time), it is not uncommon to have several siblings. Therefore we are more exposed to sibling deaths than to other losses.

Social Expectations

There is a general social expectation that the death of a brother or sister in adulthood will have little or no disruptive effect on us. Yet few adults have no contact with their siblings. This expectation seems to be based on the presumption that child and spouse loss are the most distressing. Usually, if given the opportunity to think about it, people also can understand an adult’s bereavement after a parent’s death. In contrast to this, however, there is a failure to appreciate the significance of brothers and sisters in adult life. While the effects of childhood sibling bereavement have been investigated, there has not been the same degree of interest in adult sibling bereavement.

The Sibling Relationship

There are special characteristics unique to the sibling bond. It is a relationship that can be quite profound, either positively or negatively.

Brothers and sisters influence each other’s identity in fundamental ways. Just the existence of an older sibling, regardless of the relationship that exists, has a number of implications for the younger siblings in terms of (1) birth order; (2) parental attention, affection, and expectations; and (3) the world the younger siblings are born into. The research on birth order and its influence on self-concept, personality, and all subsequent life experiences is quite striking. It demonstrates clearly the impact of brothers and sisters on our lives, and this is without taking into consideration the precise relationship that exists among them.

When these relationships are taken into account, even more dramatic influences are apparent. As we naturally seek security, attention, and love from our parents, it is only normal that we perceive our brothers and sisters as competitors for these precious parental commodities. Sibling rivalry is not something that requires much explanation, at least not to those of us who have siblings! Along with this, just living together in the intimacy of family life will put us in positions with our siblings where normal feelings of tension and aggression are bound to erupt. Yet siblings are also often sources of affection and security as well as of conflict. For this reason, ambivalence about siblings is not uncommon.

Sibling relationships may be close and intimate, distant and formal, or anything in between. By its very nature, the sibling relationship is ripe for ambivalence. How much will depend on a whole set of variables outside the scope of this book. What is important to remember is that sibling relationships are often marked by attachment as well as antagonism, caring as well as competition, and loyalty as well as lingering resentment. Certainly one of the primary factors influencing your grief response over the death of your brother or sister is the type of relationship you had with him or her.

Meaning of the Loss

Let’s assume that your brother or sister was raised with you, that you had the same parents, and that you were close enough in age that you had normal sibling contact. If your circumstances were different, the following comments will be less applicable to you.

When you lose a brother or sister in adult life, you experience many of the same losses as you would if you had lost that sibling in childhood. However, despite the fact that you are more mature and have access to the resources you require, you have the disadvantage that there is less social recognition of the loss as an important one. Like those who lose parents in adulthood, unless your sibling was very much a part of your family’s life, this death may not have the same impact on other members of your immediate family as it does on you. While your sibling may have been a pivotal person in your life, he or she may have been insignificant to others who now are quite important parts of your life. For this reason, your family may not understand your grief or help you with it in the way they could if someone they knew well had died. They may not understand what the loss means to you or why it affects you like it does, since they did not know you when your sibling was more a part of your life.

The death of a brother or sister means that you have lost someone who was a part of your formative past. This person shared common memories with you, along with critical childhood experiences and family history. This person has known you as a child and is a part of the roots to your past. Chances are that he or she experienced you in unique and intimate ways. Some of these might have been quite pleasant, such as sharing family traditions and holidays. Some might have been unpleasant or situations in which you had little control: seeing you in embarrassing situations, participating in family jokes against you, being hurt by your childhood insensitivity, and so forth. This person knows the family scripts for you and the family myths about you.

You may not agree with your sibling’s perceptions of all you have been through together. In fact, it is not uncommon if you don’t. Most of us remember our childhood in ways that differ somewhat from our siblings. Also, our perceptions may be quite different now because of the people we have become. At times, those who have known us longest are the ones who least recognize our changes since then, precisely because they are operating with old information that is hard to alter. Nevertheless your sibling was there, and the unique co-history you two share can be an important bond between you. When death takes your brother or sister, it also takes away one of your connections to the past, someone who knew you in a very special way, totally unlike those who know you now as an adult.

