Loss of a sibling – the unspoken grief

by Emma Simpson

 I wrote this shortly after my brother died, 13 years ago… it really does get easier…

“There is an awful lot of guidance and support out there for people who have lost their parents, and for bereaved parents who have suffered the loss of a child, and rightly so. Many or most of us will experience the loss of a parent at some point so it is good that there is a plethora of help available. Also, the loss of a child is so unimaginably horrendous that it clearly merits all the support and help in the world that it is possible to give.

Loss of a sibling, is, however, often overlooked. Maybe society’s expectation is that we are all estranged from our siblings as adults. They perhaps live overseas, or we never really liked them anyway. But what if your sibling was your best friend? The closest person to you in the world? Your neighbour? Your confidante? Someone you saw every day? The resulting hole in your life is impossible to fill. It is the wretched, aching pain of losing a part of yourself, losing a limb. There is literally no one else in the world who shares your genetic makeup as a sibling does and who understands your family like a sibling does. You are parts of the same whole.

I shall in fact stop referring to it as ‘loss’ of a sibling. You don’t ‘lose’ a person. You ‘lose’ a set of keys. A person is wrenched from your life, from their own life. There can be no ‘loss’ if there is no possibility of finding them again. Death is what it is.”

It’s interesting how we use language and how powerful a word can become. ‘Loss’. The word made me so cross. I wrote a lot in the aftermath of my brother’s death, as pouring my soul out through the nib of a pen kept me in the vague proximity of sanity. As I reflect, I still feel everything as acutely as if it were yesterday, but it’s no longer encompassing my every waking moment, far from it. I do think about him every single day, but I no longer replay the ‘what if’s’, or feel the anger at the hospital whose error caused his death. Now I smile. I remember him. I laugh.

I laugh at the memories, the fun times, and I laugh in life, and it’s ok. The omnipresent cloud has broken. It does break eventually. The least helpful thing to think on in the fog of grief is that ‘time is a great healer’, because you can’t speed up time, but heal it does. Perhaps just knowing that will help you get through. My brother had his arm around me his whole life, and he still does. That is something I will never lose. Whilst I ache to see and speak to him more than I care to admit, I can now celebrate the things in life that he has empowered me to do. I can accept my ‘loss’, and appreciate what I have ‘found’ as the seesaw of life redresses the balance: resilience, bravery, determination and a spirit that can’t be broken. As there is no yin without yan, no elation without despair, perhaps it takes loss to truly be found.  He has inspired me to inspire others, to allow myself to be happy.

It really does get easier… 

Guest writer: Emma Simpson wrote for Soul Food September, and we’re sincerely grateful that Letting Go touched her so deeply, that she took the time to share this beautiful, poignant and crafted expression of her grief.

Emma is a writer, blogger and coach currently working on her first book. Her brother died when they were both in their thirties, changing her world forever. She is a lioness for those she cares about, adventurous and scared at the same time, and believes all the world’s problems can be solved by a cup of tea. She lives with her fire-fighter husband, 2 daughters, a deaf arthritic spaniel, 3 unidentifiable fish and 5 chickens.

To stay in touch: You can follow Emma here at Emma Simpson or Emma Simpson Instagram

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