Brittany, Grieving Loved Ones

Grieving a Sibling

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My only sibling passed away 13 months ago today. Loosing Brittany has turned my life upside down & inside out. I have wanted to write a post to share my thoughts on “grieving a sibling” for several months now, but I purposely waited until after the 1 year mark to do so. The post that you are about to read has taken me well over a month to write and yet I still find that it only expresses some of my feelings and emotions. It is the tip of the iceberg so to speak.

Brittany

When a parent dies, you lose the past. When a child dies, you lose the future. When a sibling dies, you lose the past and the future.” UNKNOWN

When my Sister passed away I felt abandoned and alone. I would have liked to have someone contact me. I didn’t want to have to ask for it. I didn’t want to guilt someone into asking me how I was doing. I wanted someone (anyone) to care enough to ask on their own. I understood that people didn’t know what to say. Yet having someone ask “how are you” could have been the difference in between knowing whether or not someone cared or not.

In the 13 months since my Sister has passed I’ve had minimal contact with most of my family and all of my friends. My Paternal Grand Parents, my Step Grandmother, and obviously my parents have been the only people who’ve cared enough to call ask how I am doing. The rest I didn’t see until the next funeral about 12 1/2 months later, and my guess is that I won’t hear from them again until the next funeral.

Then there are those who chose to not even acknowledge my Sister’s death. Those who didn’t go to the funeral. Those who couldn’t even be bothered to send a card, text, or e-mail. Those people who I probably will never intentionally speak to again because they have disillusioned me in the true value of our friendships. I don’t have time for negative people… period….!

Anyways, to get to my point. In darkest days of my grief I only wanted someone to reach out to me. That person didn’t need the right words. They didn’t have to say anything at all. I just wanted to know that someone cared. I wanted to know that that she wasn’t forgotten. Even though everyone else’s world kept spinning while mine had turned completely upside down. The fact that none of the above happened turned me into an angry bitter person who was mad at the world.

Reach out to the world for comfort? Yeah right! After being hurt and abandoned by everyone it was safer to pull into my introverted personality and express myself through my creativity and through my blog. Thank goodness that I have both as outlets.

Today I am not as angry. I don’t have the energy to maintain anger any longer. The disabling brain fog that surrounds the shock of grief has dissipated. Yet at the same time my sense of loss is just as or perhaps even more painful that it was a year ago today. All of the firsts have come and gone. Every family gathering has a big gaping hole without my Sister. I miss her! I miss her! I MISS HER!!!

We as a family aren’t just grieving the loss of my Sister. We are grieving the future that was robbed of us. I will never see my Sister married. I will never be an aunt. Brittany will not be there to see my children grow up and start their own lives. We never get to see Brittany start her own life and family. Every birthday & holiday will leave a sense of emptiness… FOREVER! She’s gone and there isn’t a dang thing that can be done about it.

I am so thankful for my own family especially my children who have continually lightened the mood during my darkest of days. I am thankful for my relationship with my parents as they instilled a certain amount of strength in me. Strength that I didn’t know that I had until I had to use it.

Here are a few links that I have found on Sibling Grief

The Forgotten Griever

Siblings and Grief

Adults Grieving The Death of a Sibling

This one is from a fellow blogger who lost her Brother about a month or so before Brittany passed away.

Friendships in Grief from A Sister Left Behind

  • So if you know someone who is grieving the loss of a loved one today reach out to them. Pick up the phone and call. Ask that person “how are you“. Who cares if you don’t know what to say they don’t either. Your loved one only wants to know that you care, and that you haven’t forgotten why they grieve. Listen to your loved one and let them cry. Another idea is to send a card or something tangible that they can hold in their hands, but most of just be there! Be there consistently!

 

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47 thoughts on “Grieving a Sibling”

  1. I’ve found so many times in life that, until you walk in someone’s shoes, you can never truly understand, although you may think you do. That’s why posts like yours, where you share your anger and insights and wisdom and, yes, even grief, can be so incredibly helpful. I appreciate the time you took to share your deepest feelings so that we can all learn and therefore become more caring.

    You are an incredible woman and Brittany would be proud of how you have used your grief to do good for others. I mean, look at all the baby hats, etc., you have crafted and how you are encouraging and uplifting others via that and your writing.

    Sometimes it’s difficult to see the good that comes from a challenge or difficulty or something as tragic as losing a loved one in the way you lost Brittany. But there is always some goodness. God promises us that. You have found it and you are strong and loving and caring.

    Hold fast to your memories of your dear sister and continue to live life with that loving and caring spirit that is yours.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am sending you all the hugs you should have had from your friends. I lost my only sibling my brother and last year lost my wonderful mum and I felt very alone. Thank goodness you have a supporting family, for myself I know that I could not have survived it without my wonderful children and husband. I know it is hard but don’t give up on your friends, people find death difficult and it’s easier to ignore it because they just don’t know what to say.
    Your sister will live in your heart forever and your shared history will be passed on to your children and their children.
    I wish you comfort and peace.
    Celia x

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  3. Having lost a daughter, I would say most people don’t reach out because they honestly don’t know how to comfort you in your need. They know you don’t want to hear empty words but they don’t have the closeness to you to comfort you the way you need. One of my best friends just said ” I don’t know what to say but I’m here and I’m listening” and she sat and held my hand and that felt good. Over the years we’ve stayed close and even though she can’t imagine what it’s really like she knows that being there is sometimes enough, you don’t need to talk but for many they think they need to talk and they don’t find the words so they stay away. Be thankful for your own little family and keep your sister warm in your heart.

