Sibling Loss

Two boys were buddies for a long time. In eighth grade another guy fit in and they are three musketeers navigating life in middle school. It is uncanny how easily they relate and completely understand and enjoy each other. Something that none of them had spoken of or known is that they have a unique bond. They share the experience of loss of a young sibling.

Calvin is Hudson’s big brother. As the Buzzy’s Bees golf event to honor his memory approached, mom Amanda wondered if Calvin would like to invite his two friends. In communicating schedules and making arrangements Nico’s and Collin’s mothers both shared that each of them had also lost a young sibling. How could anyone guess that these young men, who so comfortably relate to each other, have this shared experience and trauma?

As we navigate the realm of grief and loss of young children, we are aware that siblings are dealing with a life-altering event for which they likely have not developed a set of navigational tools. In our programs, communication is directed toward parents. When an application is submitted for a financial gift to offset some of the expenses that come with the loss of a young child, siblings may not even be aware. Yet they could be the beneficiary of the support that the family receives, such as providing an opportunity for counseling that might not otherwise be affordable.

Parents are the family members interviewed for the stories for Give Grief a Voice. On occasion a sibling will be nearby. Though little ones can be disruptive, there have been a time or two when an older sibling is on the sidelines and even asks to participate in sharing about their lost brother or sister. While the story remains focused on the voice of the parents we acknowledge there is a profound loss for siblings, too. A child loses a sibling and the family unit as they’ve known it. They must absorb the changes that are happening with their parents. It is a heavy load. 

When our sibling dies, parts of us die with them. We are then grieving not just them but parts of ourselves that will never be the same again or feel complete. We are different now. 
from Jacinta’s Smile (a sibling bereavement organization based in Ireland) 

If you know a child or young person who is grieving the loss of a sibling, the following resources are a good place to begin the search for help for them: