Chapter 4: Impact on family and friends
Changes within your family of origin
My sister was the glue that held our family together. She was the one who had the weekly family dinners and made sure we celebrated our birthdays together, no matter how old we got. We so miss her and all that she did in our family.
My brother wasn’t always an easy guy to like. We didn’t see eye to eye on most things, and our relationship had its ups and downs over the years. It’s fair to say that I have a lot of mixed feelings now.
In addition to missing your sibling’s physical presence, you and other family members will likely feel the loss of any roles that your brother or sister had in your family. You may not recognize the more subtle losses at first. You may notice them more
on a particular date, such as a holiday or traditional family celebration.
Click on the following to see some examples of roles your sibling may have had:
Keeping everyone connected
Being the first to help when there was a project to complete
Always “stirring the pot” or bringing up past hurts
Bullying you when you were little, and maybe even when you were an adult
Playing the joker, the organizer or “boss,” or the keeper of family stories
Because each person in your family had their own relationship with your sibling who died, your memories and viewpoints may differ. For example, you may have experienced your sibling as kind and warm-hearted, while another family member considered them to be uncaring. You may have thought your sibling was very funny, while someone else in the family found them to be disrespectful or irreverent.
It may also be that you or someone else in your family missed out on some experiences that other family members had with your brother or sister. It’s possible that someone felt jealous of the relationship their siblings had with each other and felt they were always “left out” or on the sidelines.
You might also be able to recognize and admit to yourself or others that there are things you don’t miss about your sibling, and that’s okay.
What may help
Identifying the roles that you brother or sister had in your family’s life can help to identify losses and help you learn more about your grief.
Try not to compare your relationship and experiences with your sibling with those of others in your family.
In time, other members of your family may take over some of the roles your sibling played, or your family may find other ways to adapt to the changes.