As those of you in our call Me Sister community know, The Smith Girls treasure our bond of sisterhood. It brings us solace, joy, motivation, peace during turmoil, laughter and a soft shoulder to cry on. The illness and ultimate passing of our brother, JD Smith, has been a profound reminder of the “ties that bind” us to our brothers and each other.
My brothers, JD and Benny, were my first best friends-followed a few years later by “the twins.” Losing JD has created a space in my heart that will be forever devoted to him and his memory.
Sibling grief is an often-overlooked area of bereavement. If addressed, it is directed to small children who lose a sibling.
A friend searching for literature on the subject found that there were more publications on how to handle the lost of a pet than there were on sibling grief.
The sibling relationship carries with a bond that is difficult to sever. It has been suggested that when your parents die, you lose your past; when your spouse dies, you lose your present; and when your child dies, you lose your future. However, when your sibling dies, you lose your past, your present and your future. The sibling relationship is most likely the longest relationship of your life.
We are so, so eternally grateful that JD’s spouse, children and grandchildren honored our relationship as JD’s siblings in all that they did and said. It meant the world to us that they recognized our deep sense of loss as they suffered grief in their own way-losing spouse, dad and grandfather.
Since there is no magic formula to overcome grief, I have come to believe that “closure” does not exist when dealing with the loss of a loved one. So, I have left my heart open to experience the ongoing sense of loss, open to both the joy and sadness that comes daily as I remember our brother and the life he led. Maybe that is really the last stage of grief, a commitment to just remember.