COPING WITH THE LOSS OF A SIBLING
Are you suffering and not coping well after losing a sibling? If you are, I know what you are going through. In 1981, my brother was killed in a car accident. It was the first week of college and I came home for Labor Day Weekend. My parents were going out to dinner with my sister and brother-in-law and his parents. They were telling the parents that they were going to have a baby; the first grandchild on each side of the family. My brother was going out to listen to a band that evening and my boyfriend was going to come over to visit. The evening went on; my boyfriend went home, my parents told us my sister was going to have a baby, and we anxiously waited for my brother, Gary to come home; but, he never did.
My parents received a phone call in the early hours of morning to come to the hospital. Gary was killed instantly in a car accident. It was the most horrible experience of my life. However, it was definitely a learning experience. My brother and I were very close. I missed him dearly and it was very difficult to deal with; however, I did accept his death and I grieved and coped with it. I eventually learned how to really deal with it and to move on with my life, in a bigger and better way.
I finally realized that my brother would not want me to die along with him. He always told me I would be okay no matter what. I had to live up to that. I realized all the wonderful things I had learned from this amazing man. He had taught me to be the person I am today; both in life and in death. I learned so many things from him and I had to continue becoming the person I was meant to be by what I had learned from him. They say that if you can learn something every time you have a loss in your life, you will become more of the person you are meant to be. This is so true. I have done this in my life. You need to ask yourself, “What can I learn from this person or this situation?” Then, you need to grow from it. This isn’t something you can do immediately after your loss. This is something that takes time. Allow yourself time to grieve and to cry. You are allowed to do this. Crying is very healing. However, if your loss has been a long time, such as years, and you still are not moving on with your life, you need to accept it and move on with your life. If you are unable to, go seek out professional help. There comes a time where you do need to cope and move on with your life.
If you have had a loss of a sibling, I encourage you to do 3 things:
- Accept the loss. Find some positive in the situation. For me, it was my brother was where he wanted to be…with his girlfriend who had died of cystic fibrosis. That allowed me to know he really was where he wanted to be, making it easier for me.
- Allow yourself to grieve. This is so important to your healing process. Crying is very healing. Talking about your feelings and loss is very important to your healing.
- Ask yourself, “What have I learned from my sibling (or any loss) and how can I grow from this?”
If you start by following these three steps, it will help you move forward after your loss. If you absolutely cannot move on and talking with family members, friends, or a religious leader is not of help, please seek out professional help. You can live the life you deserve; the life of your dreams. You need to allow yourself this gift.