When your brother or sister dies, you lose someone who has been in your life for a very long time. A constant in your life is gone. This itself may make you feel a little insecure, a little anxious. Although you may not have had frequent contact with your sibling, at least you knew that another member of the family was there. While your sibling may not have been a current real force in your life, he or she probably was a symbolic one, and certainly was one in reality in the past. This person’s death can make you feel older. It points out to you that your family is dwindling. If this person was your final connection to your family of origin, you are now the last one left out of those you started out with.

Because your brothers and sisters share your same genetic background, the death of one of them may increase your concerns about your own death. You may see implications about your own death, such as how you will die and at what age. This identification can cause you some stress later on when you reach the age at which an older sibling died.

Your Grief

Depending upon your relationship with your sibling and the manner of death, your grief probably will follow the typical responses to loss. You may also, however, experience additional feelings of guilt. This often stems from the ambivalence of the sibling relationship and from any relief that you feel, understandably, that you are not the one who has died. If there had been increased stress in recent years, this too could cause guilt and regret after the death. Any type of stress may have affected your adult relationship with your brother or sister, either bringing you closer together or driving you farther apart. For example:

Developmental stress, as when one of you becomes widowed and temporarily becomes a little more dependent

Psychosocial stress, as when one of you receives a promotion and moves away

Emotional stress, as when one of you cannot have children and is jealous of the other who can

Physical stress, as when one of you develops a serious illness bringing pain and debilitation

Economic stress, such as when one of you loses your job and is in financial jeopardy

Guilt, as well as sadness, also can develop when you recall that in younger days you had been closer, but that as adults this had changed. This is normal; as adults you had fewer common experiences than when you were younger and shared more of your lives. But the recognition of this difference still can be uncomfortable.

Conversely, you can experience guilt, sadness, and regret because the relationship never was what you ideally would have wanted it to be. Perhaps you never had the closeness that you would have liked. If you feel this type of regret, you will grieve not only for what you had and lost but also for what you never had at all.

This grieving for what you never had can be intensified if you have been raised with unrealistic expectations about family relationships. Television sitcoms from the 1950s to the early 1970s wanted us to believe that siblings and their parents related to each other with uninterrupted warmth and concern that permitted little resentment or frustration. The sitcoms of the later 1970s and 1980s are much more real, some of them irritatingly so. However, they do us less of a disservice. Those of us who grew up with the earlier ones lack what the youth of today see portrayed on their television sets – the information that there always will be ambivalence in our closest relationships. Far too many of us suffer from the guilt and resentment that can develop in grief from unrealistic expectations. In few situations is this more apparent than following the death of a brother or sister.

Your survival itself can be another source of guilt. There were probably times when you wished that your sibling were not around, would disappear, or would drop dead. These feelings usually come back to haunt us. Also, since we do share the same biological backgrounds, we may wonder why death took our sibling first. Unanswered questions about this can also fuel survival guilt.

The adult who loses a sibling shares many similar issues with parents who lose adult children. While certainly the relationship is different, the concerns of the person left behind and the responses they receive may be very similar. For example, you may find that you do not have much part in decisions pertaining to your sibling’s death and the funeral or other rituals. These decisions are usually made by your sibling’s spouse and children. When this lack of control is combined with the failure of others to recognize that you are profoundly bereaved, it can be most difficult for you. For example, you may not be included in ceremonies honoring your deceased sibling with whom you have shared your last fifty years, while others in his life, who had known him for far less time, are recognized as legitimate mourners.

Also like bereaved parents of adult children, you may find it hard to accept that your brother or sister has really died if you have become accustomed to his or her living elsewhere. There is no acute absence to signal to you that he or she is permanently gone. Seeing the responsibilities left unfulfilled (especially regarding the children left behind), struggling with discomfort when your former in-law starts dating again, worrying about losing contact with your nieces and nephews, or fearing that your deceased sibling’s children will not be brought up in the way he or she would have wanted – these are all issues that you can share with parents whose adult children die.

If your sibling died from a long-term illness, the experience may have brought up old rivalries as attention, time, or financial resources of parents and other family members were directed toward your dying sibling. This and other experiences inherent in the terminal illness may have increased resentment on your part. After the death of your sibling, this resentment can come back to haunt you. You will need to put the normal issues of sibling ambivalence in perspective with the normal issues of losing a loved one after a long-term terminal illness in order to cope most effectively with this aspect of your grief.

Like any other death in the family, the death of your brother or sister will force you and the other surviving family members to reorganize your roles and relationships with one another. You may experience additional loss or stress as a consequence. The death may change your position in the family – you may now be the eldest child and be expected to care for an invalid parent, or you may have become an only child. The death may also give you new status in the family. For example, you now may get some recognition for your achievements, since you are no longer being compared with your older sibling. As with younger children, your parents’ responses to the death of your sibling will have a profound impact on you, your grief, and many aspects of your subsequent life. Subtly conveyed messages that the “wrong” child has died, impaired parent-child relationships stemming from parental grief, increased or inappropriate roles assigned to you, and abnormal parental grief responses such as expecting you to become like your deceased sibling – all are unhealthy for them and for you as well.

Time changes sibling relationships, as it does all others. As with your parents, you may find that you can sustain a much better relationship with your sibling when you are both independent adults and involved in your own families and lives. Sometimes this happens after your parents die and you are no longer embroiled in the same old sibling conflicts. When death robs you of a sibling to whom you only recently grew closer, it may seem particularly unfair, untimely, and cruel.

As society fails to validate this as an important loss for you, and many of the people who are close to you did not know your sibling or recognize his or her importance to you, you may very well fail to get the social support you need in order to grieve successfully. You may have to demand this support and assert your right to grieve for this loss.

The death of your sibling may receive little social acknowledgement, but the loss can affect you in many ways. This stems from the special roles siblings play in our development and the need to contend with the ambivalence that marks most sibling relationships at some point in their history.

Taken from Therese A. Rando, How To Go on Living When Someone You Love Dies. New York: Bantam Books, 1991, pp 153-9.

Related articles:
The Grief of Sibling Survivors
Running Through the Pain
Rocky Relationships

Also by Therese Rando:
Family Reorganization After a Loss
The Work of Grief
What 'Recovery' Will and Will Not Mean

Dr. Therese Rando, author of How To Go On Living When Someone You Love Dies, is a psychologist in Warwick, Rhode Island, where she is the Clinical Director of The Institute for the Study and Treatment of Loss. Having published 70 works pertaining to the clinical aspects of dying, death, loss, and trauma, Dr. Rando is a recognized expert in the field and has appeared on numerous television programs, including “Dateline,” CBS “This Morning,” “Today Show,” “Good Morning, America,” and “The Oprah Winfrey Show.”

Image credit: exfordy/Flickr Creative Commons


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Comment by William J Williams on January 10, 2013 at 5:49pm

My older brother died  suddenly the day after Christmas. I am so sore in my stomach

Comment by Mary Steel Chewning on December 30, 2012 at 2:26pm
My sister died on Friday, two days ago. December 28th 2012. She had warred with cancer for nine years. I took this photo Friday morning just after reading her email sent the day before. I did not know her time had come to die. I wouldn't have made it to her. I live in a distant country, not easily accessible. It doesn't matter to her - Oh God, i must learn to write about her in the past. It did not matter, we had been saying, obliquely, our goodbyes for months now. Expressing our love, appreciation and gratitude over and over again. We never alluded to her dying or what my future, her only sibling, would be like for me when she died soon. She had a lovely husband, now a widower. He becomes something else, I cease to be a sister. He was with her as were her two beloved daughters. I've not seen them in more than a decade. They managed college and young womanhood without me. My parents have lost one of their two daughters. They knew they would but how wrong. They are in their eighties; it should have been the other way. I just needed to find a place to write something while I am not weeping. I have just met grief and I gather we are going to be together until I am no more. Sarah was 57 this year. I hurt so bad.
Comment by Pamela Kennedy on September 11, 2012 at 2:00am

