sibling grief support

About a year ago, I had an idea for a website. Somewhere, on a notepad probably collecting dust in some drawer around here, I even spent a bus ride sketching out what the format and content would look like. I put out feelers with a few people and got a positive response and offers to help. It was a good idea. A very good idea. And then life took over. My sick and tiring pregnancy kept me busy, and then Emmett arrived and, well, I guess that's my excuse. But it isn't a good excuse, because this idea, it needs and deserves my attention.

Sibling grief gets very little support. There are a few local support groups out there for young kids who have lost siblings, mostly focused on illness and disease. The Compassionate Friends is the only national grief resource I know of that has any focus on sibling grief, but it is minimal. Their focus is on parents whose children have died, and they do great work in that area. Some of their chapter locations have sibling groups in addition to parent groups. Their website has a few resources to read, and a chat room available. I participated in the chat a few times, about a year after Greg died, but it was so unstructured, awkward, and focused on very recent loss only that it didn't really work for me.

I am not trying to put all of us who have lost siblings into a box, because all experiences and grief processes are vastly different, but there is one common factor I have found to be true for many of us: We do not grieve loudly. We know that our parents have lost a child, and that is so profoundly awful that we can't compete with that. We want to be there for them, we want to be the pillar of strength and show that we can not only handle it, but we can get everyone else through it, too. We want to stay out of the way and not fall apart because we don't want to make it any worse for them. This is, of course, all in our heads, but it feels very real.

So we suffer quietly. I suffered quietly for a long time. I am blessed with a family so large and so loving that I was surrounded by people who were there for me in amazing ways. I would not have survived it without them. But I still suffered quietly, because they couldn't understand all of the whirling, deep emotions I was saddled with.

I longed for an online place I could take that grief, somewhere semi-anonymous, where I could find people who understood. I found an online friend, Liz, who understood. Her brother died, too, which is so awful, but we shared that experience. We knew the things not to say to each other, the things we had both heard SO many times, all the It will be okay, you'll see and the I know how you feel and the Time will heal and all of the trite, ridiculous, well-meaning things people say to you when they are at a loss of how to help you. We put all that aside, and we got to know each other, and we just said: "I understand." And that was enough. That was so healing, I don't even know how to put it into words.

It is my idea, my dream, to put in place a website to fill the void of sibling grief support. I want it to be for all ages and for anyone who has experienced the death of a sibling, whether it was yesterday or 50 years ago. I want it to be interactive and always changing, never stale or outdated. I want it to have a few main authors who blog there as they please, about their own experiences. I want guest writers and contributors to have a place they can share. I want to compile resources and have information pages where those who have lost siblings can read about how others handled certain aspects of grief. I want a question and answer resource where anybody reading can ask any of us about anything they want, publicly or anonymously. I want chats devoted to specific topics and issues. I want everybody who spends some time there for support and is comfortable with doing so to send us a picture and a story about their brother or sister who died so we can post them all.

I dream big about this website. I dream even bigger about nobody needing this website. But since I can't control that, I will have to deal with what is in my control.

There is one definite problem: I have no earthly idea how to create a real website not designed and hosted by Blogger. I don't know html or any kind of other necessary codes and whatnot, and honestly, when I've tried to spend time figuring it out, my eyes immediately glaze over.

I am still very much in the idea stage of this website, but I do not want to let it go this time. So if you are someone who wants to help or contribute, please let me know. And if you are someone who finds this post by googling for sibling grief support and you could use a website like this, please tell me. Leave a comment or send me an email. Help me keep this conversation going so that one day I can make it a reality.


Thais said...

this is like the most awesomist idea i have ever hear need to do it. My MIL did her own websites for years and she isnt a tech genious....I think she used a specific program that helped her build it. anyway i htink you need to pursue it....

EDH said...

Oh, this made my day... I so wish we had never had to meet each other, but getting to know you has been SO healing for me, too. I agree that this kind of resource is sorely needed & I would love to help!!

Anonymous said...

I googled online support for sibling grief and I am hoping to find some time to blog to others on here, it has been many years since my loss but feels as fresh as yesterday and I just wanna talk about it and her...I feel alone so I am glad I found this site.

Amy Anu-Birge said...

My brother died in late July of this year, and I have been looking for an online community. Even this little bit helps. I have a good life and a great husband, but with my only sibling gone, I feel so alone in the world.

Binky said...

I know this blog post is from a year ago, and not even sure if the blog itself is current, but I was wondering if you ever did make the website for sibling grief that you mentioned? I'm dealing with sibling grief as best I can, but have also seen that there are very few resources on the internet for this.

Lynne Dintiman said...

Hello. Like Binky above, I found this blog long after this sibling grief post was made (Dec. 3, 2012) and am hoping to help make this happen. We siblings who are grieving indeed need help and community. I can be reached via the contact page on the website I posted as my URL. Peace & blessings, L

Raymond said...

Ditto what others are saying, not much out there. I was happy for a moment when I read this post but then saw most of the comments were from 2010. However, I see Lynne was last month… I don’t understand where your URL is posted. Today is January 2, 2013.

My bother passed away from a sudden and unexpected illness 2 ½ months ago. Like others, not much for adult siblings and everyone around me is there for his wife and two little boys - Which I am grateful for, but also starting to get a bit resentful since I seem to be expected to rally around them or my Mother. No one seems to be there for me.

Anyway, I am a computer guy, I am not a web site guy however, but I might be able to help make something happen on the tech side. Assuming I feel like getting out of bed that morning :-)

Anonymous said...

I 'lost' my sister to a severe mental illness in 1968 and she is still alive today suffering from a severe mental illness.
I have worked long and hard at the impact of her illness and now know the pain will never go away. Outwardly I smile but inwardly I weep.
When I was small I remember my maternal grandmother saying (she had lost her brother in WW1) that she could never be truly happy again. I have researched this and this situation can be called a state of chronic sorrow. Elen

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