Being a Bereaved Sibling

June 29, 2017

How are your parents doing?

Since the day that my sister died, I have been asked over and over again, "How are your parents doing?"

Don't get me wrong, I know that these people are well meaning and understand it's impossible to understand how it feels to lose a child, but when this question is asked of my parents, it seems to often be overlooked of me. Sometimes, I need people to ask how I'm doing. I need people to understand it's impossible to understand how it feels to lose a sibling. I wish people would recognize that my parents have each other, a support network they've built in the twenty-something years they've lived in the same neighborhood, and an entire section of Barnes & Noble books on being a bereaved parent, and I have my cat and friends that I make uncomfortable when I say my sister died instead of "passed away."

Where's my Barnes & Noble section on sibling loss?

I know a few people here and there who have also lost siblings, but I have yet to meet someone who has lost one in a somewhat similar manner to how I lost Julian. Even then, it feels awkward and uncomfortable to just strike up a conversation, like, "hey, let's talk about our dead siblings." I have found an Instagram account with a poorly-updated blog of a woman who lost her brother over ten years ago. I have my own brother who I don't really utilize as much as I should, since, well, he's the only one who can really understand how I feel (but even then, it's different for him too). I already know from my own personal research and from papers I chose the topics for in school that the social science research surrounding sibling bereavement is next-to-none. But why is this such a neglected topic?

It's safe to say that when a parent loses a child, it's usually accompanied by a sibling losing their sibling (I'm just guessing here because I guess it depends on the generation since people have less kids now and stuff).

It's not like I'm some outlier

In terms of the bereaved, it's not like I'm some outlier, but it often feels like it. I think that's part of the reason why I write about my experiences so often. Bereaved siblings seem like these weird unicorns that nobody knows what to do with. Well, as much as I wish I was a unicorn, I'm just a sometimes-sad, little person, just trying to make it through life.

I'm fairly convinced that everyone who tunes in here texts their friends every time I write about her like, "here she goes again, looking for sympathy." In reality, I don't think any of y'all care about my life that much and I don't think I'm cool enough for people to talk smack on behind my back. I guess I'm just trying to justify blogpost after blogpost about my sister, but then again, this is my blog and nobody's forcing you to be here. Although thanks for stopping by anyways.

I never saw myself as a writer. I honestly used to hate it. I can't even remember why I started this blog but I think it's helped me process her death more than anything else ever could've (plus as we know, I am very opinionated and I think I'm funny so I enjoy sharing that with the world (or like probably just Khadeeja and my mom)). I've learned how to acknowledge my feelings surrounding Julian's death. I've learned how to communicate the kind of support I need. I've learned to be patient with others and to be patient with myself.

And most importantly, I've seen my hope grow. Hope that there will be a happy ending to all of this, hope that I won't forget her voice or her laugh. Hope that time will continue to heal me, and hope that I can help others heal as well. I would've never signed up for this journey, but I have learned so much about myself in the last year and a half. I don't always want to be strong, but I know that I am, and I know I can handle any curveball that life throws at me (although if life wants to chill a while with the curveballs that would be stellar, since I know nothing about baseball anyways).

Yours truly,

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  1. Love you and your thoughts and your writing. The only thing I text behind your back is to nick wishing I was a millionaire and could fly to once a week. ���� xoxo

  2. I love to read your blogs. I think writing how you feel helps to get through the tougher times. I miss Julian- think about her a lot! I miss you-wish you were here so I could give you real hugs instead of emoji ones. Love you������