I lost my brother to suicide on 11/11/11.  It was a cold night when I found him and the slightest change in weather sends me into strong feelings that are hard to deal with.  My dad died of lung cancer on 11/08/11 and was buried on 11/11/11. I kept texting my brother to see if he was coming to dad's funeral but he said he would be behind me and to look in my mirror.  On the day before my dad's funeral, he sent me a text that said "please turn off the car".  I did not know what he meant by that.  I was puzzled but still in deep grief over losing my dad a day before.  I was very close to my brother.  We spoke every day for the last 6 months of his life.  He lost his job and family and got addicted to pain pills from a work injury.  I took him groceries and was willing to pay for rehab or medically supervised detox at a hospital but he refused to go.  I looked for places of shelter for him and halfway houses, etc., that would provide him mental and emotional support, as well as, a job and a place to live.  He was so distraught over losing his family and job.  We had each other and was planning on sticking together at my dad's funeral.  I feel so much guilt that I did not go check on him that day when he texted me.  When we found him, he had parked the car outside his bedroom window and taped everything up and ran a pipe to his bedroom.  He sent his last text ever to me.  I believe if I had checked on him and turned off the car, he would still be alive.  Why didn't I?  Did he change his mind?  Was he asking for my help?  Did he want me to find him?  I will never know because his "so-called wife" that left him for another man took everything of his and the suicide note and will not let me see it.  She also brought her boyfriend to the funeral.  My family has made fun of me because I fell apart at my dad's funeral and my brother's funeral.  I am still grieving so terribly and cannot get them out of my mind.  I have had a harder time about my brother than I did my dad and that was pretty bad at the funeral.  My mom said I was just acting and putting on a show, which hurt me terribly.  I haven't spoke to her in six months.  I just can't bring myself to do that since she hurt my dad and brother so much and things she said to me during that horrible time.  I made a memorial garden for my brother and dad on the mountain so I can visit them anytime I want.  I take them flowers and decorate and made a trail from my house to the garden through the woods.  It is so peaceful there.  My brother was cremated and so there is nowhere to go visit him.  So I made a place of my own.  I don't understand why.  Suicide is so permanent and I don't know how to deal with it.  I tried everything to help him and even wrestled guns away from him and cried and begged and prayed for him not to threaten suicide.  It hurts so much and I am still grieving and no one else in my family understands why.  I feel like they have just written him off and don't care.  He was the black sheep and no one else loved him like I did.  I am afraid I will forget him.  I am afraid I will not remember his face or the good times we shared.  He lived below me on the mountain and the garden I made for him is facing his old property and I can picture him walking around and waving at me from top of the hill.  I was admitted to the hospital for six weeks because I went off the deep end wanting to spend all my time in the garden crying.  This article has helped me understand the bonds of siblings.  Well, at least my baby brother sibling.  The other two siblings are mom's favorite and I was just like my dad and favored my baby brother. It was like two separate groups of family "us vs them". Now I have lost my two favorite men in my life and the two men that loved me the most. I have been severely depressed and don't want to have anything to do with the remaining family members. 

Comment by Albert estrada on February 16, 2012 at 11:58pm
On April 2004 me and sister Jeannette were in the house when a defected gas tank like the ones people use for the grill , explode the explotion send me to the other side of the room adn hot the wall when I gain conscious I heard my sister screaming rolling around I'm the floor I ran to help her and that's when I realized she was badly burned she spend 16 days in the hospital in a induce coma and died on mothers day this complete destroy my family I didn't cry on the funeral at all was trying to be strong for my family they completly broke down me being The youngest 18 at the time I had to make the arrangements for the funeral and everything after that I was in so much pain not only dealing with the pain of losing her but also with the horrible images that still don't go away when I finally reach my parents for help they told me I was being selfish and that I was looking for attention my mom say that she was the one suffering the most and in sure she was but she wasn't there when the accident happened I was the only one there and still hurts like that horrible day but somehow I believe in what my mom told me and I believe that I was over reacting and I burried those memories deep in my mind and heart it was a daily battle to not think about it later on I master the art of being completly emotionless but now after 7 years it's coming back and hard I can't stop crying and being sad it hurts like the pain magnified for all the years I hold it in this is affecting me in so many levels I lose confidence of my self I feel worthless and hopeless I don't want to go out I don't talk to friends or family anymore I don't know why this is happening now after so many years that's how I found this page I was looking for answers about this about how to deal with is but I don't think there's a solution to be honest just than deal with it
Comment by Crystal on February 11, 2012 at 3:45am
I lost my brother on January 27, 2012. I am 38 he was 31. I was very close to him, I loved him like he wS my own son. I hurt each day that goes by I think the reality of him being gone hasn't yet settled in my mind. I'm still in shock. I feel selfish for thinking I'm the only one who loved him, but he was loved by many people. I don't think he realized how much.
Comment by Maria Avilez Wright on February 2, 2012 at 8:59am
Maria Avilez Wright                Comment by Maria Avilez Wright 9 hours ago           
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In 2006 we lost my sister Imelda, she just turned 50. She had a drinking problem and we all knew she was in poor health. Imelda and her husband were sleeping in separate bedrooms and the time of death could not be determand. She was the first of 10 sibling to die in our family. One year later we lost our dad, but he was sick and we were prepared and knew he had a long life. This December 30 2011 we lost our baby sister Patti. This was the second sister we lost and we were all with her until her last breath in the ICU. Patti had a fatty liver and never took it serious and had so many problem in her life that she started drinking and it eventually took her life. After one failed marriage due to her husband cheating she went into a high risk marriage to get over a broken heart. Her second husband was a rock n roll has been that never grew up. Patti was a sucker for a lost cause and wanted to change a heavy metal tattoed skull loving boy into a family man. Patti had two children, Lee had two children and than they had two together. At first everything went great until their own children came and all hell broke loose. After the divorce Lee had so much anger towards Patti than turned the son against her and kept the children away from her this past Christmas. She tried to see them on Monday and Lee said no, than on Tuesday morning and Lee said come back later and Patti went to get them Tuesday night and spent little time with them. Wednesday morning she got sick and went into the hospital and never recovered and past away on Friday morning at 12:43 AM while we were all with her. We all stayed at the hospital for the next two days until her final moment. I am working through my grief and also anger towards Lee. Not only did he not help out with the funeral cost but had the nerve to ask her 18 year old son if she left any assets the could split at the burial. He waited no time to file SSI and couldn't under stand why we didn't want his 17 year old daughter to see Patti on life support. Lee lost his mother when he was young and that only made him bitter and now he continues to lash out at my little sister. Patti was so full of life and when I see her belonging I still think she is still with us. She left her storage under my name and I had to separate the children's things from hers and repack the rest. I prayed to God for wisdom and help me get through heart breaking task. When I opened the first box I found a children's book that read "Peace at Last" with Winnie the Pooh sitting on a couch. I know she is in God arms resting and she is part of God's plan but my heart is breaking and I can't stop crying . Most of the people around me are tired of seeing me cry all the time. I have to cry at night when my husband is sleeping so I don't stess him out. My grief counsler is so helpful, I have so much memory loss and I think I am loosing my mind. Patti had so many problems and always called me sometimes 2 or 3 times a day. I now realize it

