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Webinar: Am I Still A Sibling?

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From Alan Pedersen, President, The Compassionate Friends:

A special hour-long webinar from the Open to Hope foundation, The Death of a Sibling features Alicia “Allie” Sims Franklin, LICSW and the big sister of Austin along with Tracy Milne, the big sister of Andrew. Both women lost a sibling and understand there’s a unique kind of lifelong loss that occurs in these situations. Dr. Heidi Horsley of the Open to Hope foundation and the President of The Compassionate Friends Alan Pedersen lead the discussion. Milne is also a member of The Compassionate Friends, serving as the Sibling Representative. Today, Franklin works as a grief counseling specialist, bringing her own personal experience to the table.

Franklin penned the book “Am I Still a Sibling?” after designing an award-winning self-help program for bereaved children. She began her speaking career at age 13, and leads workshops around the country. Milne was 15 when she lost her brother in a skateboarding accident, and today is serving her second term with The Compassionate Friends National Board of Directors. “One of the big pieces about having a sibling die is asking yourself, ‘Who am I now?’” How do you answer the simple question of how many brothers and sisters you have?

“I am still a sister”

For Milne, “I didn’t know what to do because I no longer had a sibling…it was a great foundation for Allie and I to connect on.” The two met several years ago, and re-defined who they were and their relationship with their brothers in a parallel structure. Franklin was four when her brother died, and recalls that young children in particular “have different understandings about death through different ages.” At a young age, the permanence of death isn’t fully understood.

Surviving siblings can often be forgotten in the mix, especially throughout the years. However, they share similar concerns. It’s important to “deal with leftover baggage” and understand that healing may never be complete. Children in particular face a fear that something else bad will happen, or that they’ll die themselves. They may not articulate this to family members, but it’s critical for everyone in mourning to practice safe ways to heal. Watch the entire webinar for advice, tips and recommendations: The Death of a Sibling

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Thank you, Marty, for this webinar and it's links. I have lost three of my siblings so I intend to watch this one. I still remember their special days and have not lost a connection with them. I miss them every day.

Both Dr. Heidi Horsley and Alan Pedersen are two people I admire for the work they do.


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I finally watched the webinar The Death of a Sibling from Open to Hope Foundation.

I thought this was a good webinar. It was interesting to hear how each grief affects so many future relationships and decisions of the surviving sibling.

The struggles of being alone and wondering what would the surviving sibling do if he/she was still here is constant.

As all siblings do, we fought and expressed jealousy, but I think we all knew that we loved each other. I had a favorite sister of my three siblings who died and sometimes I still feel guilty about that. It hurts today to know that our daughter doesn’t have those aunts and uncle to love her nor do my grandchildren know who grandma’s sisters and brother was. I talk about them and show pictures, but they are only memories.

I enjoyed hearing how both women talked about what they do to keep their siblings memories alive. I found it interesting to hear that many of my concerns were concerns of many who have lost a sibling. I still have some guilt about why I am here and my siblings aren’t.

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A loss of past, present, and future ~ this speaks to what it is like when you lose a sibling. It seems like the word guilt keeps coming up. Three of my siblings are dead. I still struggle with wondering why I was left here alone without siblings and parents.

Each death was unique and occurred at different times. My youngest sister was riddled with cancer and her life ended at an early age. My younger and only brother died after a long illness after a traumatic brain accident he incurred while serving in the Navy. My favorite (if you’re supposed to have a favorite) sister died after less than a week having been diagnosed with small cell carcinoma in her lungs.

Guilt comes with trying to figure out why not me?

I have dwelt with these losses and keep their memories alive by telling my daughter and grandchildren who my siblings were. I remember their birthdays and their special occasions. There is always sadness in my heart.

This article Adults Grieving the Death of a Sibling was featured in The Compassionate Friends website and was very helpful to me.

I am still a sibling.

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