Help for Siblings
Losing a brother or sister can be a sad, confusing and upsetting experience but with the proper help and support you can start to understand and manage these emotions. Often parents can be focused on their own grief at these times so it's really important that over the coming months you are open and honest about the ways you are feeling.
What feelings might I experience after the death of a brother or sister?
Over the coming days, weeks and months you will experience a mix of emotions. It's important to know that however confusing or frightening these feelings, thoughts and emotions may be that they are all part of the grieving process and they are perfectly natural. There is no set formula for how you are going to feel. You may have experienced some of the emotions before at times when you have been worried or nervous about certain situations, but there may also be many that you have not felt before.
Another common reaction is that you may feel that no one understands or that you can't talk to anyone about those feelings. You may feel that you do not want to talk about how you feel for fear of upsetting your parents even more - but Parents and Siblings often feel the same way so it's vital to remember that people do understand and that talking or even writing down your feelings is important and can really help you.
Are these feelings normal?
All the feelings you are experiencing are perfectly normal. In these circumstances, some people having trouble sleeping, making you tired and restless, having trouble concentrating or remembering things, or you could become moody and have feelings of anger, either towards yourself or maybe your parents. All of these feelings are normal and will ease in time.
What should I do about it?
The first thing is to find someone you trust who you can talk to; either a teacher, counsellor or other family member and explain your feelings. It will be surprising how much it can help to talk about your new emotions. It can also really help to sit down as a family looking through photographs, sharing memories. When you do this it's ok to laugh and cry together as you celebrate and remember your loved one. Making a memory box with your family or even with a counsellor can also be a great way of sharing your emotions.
How do I deal with these feelings?
The most important element of grieving is to allow yourself to express your emotions. It is important that these feelings are allowed to be expressed; so if you want to cry and feel sad, it is OK. Losing your brother or sister is a very sad time and overwhelming for an adult, and for you it is such a great thing to have to deal with, but remember how important it is to find someone to talk to about how you feel, it will help.
Even through all of the feelings of sadness or anger that you may experience, it is still OK to have fun, play with your friends, go out with your mates, laugh and enjoy yourself. Do not feel guilty for wanting to do so either, it is another important part of the healing process and it does not mean that you are not still hurting or do not care anymore. It means that you can recognise your feelings and have control over them.
There could be many factors to trigger your emotions. There is going to be so much attention around your parents and how they are dealing with it all, a siblings grief doesn't always get the same attention; and this is why it is so important to be able to communicate in some way as it will help you to adjust to the situation.
If you ever start to feel that you are not in control of your feelings, you must talk to someone. You must know that by doing things out of anger; by being reckless or missing school; or by using drugs or alcohol will not make the pain you are feeling or the hurt for your brother or sister go away.
By sharing how you feel with others will help you understand and deal with your emotions. You and your family have been through the most distressing time that many others could only begin to imagine and all of you will be experiencing so many different emotions, and are still hurting. But by facing these feelings openly and honestly will help to release that pain and in time it will become easier.