The death of a sibling can and does have the ability to affect your physical, emotional, and psychological well-being in an adverse manner. The weight of such a loss may follow a bereaved sibling for the rest of their life. In much the same way, when a young child experiences this type of loss, it can lead to problems in their personal development and self-esteem.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- What Can You Expect During a Sibling Loss Support Group?
- How Do You Find a Sibling Loss Support Group?
Condolences are typically offered to the bereaved parents, while sibling grief is often overlooked. It’s not unusual for siblings to be left out, creating a unique type of loneliness within them. Often the loss of a brother or sister is overshadowed by the death of a child. A sibling’s grief sometimes becomes secondary to a parent’s suffering.
However, there are sibling loss support groups available to those who’ve lost a sibling. They can offer emotional and sometimes psychological support and as well as an outlet to help you go through the grieving process.
What Can You Expect During a Sibling Loss Support Group?
A sibling loss support group is a place for those whose siblings have died to come together to encourage and support one another in their grief. You can find this type of support group in person or online. Online participation is usually a more convenient, low-stakes way to see if this group is right for you.
When joining a sibling loss support group, you can expect to meet people from all walks of life who share in your similar experience of having lost a brother or sister. In some cases, you might come across someone who’s lost more than one sibling.
These groups are intended for members to offer each other support in your grief, talk about what you’re going through, and share in each other’s experiences. Some of the benefits that come with a support group are:
- Gaining an opportunity for added emotional support
- Being able to talk about your loss openly
- Hearing different perspectives from other’s experiences
- Understanding how grief affects you
- Learning life coping skills after loss
- Getting permission to grieve and move forward after loss
In-person support groups
In-person support groups offer a more personal experience. Usually, you’ll meet at a designated safe place so you can talk openly about your grief without fear of judgment or ridicule. In some instances, the support group offers events, workshops, and retreats for members to get to know themselves and each other better as they work through the grief process.
Anyone dealing with the loss of a sibling would benefit from checking out a sibling loss support group whenever they’re ready to take their grief journey forward.
Every support group has some methods in place to get people connected. In-person support groups are still a popular way to get out of your comfort zone so you can interact with others and talk about your grief. They offer several ways in which you can participate in your grief recovery.
Planned events for people coping with the death of a sibling can include anything from national conferences to local meet-up groups hosted by people just like you. Depending on your personality type, some events may be more well-received than others. For example, if you like to interact socially with many people, a conference may be better for you. It’ll allow you to meet and learn from people from all over who share in your grief. When you attend a conference, it can last anywhere from a day to a week.
Usually, they’re broken down into hour-long sessions offering a wide array of topics. You get to decide which ones you want to attend and for how long. No one forces you to sit through any of these sessions if you don’t want to. You can get up and leave at any time. This type of setting is also suitable for more introverted types because it’s easy to get lost in the mix. No one needs to know who you are and when you’re coming or going.
Some people benefit from a more intimate setting that isn’t as overwhelming as a conference can be. You can find smaller groups that get together by searching through online resources such as meetup or Facebook. Some of these planned events are free, but others charge an admission or membership fee. You’ll be given specific group information at the time you sign up as a member. There are usually never any hidden costs associated with these types of events.
You can find meetup options online through popular apps such as Facebook or Meetup.com. You’ll want to search for terms related to the type of loss you’ve experienced to find a group event that’s right for you. These types of groups might meet for lunch at a local restaurant, a local park for a picnic, or some planned outdoor physical activity such as a local hike or 5K run.
Consider attending a workshop to help you along the path toward healing. Workshops offer healing activities throughout the day to support you in your grief journey to enhance your grieving process. This type of workshop could help especially if you’re feeling stuck in your grief and unable to move forward from your loss. Others who might benefit from a workshop are looking for added guidance and support as they work through their grief.
At a grief support workshop, you can expect to help you tell the difference between grief and trauma, learn coping strategies, and learn to recognize the signs and symptoms of complicated grief. Most workshops are interactive and will require you to participate in activities to help you work through your grief.
Grief retreats are another way to find added support after suffering the loss of a sibling. Weekend retreats are popular choices for those needing to get away and be at one with their grief.
Generally, retreats focus on finding purpose and meaning in your life after loss and how to progress through grief. These are a great way to meet new friends and get together with others who share in the experience of having lost a sibling.
Online support groups
Getting the help you need can be as easy as jumping online and seeking out a support group that fits your needs for the type of loss you’ve suffered. Most online support groups tend to be monitored or self-regulated by their group members. They operate under a code of respect and discretion. Moderators will require most group members to acknowledge that they’ll show care and compassion towards one another as a membership condition.
You may need to try out a few different groups until you find one that clicks. Not every group will be right for you. Take your time to explore group member interactions, how often they post, and keep the conversations related to relevant grief topics. If you sense that a particular group isn’t right for you, there’s no obligation to continue. You can simply let the moderator know that you’ll be leaving the group, or you can just quit the group with no explanation.
Another source of support that you’ll find online as your search for support groups is the opportunities to receive grief counseling. There are many local and national charities and organizations offering free grief counseling to those in need.
Many of these organizations do not require certain income levels to qualify to receive free care and counseling. They’re sponsored by national bereavement groups, local churches, or other organizations. You might come across some of the more well-known grief counseling providers when you’re conducting your search for online support groups.
How Do You Find a Sibling Loss Support Group?
A general internet search for online grief support groups will yield several groups from which to choose from. Pay close attention to whether the group meets in person or online and decide which you’d be more comfortable attending.
You’ll also notice many opportunities to join virtual grief forums. This is another variation of a chat room where you can join in on the conversation at any point and leave whenever you’re ready. You also have the opportunity to review past questions and answers others have posted. It helps to look through these as you may find some of the answers you may need.
Start your search by typing in key terms that narrow down the type of loss you’ve suffered. For example, you can search for these and other specific terms relating to your sibling’s death:
- Sibling death due to illness
- Overdose death of a sibling
- Sibling died in an accident
- My sibling was murdered
- My sibling committed suicide
You can conduct any imaginable search to find a sibling loss support group that’s right for you. Rest assured that you’ll never be alone in your grief and that there’s a support group that shares similar experiences such as yours.
Finding the Right Sibling Loss Support Group
Every person’s grief journey and story is unique to their losses and experiences. The impact of grief on an individual is immeasurable against that of any other person who’s experienced the same type of loss.
Finding the right loss support group can lead to many new friendships and sources of support. Although it may take some time to find just the one for you, always have hope that the right group is out there waiting for you to join.