Grieving the Loss of a Sibling

Posted on May 20, 2019 by Bagozzi Twins Funeral Home under blog, funeral home
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Syracuse, NY funeral services

One of the Syracuse, NY funeral services offered is grief resources. Grieving when our family members die is a given. But grief differs and is unique for the relationship of the family member and us. We grieve one way when our parents die. We grieve another way when aunts and uncles die. But when siblings die, we grieve an even different way.

There’s a lot that underlies the grief of losing a sibling. We grew up together, we played together, we were inseparable for at least the first 18 years of our lives, and we may have stayed close throughout our adult lives. Somewhere, though, whether we were as close as adults as we were as children, in our minds, we are still the ages we were when we children. We’re young, even if the mirror tells a different story, in our minds, in our memories, and in our relationships to each other.

So, when a sibling dies, it can be extremely hard to believe, hard to accept, and hard to adjust to. They were too young to die. In this case, you need to plan a funeral for your sibling.

But the grief has an introspective side to it as well because we come face to face with our own mortality, even if we’ve tried to avoid it, outrun it, or just pretend it doesn’t exist. If a sibling can die, then so can we. And that can be a very sobering – and scary – thought if we haven’t thought about it before.

When a veteran in the family dies, it irrevocably changes the future for us. There are no more shared activities, like holidays, birthdays, or anniversaries.

Siblings have a special relationship among themselves within the family structure. When a sibling dies, there’s a hole in this dynamic that can’t be replaced, and the surviving siblings often struggle to redefine their roles in the family in a way that makes sense, but never feels quite right.

Adult siblings experience their grief in ways that are different than that of adolescent or very young siblings when a sibling dies.

One manifestation of this grief may be survivor’s guilt. Siblings grow up with the expectation that they will look out for each other and have each other’s back. The guilt comes from the fact that we didn’t – and probably couldn’t – protect our sibling from death.

Another aspect of adult sibling grief may be guilt over the relationship with the sibling who died. Once siblings are grown, many times each one takes a different path in life. Sometimes there is little communication, sometimes there are unresolved issues, and sometimes there are separations.

Although the love never dies, sometimes it ends up having to be from a distance. We may grieve over the way things turned out, even if a distant relationship was healthiest for us or if the relationship was good and close. We will always think about what we could have done to make it different or better.

There are some positive outcomes from the grief we feel when we lose a sibling. We may seek closer relationships with our remaining siblings and work diligently to heal any breaches that may exist. And, even though our sibling may be dead, we never lose the connection to them as we remember them in our conversations and the stories we tell, on birthdays, holidays, and their death date.

For more information about grief resources at Syracuse, NY funeral services, our compassionate and experienced team at Bagozzi Twins Funeral Home, Inc. is here to help. You can visit our funeral home at 2601 Milton Ave., Solvay, NY 13209, or you can call us today at (315) 468-2431.

Bagozzi Twins Funeral Home

Serving families in Solvay, NY, the Greater Syracuse area, and all of Central New York for over 90 years, we are honored to have earned many awards for service excellence and customer satisfaction.

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