Adult sibling bereavement during the pandemic
Sibs offers heartfelt condolences to all adult siblings who are grieving during this incredibly difficult time, when feelings of loneliness may be heightened. For siblings who may have spent a lifetime putting their needs aside for the benefit of others, this is especially hard. Some siblings will also be supporting a disabled brother or sister through loss and grief too.
Meeting other bereaved siblings online
Our bereaved siblings group is a friendly peer support group for siblings whose disabled brother or sister has died. Some siblings may be in their first year of bereavement, others in their fifty-first – all are welcome. It is not a therapy group and some siblings prefer to attend counselling before (or alongside) coming to this group.
There are limited spaces in the bereavement group and a waiting list. A smaller group size ensures that the conversation is manageable and allows everyone time to give and receive support. The group meets 6 times in a 12 month period. New members don’t join part-way through the 12 month period. This helps everyone to get to know each other and make the most of their 6 sessions. Attendance at the meetings is key and we ask that siblings signing up aim to come to 5 out of the 6 sessions.
Our current cohort is underway. If you’d like to join the next bereavement group cohort, please sign up using the form below and you’ll be added to the waiting list. Our brilliant facilitators will be ready to warmly welcome you to the next group. Bereaved siblings are also welcome to join a local group at any time, if they prefer to discuss sibling experiences widely or attend more flexibly.
To join our bereaved adult sibling support group (or a local group), click here.
Coping with grief during the pandemic
Rory Kinnear shares his experiences of bereavement as a sibling:
- “My sister died of coronavirus. She needed care, but her life was not disposable” (May 2020)
- “Seven months after my sister’s death from Covid, her kindness remains my anchor” (Dec 2020)
Coping with grief during the coronavirus outbreak:
- Cruse bereavement care – Coronavirus: grieving and isolation
- If you are supporting a brother or sister who has learning disabilities to understand grief and loss, read this guide from Dimensions
- Remember that you are not alone. Dying Matters have launched the #BeforeTheirTime campaign to help people talk about their loss and connect with others going through the same.
- At a time when we may not be able to connect with others and remember someone in the ways we usually would, websites like www.muchloved.com can offer comfort. You can share treasured memories, leave messages in the virtual gardens of remembrance or set up a tribute page and fundraise in a person’s memory.
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…
- 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 to read our full information and coping strategies for bereaved siblings.
Coronavirus bereavement support
- Sudden is an early intervention service providing emotional and practical support in the first ten weeks following an unexpected bereavement. Read advice from the charity Sudden on COVID-19 bereavement. Call their helpline on 0800 2600 400, Mon – Fri 10am – 4pm
- The National Bereavement Partnership provides a support helpline, counselling referral and befriending service for all those suffering from bereavement, grief, living loss, mental health issues, and those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Call their helpline on 0800 448 0800. Available 7 days a week, 7am – 10pm
This page was last updated: 14th July 2021
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