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    1. I agree that people are staying away because they don’t know what to say, but that doesn’t erase the fact that I have spent much of the last year in solitude because no one had the courage to reach out to me. It simply hurts that no one tried.

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  4. I am experiencing a similar, situation myself this year. I found the best way to cope, is to surround yourself with the love of your family and friends that truly care. I received a lot comfort doing something to honor their memory. In doing so l recalled all the great times we had together. This has helped me focus on what is really important in life. ❤

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  5. 13 months is such a short time when things like this happen. I wonder myself sometimes how long it takes until a sudden, close loss actually really sets in. The shock, sadness, anger and disbelief is so much to process. Plus, I’m sure you worry about how everybody else in your family is doing with it all. Overwhelming. Hope you find all the grace you need to pull you through this.

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  6. It does seem like siblings are often forgotten. I remember my daughter telling me that when my son (her brother) died her friends acted as if it never happened. When she went back to school no one mentioned it or said anything. I am sure they, too, just did not know what to say, but it made her grief worse. She felt like everyone was going on with life… so I can relate to what you went through. Often, people are afraid they will make you cry or upset you, so they say nothing. I really don’t think anyone realizes that it makes it worse. Keep on working through your grief and doing your positive crafts. Healing will come one day. One year is when grief peaks. It definitely takes time. Take it one day at a time and rely on the Lord.

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  7. Altho I have no siblings, I can only imagine how you feel. I know the feeling of loss and I know with each passing day the happy memories will grow larger and one day you will smile to the thoughts that once made you sad. HUGS!

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  8. I saw your blog first on Ravelry’s Bundle of Joy, and then your post on grieving a sibling. I had 4 sisters, now I have 3. We were close before, but now we make extra efforts to be together, whether or not our families can. We lost our sister 3 years ago to recurrent ovarian cancer. She was only 58, and so beautiful inside and out. We have a huge gap in our ranks. We are intentionally making efforts to show our love for one another and especially for our brother-in-law who lost his precious wife of only 13 years. Another sister and I visit him every year in Montana, We invite their friends for dinners. We attend church. We have a “girls lunch” with all her friends who are now our friends. I send 6 hand-knit chemo hats with my signature flower every year on her birthday to the Montana Cancer Center. The nurses all loved seeing her hats I made for her when she was a patient. Only my sisters know my past and present. We joke that she is with our Lord, carefully explaining us to him. Know that we are sisters in grief with you.

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  9. I am so sorry for your loss. Losing a sibling is horrible. I lost my baby sister, Mindy over 26 years ago. She died of retinoblastoma. She was just 11 years old. My oldest son still talks about her. He was two at the time. She was and still is my inspiration today. Her time here on Earth was short but she sure touched a lot of people. I often wonder what it would be like if she had lived. I have a beautiful daughter. She reminds me of my sister. I miss Mindy daily. Know that your sister remains in your heart. She is watching over you. Hugs to you. 🙂

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  10. Your words echo my thoughts so vividly. I so appreciate another’s perspective. And it mirrors my own so I wish mental hugs your way. Thank you.

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  11. I’m so sorry to hear of the loss of your sister. It’s so hard to find the right words.

    Last month we almost lost my sister. It was close, and I am so thankful that she is still here. Once I realized that not only was she my big sister that I looked up to, she was my friend, my rock. I can’t imagine life without her.

    Hopefully, with time your pain will ease.

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  12. Missy, your post brought my tears out. The same feeling of yours came back to me suddenly. Even I lost them(two sisters and one brother) so many years ago, the memories are still fresh. Who said “time desalinates”? They were just hidden some where at the bottom of the memory box. A slightest touch would pop them out!

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  13. I recently lost my older brother to brain cancer. I was with him from day 2 of his diagnosis, leaving my life behind and traveling to be with him and my elderly mother for 4 1/2 months. Losing him was hard enough, but my Mother set in motion a disaster with my brother’s wife. Briefly, Mother had accounts for both my brothers, but not me. In short, Mother took back the money. This “secret” caused hurt feelings and misunderstandings and tore the family apart. Everything I thought to be true about my place in the family was turned upside down. I am home now, seeing a therapist. My brother was everything to me–mentor, confidant, strength and safety net. Thank you for sharing your story about losing your Sis. It helped me better understand my feelings. Your words said it all. Peace be with you.

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  14. I lost my younger sister a year and a half ago and like you, I have been thinking about doing a blog post but unlike you, I never did. We were older than you and your sister were but I don’t think it matters. It still hurts. It seems to me that others don’t view the loss of a sibling in the same way they do say a parent or a child. And yet, the pain is just as deep and in some ways maybe even deeper… I’m sorry for your loss and I understand the feelings of wanting someone to reach out to you. Except for that one time, at the initial loss, no one asks how you are doing. Thanks for sharing those links about sibling loss. I’m going to check them out. I doubt it will ever get any easier but knowing that there are others who understand does help. Thanks for posting this.

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