Comment by robin gamroth on October 24, 2011 at 9:01pm
I just lost my oldest sister on the 16 th I live in oregon she lived in ri my home town. I don't know how to deal with the loss I feel alone and feel like I am next. She was 49 I am going to be 46 next month and I am scared. She had ms and was dealing with a lot I was not there to help her so I feel guilty about that but we talked and I told her I loved her very much. Seeing her like that was not my sister she looked so different so I have to keep looking at her pictures to keep her face alive. I wish I could talk to her again and tell her I love her just to hear her voice.
Comment by Debbie Kratzer on September 11, 2011 at 6:12pm

My only sibling, my brother, died a month ag. he was 55, i am 54. we were very close, although in different states the past 6 yrs. we kept in touch every single night for sometimes hrs here on the computer. i am still overcome with emotuions are off the wall. i was prescribed Zanex to help me get through this...i don't take them anymore cause it seems i am more "weepy" taking them. i suppose this is all normal & i am being helped by this group. thank you..i just joined & have been reading the many letters of sorrow in losing a sibling. i am being told by everyone "at least he isn't suffering anymore"..well..of course i know that! but i still feel a profound lose..selfish of me maybe..but i just lost my only brother..dammit. i just want to shout it!! my dr said it takes sometime 2 yrs to get over loss of a sibling...oh boy......


Comment by Nathan King on August 29, 2011 at 7:58am
My oldest sister and I lost our middle sister Courtney on February 3rd, 2011.  She was the light of our family and I always wanted to be more like she was when we were kids.  Tables turned and she suffered from a severe case of "middle child syndrome" but it wasn't her fault of her birth order.  I suppose its common to feel not as respected and revered as the oldest child or as favored and spoiled as the baby...whatever it is she went through she was the bridge of our sibling relationship.  Depression came and a lifestyle of alcoholism and addictions followed which i believe contributed to the seizure disorder which ultimately took her life.  In 2007 we attempted to do a family intervention in which we all sat down to confront my sister to insist she get help for herself unknowingly that by that time the damage had likely been done.  We didn't speak for the year and a half after this intervention and then gradually we began hearing from her and she was sounding like herself again, a fun comedic lively person with witty comments that we still use within our family.  She coined the phrase "They've got people for that" which is what we say when we don't feel like doing a chore, LOL.  Anyway, as of last year in 2010 I felt like I got my sister back and our relationship was budding once again and her role within the family was restored but again the damage was likely already done.  Two weeks before her death she had sat down with my Mom and Grandmother and stated she wasn't feeling quite right since her seizure medications were changed (not sure what changes were made).  I got the call from my mom the morning of February 3rd that Courtney was found dead on her front porch in the early morning hours of the day during the coldest temperature of the year.  She had a seizure on her front porch likely late at night and did not arouse due to complications of hypothermia.  I like to think she had no pain as she passed into heaven but that didn't matter since pain still exists today in myself and every time I see my Mom having lost her child.  Courtney died just two weeks shy of her 37th birthday, her daughter my niece lost her mother and my oldest sister and I lost the one person we were children with, adults with, best friends with.  I have pain when I see my Dad cry for his little girl and knowing that there is no bond that I ever had that he had with her and that I cannot give it back to him.  I have met only a handful of people who understand the type of loss I'm feeling over the death of my sister and each time I think I feel better, childhood memories of us playing, getting into trouble, laughing, fighting all make me miss her all over again.  I miss you Courtney, I do hope you have found peace and know that you always had love.
Comment by River of Tears on January 21, 2011 at 5:25am

