From COPE Clinical Director Amy Olshever, PhD, LCSW

There is a saying, “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.” That is the grief of a sibling—grief for what was past, and grief for what should have been the future.

In many ways, siblings often experience a double loss: the loss of their sister or brother, and the loss of their parents (at least for a time, but sometimes, permanently).

Grieve your loss. Feel the loss as long as you need to, and give yourself time to heal. Because sibling loss is so misunderstood, you may receive messages that make you feel like you should be “over it by now.” They don’t know sibling loss. Now, you do. It takes time. Lots of time. It’s not about “getting over” the loss of a sibling. You don’t get over it. You create your life and move on, when you’re ready. But you will always remember your brother or sister—the missing piece of your life.

Adapted from Dr. Christina Hibbert