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Coping with grief during the pandemic

Rory Kinnear shares his experiences of bereavement as a sibling:

Coping with grief during the coronavirus outbreak:

Coping with the loss of your disabled brother or sister

Issues specific to the loss of a disabled brother or sister:

  • Experiencing disenfranchised grief i.e. the way you grieve is not considered socially acceptable or the grief isn’t considered worth it. People may say things like: ‘Her health has always been bad…’ ‘He wasn’t expected to have a full life expectancy…’
  • Loss of role and identity – You may have been one of the main caregivers for your brother or sister and may feel a loss for the caring role you undertook
  • Anger – You may feel very angry that services or treatments were not available for your brother or sister, or that he or she was treated with less dignity than others in hospital or a care home
  • Guilt – You may feel guilty about things like – how much time you have spent with your brother or sister; resentment about care tasks; relief that you will not have to care in the future; having survived…

Coping strategies:

  • Give yourself time. There is no set time or pattern for grief and it varies for everybody. Be patient and take the time you need, without feeling pressure
  • Find a way to express your grief. For some siblings, this will be talking to a close friend. For others, this will be keeping a diary, or using music or art. Some will put together a memory box. Find a way that works for you. There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way
  • Keep healthy. Looking after your physical health is a good way of keeping you mentally healthy. Take regular exercise and make sure you eat and sleep as well as you can

You are not alone. Click here for more information and coping strategies for bereaved siblings.

NHS coronavirus bereavement helpline

Call 0800 2600 400 (open every day from 8am – 8pm). The nurses on the helpline can give you advice, guidance and practical support during this difficult time.


This page was last updated: 17th February 2021

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