 I so often have come to leave message of my dear Sister who recently passed away yet I find myself erasing and wondering what I should share .  I know deep within my shattered heart that I was blessed in life with not only a wonderful loving sister but also someone who was also someone I called my best friend .    The days are dark and gray now , I do not see any joy or thoughts of what will be for many of life was of the dreams we both had together in life that now will never be.  We will not be two old ladies rocking on a porch someday chatting about yesterdays , or sharing a hug as we did everyday , a call just to say hello .  I miss her more then my soul thought it could know .  Silence and pain is what has become the friend I never wanted yet it seems to have made it home with me .  Dreams of the future are gone , and wonderment of words not said or wanting to say it yet once again to hug her close to so to never let her go .    I will love her forever, yet empty words now they feel for I had hoped for her to be beside me, so to hug and to hold and to be able to tell he rvery how special she was to me .  There not greater gift in life then a Sister or a Brother may blessings come to all of you.   As I see and read all of you too were blessed as I.   Take care  and Comfort to all of you .

Comment by Miguel J. Felipe on May 23, 2010 at 5:46pm
I lost my little brother in a car accident on April, 3 2010 around 10:00pm . we where at a hockey game together at Sunrise ,Fl. He was real happy the Rangers won and I told him I'd see at home . He went to work earliear that day and I met him there ! He never made it home and my life is destroyed ! we have been roomates for a long time and we always counted on each other ! I listen to friends ,but I just can't move onn !
Comment by Jeanmarie Schickling on February 17, 2010 at 12:52am
I lost my "little" brother on Feb. 4th. 2010. We still don't know what exactly happened but it started with pancreatitis. In the ER on Tueday, life support by Wednesday and on Thursday the doctor's gave him a 1% chance of recovery. He was in a chemical coma and paralyzed. His wife had him removed from life support, and Davey just slipped away. 2 days...2 days from being a living, breathing, funny, gentle, kind man and beloved part of our family, to an emptiness that is so raw it burns. I feel so lost and vacant.
Comment by Hopeful on February 15, 2010 at 11:03am
My sister was found Oct. 14th, 2009 submerged in her car in the Red Lake River in Thief River Falls, MN. We now know that both of my sisters were killed within a month of each other. I have lost the two connections that were supposed to be there for me forever. The feeling of emptyness and lonelyness will be there forever. I miss them so much. How could this be my life.
Comment by Debra on February 6, 2010 at 6:37pm
I lost my older brother Nov. 27th, 2009. Unlike the article, my sister in law and nephew looked to me for advice on what to do as far as keeping my brother on life support. I am a nurse. They wanted me to step out of my role as a sister and an aunt and be the nurse to give my professional opinion of how severe the situation was. After all the physician's had stated that there was nothing else that could be done, I did recommend to them to remove him from life support, which they listened and did. My brother died within 5mins of removal. There isn't one day that goes by, that I don't feel the guilt from that. I know professionally speaking it was the right choice, but I wasn't his nurse, I was his sister! Just as the article above states, people do not realize the importance of the loss of a sibling. Everyone expects me to be over it. Move on, live my life. How is that possible, especially with this guilt that I carry?
Comment by ann estrada on August 15, 2009 at 9:03pm
i lost my big brother on march 5th 2009.i just found him again after 10 years.and then i lost him again to a brain steam bleed.want hurts the must is that i was,t ready to let go.i got a call from my sister on feb.27th to tell me that are brother was in the hosiptil.and to go see him as soon as possibly.that he was brother had nothing no job ,no money,nothing. when it came time to say good byb.i was not ready for this day i feel really bad.can someone help me.when doze the pain go away?please help me in anyway .
Comment by Hopeful on July 7, 2009 at 4:55pm
I lost both of my sisters in a matter of two months, one has went missing and is still missing and the other died in a fatal car accident a month and a half later. My life has been turned upside down, the hurt is nothing like I have ever felt.
Comment by Cindy Eddings on June 12, 2009 at 9:22pm
Losing my sister was like no other pain i've ever felt. She was was everything to me. Mother, sister,best friend. But i did learn something from her death. That we should cherish everyday that we have with our family. Love you sis

Love Cindy

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