The Alone Sibling: Dealing with Sibling Loss

1000205_10201530543682559_863423124_nAs a child, I couldn’t have imagined what life as an only child would be like.

A number of my cousins are only children. And although they knew no different, I almost felt sympathy for them. How lonely they must feel? With no one to play with, no one to tell their secrets to or moan about their parents with.

My brother and I were very close as children right through to the teenage years. We were also arch enemies, like most siblings. But through all the beatings and vicious insults, there was always an unbreakable bound and enough love to create world peace 5 times over.

We were best friends, although we wouldn’t have wanted to admit it. There wasn’t much we didn’t speak about. I think my brother was the only person in the world who could make me laugh so much I wet myself (literally). We encouraged each other’s confidence. We bitched about rude people and we would be the first to stick up for one another in a fight (I specifically remember almost reducing a boy to tears when I charged up to him in the school playground after he stole my brothers football).

Yeah, we were pretty much partners in crime.

One of my fondest memories of my brother was him riding down on his bike to my college so that he could walk with me home. (I would often have to bribe him with a Pot Noodle, but still)

The day I found out my brother had gone was single handedly the worst day of my life.

It was like the world had fallen from it’s axis and the ground had crumbled beneath my feet.

It’s strange all the small details that you remember. Like the wheel chair in the family room that specifically read ‘departures lounge’ on the back or the criss crossed button on my cardigan that I repeatedly ran my nail up and down whilst trying not to look at my devastated parents in the corner of the room. And the doctors face when he came into the room with a large group of medical professionals and told us they couldn’t save my brother.

All I can remember after that is falling to the floor as though the ground had dropped, sick to my stomach and crying so uncontrollable I honestly didn’t recognise the noise of my own screams.

All I wanted to do in that moment was go back to being a five year old child. I wanted my parents to sweep me up and tell me it was all OK and just a bad dream like the ones I had when I was younger. I wanted someone to tell me it was all a mistake, that normal, average families didn’t go through this loss. My naivety was so over powering. I felt like the smallest, most vulnerable creature in the world.

The weeks after were just a blur. For any one who has lost a sibling, you’ll know the swarms of people, both old and new who appear at your door step with flowers in hand, cards with well wishes and messages of condolence. And you’ll know that after a week to two after, when those flowers have begun to wilt and the everyday life once again resumes, those visits are far and few between. And suddenly, the daunting realisation that you are now completely alone with your grief hits you like the biggest wave you’ve even faced.

And those waves keep on hitting you, like a Tsunami that ceases to relent.

As a sibling, our grief is often not as noticeable to others. People will continually ask you how your parents are. They don’t mean this in a rude way, as though the are ignorant to the over bearing black cloud of grief that engulfs your head and hangs over you. It’s just they don’t know what else to ask you.

Let’s be honest, sibling grief isn’t widely spoken about. We don’t speak about the effect on an individual, how it changes their life’s for ever. Maybe we are frightened to speak about it. No one wants to image life without their sibling.

But that doesn’t mean our voices shouldn’t be heard.

This is the story of an alone child. How life can change in an instant.

It gets a little easier everyday, but everyday has its challenges.

And the reality of an alone child will always be with you, like a black crow sitting beside you. And occasionally it will consume you, the grief too hard to bear. But you will get through it. Because that’s the only choice us alone siblings have.

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7 thoughts on “The Alone Sibling: Dealing with Sibling Loss

  1. Georgia that’s written so beautifully. You may already know this, but have you heard of Chums? They are a bereavement charity for parents and young people. I lost my mum 7.5 yrs ago so I have an idea of how consuming grief can be and in hindsight wish I’d used someone like Chums. I can only imagine how heartbroken you and your mum and dad must be but you seem like a naturally very positive person. Let that energy shine out like sun beams, keep smiling and while you’ll always remember and love your brother try not to look back. Try not to dwell on why’s and what if’s. Keep moving forward xxx

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    1. Thank you so much for this comment Amy. Means a lot. I have heard of Chums and what a fantastic charity they are. Sadly though I’m too old to access their charity. It did get me thinking about setting up some support for older teens/young adults though as there is nothing much out there. Sorry to hear about your mum. Charities like Chums are really good in terms of offering counselling etc. Thank you so much for the encouraging words and support xxx

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      1. That’s a shame, there are lots of other charities out there if you need them. I read your post to Finley and Lola tonight. They’re only 9 and 7 and keep bickering. I tell them all the while they should be thankful of the people they have here today because they could be gone tomorrow. It works for five minutes! You and Elliott were about the same age when I first met your mum and I was only about 19! It’s scary how quickly time goes. Lots of love to you, your Mum and Dad xx

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      2. I will look around and research I think. That’s the thing about siblings. When you are younger you fight like cat and dog. Elliot and I use to always fight. As we got older we were like best of friends though! It’s always a good thing to teach young people though. We should be thankful for the love we receive and not be ungrateful. Aha bless them! That’s mad! It really is. Thank you for your kindness 🙂 Love to you and your family xx

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  2. Oh my goodness I’m so sorry for your loss. I haven’t written too much about my sister yet, but losing her was one of the most difficult things ever. I agree with you. And I empathise from a standpoint that isn’t the same, but is about as similar as it can get.

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    1. Thank you. I find that writing about it helps to express those feelings. I still can’t really address my grief. I’m so sorry to hear about your sister also. It’s so hard but I just try to remember there happy memories.

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