How Do I Overcome the Grief of a Sister?

Losing a sibling is an incredibly painful experience. When a brother or sister passes away, it's not just a family member that you lose; it's a part of your history, your shared memories, and a unique bond that only siblings can truly understand. The grief that follows the loss of a sibling is profound, affecting surviving siblings in ways that are both expected and surprising.
By illume Editorial Team
Last updated: Dec 6, 2023
3 min read

Understanding Sibling Grief

Sibling relationships can be complicated, filled with moments of joy, rivalry, and deep connection. Adult siblings often share a bond that is fundamentally different from other relationships. When a sibling dies, it can leave a void that is hard to fill. Grieving the death of a sibling means navigating a complex array of emotions, from profound sadness to, sometimes, feeling guilty for being the one who is still alive.

It’s essential to recognize that sibling grief is unique. The grieving process for a sibling’s death can be different from other losses. Surviving siblings might feel overlooked, as attention often goes to the parents or the deceased’s immediate family. However, it’s important to remember that your grief is valid and deserves attention too.

Coping with the Loss

Coping with the loss of a sibling involves allowing yourself to grieve in your own way and time. Here are some strategies to help you through this difficult time:

  • Acknowledge Your Grief: Allow yourself to feel the pain, anger, and sadness. Grieving the loss of a sibling means giving yourself permission to experience a range of emotions.
  • Share Your Feelings: Talk about your sibling. Sharing memories can be a beautiful way to honor them. Whether it’s with a close friend, family members, or in an online support group, speaking about your feelings can be therapeutic.
  • Seek Support: Joining support groups can be incredibly helpful. Being around others who have experienced a similar loss can provide comfort and understanding. Online support groups are also available, offering a platform to connect with surviving siblings from all over the world.
  • Celebrate Their Life: Find ways to honor your sibling’s memory. This could be through a personal ritual, a memorial, or by continuing a project or cause that was important to them.
  • Take Care of Yourself: Grieving can be exhausting. Remember to look after your physical and mental health. This might include grief therapy, which can provide professional guidance tailored to your needs.
  • Explore Grief Resources: Consider resources like the Grief Works app. Inspired by Julia Samuel’s bestselling book, this app offers structured courses and a community for support, specifically designed to help those grieving the loss of a sibling or other loved ones.

The Role of Grief Therapy

Grief therapy can be an important part of the healing process. Therapists who specialize in grief can help you navigate the complex emotions that come with losing a sibling. They can provide you with tools to manage your grief and help you understand and process your emotions in a healthy way.

Remembering your sibling is a crucial part of the grieving process. It keeps their memory alive and helps you to process your loss. Share stories about them, look at old photos, and remember the good times as well as the bad. This can be a source of comfort and a way to keep their spirit alive.

It’s not uncommon to feel guilty after a sibling’s death, especially if sibling relationships had their ups and downs. You might feel guilty for things said or not said, for being the one who is still alive, or for finding moments of happiness amidst your grief. It’s important to recognize these feelings but also to understand that guilt is a normal part of grieving. Talking about these feelings in a support group or with a therapist can be particularly helpful.


Losing a sibling is a profound and life-changing experience. The path of grieving the death of a sibling is deeply personal and can be full of unexpected emotions and challenges. Remember, it’s okay to seek help, to talk about your feelings, and to take your time to heal. Whether it’s through joining support groups, engaging in grief therapy, or using resources like the Grief Works app, know that you’re not alone in your journey. Your brother or sister will always be a part of who you are, and honoring their memory is a part of honoring yourself.

Remember, in the journey of sibling grief, it’s not about moving on, but moving forward with their memory as a part of your life.