Chapter 3: How your sibling’s death may affect you

Ways you might respond to your grief

I've been there
Lucy speaks about how her sister's death has changed her.(3:22)Video transcript
Heather explains that grief is about love and hope and speaks about the relationship they had with their sister.(3:22)Video transcript
George speaks about acknowledging his loss and grief.(3:22)Video transcript

In the beginning, I needed just one minute a day away from the pain. I think you have to start small: start with finding just one minute away from the pain, and then build up to more.

I started jogging after they died. I’m not really an exercise kind of person, but I just needed somewhere for the pent-up anger and grief and sadness to go. Jogging helped me to let it all out and to clear my mind. Now I run 10K in their memory every year.

Just as each person’s experience of grief is different, so too is their way of coping with it. For example, some people need to share their thoughts and feeling while other people need to keep busy while they figure things out.

Talking with others about your sibling or your grief can be very comforting, even if it brings up feelings of sorrow or loss. It can also help to maintain your sense of connection with your sibling.

If you are someone who can’t “just sit there and talk about feelings,” you may need to put energy into doing things. This might mean activities as different as reading about grief or taking on a project in memory of your brother or sister.

You might even need to use different approaches, sometimes talking and other times “doing.” Only you can know what will work best for you.

What may help

Allow yourself to move in and out of grief as you need. You may need to approach grieving one day – or one hour – at a time.

Give yourself time to figure out what you need.

If talking about how you are feeling is not something that you easily do, you can find other ways to express your grief. You might write or draw in a private journal or create music or art that you can share.

Reach out for support from friends and family, as you need it. If you feel isolated in your grief, finding a support group to connect with others experiencing similar feelings might be helpful to you.

If you continue to struggle with difficult feelings or feel “stuck,” consult with a grief counsellor. They can help you sort out your thoughts and feelings, and they can encourage you to look at things from a different perspective.