When my only brother died after a brief illness at the age of 43, my initial response was to search for information that would help me to make sense out of such a terrible loss. Like most of the surviving siblings who visit this site, I felt a special need to connect with other surviving siblings who might understand my grief. Perhaps they could offer me some insight, some comfort, some practical advice that would help me through those first difficult weeks and months. I wanted to know: How had they survived this?
Although I located countless books, articles, and self-help tapes available to aid the bereaved in coping with the death of a parent, spouse, child, and even pet, I was amazed to find that there was virtually nothing written on the subject of adult sibling grief. Why was there nothing written by the so-called grief experts, to help the roughly 4.2 million surviving adult siblings cope with such a difficult loss?
I soon reached the conclusion that adult sibling bereavement is what psychologists call a disenfranchised loss, which in simple terms means that society fails to classify our mourning as legitimate loss. After all, when an adult sibling dies, he or she often leaves behind parents, a spouse, and even children—all of whom suffer a more socially recognized type of loss—while surviving adult siblings stand in the shadows, often feeling as if our grief is somehow unwarranted.
Together with this website and my book, Surviving the Death of a Sibling: Living Through Grief When an Adult Brother or Sister Dies, I hope to offer comfort, support, and practical advice to those who have lost an adult sibling.
A Message of Welcome and Thanks
Welcome to all those who visit this site in search of information and solace. It is my hope that you find both here. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the many surviving siblings who have visited this special place. The message board has become a healing space where surviving siblings gather to exchange ideas and offer comfort. I understand that many new friendships have grown out of this unique community of sharing. In addition to the message board, many surviving siblings have chosen to honor their deceased brother or sister through on-line memorials; these tributes are moving, heartfelt reminders of the enduring connection we have to our brothers and sisters.
I’d like to offer a special thanks to all the surviving siblings who have contributed to my book; your personal stories have helped to reinforce my belief that our special type of bereavement needs recognition.
I’d like to also thank those siblings who have taken the time to write to me. Your letters of gratitude and encouragement have meant a great deal to me, both in my personal journey of grief and in my ability to help others. Each story, each unique sibling relationship offers me the opportunity to continue to learn, grow, and to help others.
Finally, I’d like to thank my Webmaster, Dave Castiglioni, whose talent and dedication to this project have helped to make this website a reality.
To all who enter this site, I wish you peace.
About the Author
Dr. T.J. Wray is an adult sibling survivor and an Associate Professor of Religious and Theological Studies at Salve Regina University. She is the creator of www.adultsiblinggrief.com and the author of the best-selling book, Surviving the Death of a Sibling: Living Through Grief When an Adult Brother or Sister Dies as well as many other books and articles. An inspirational, dynamic public speaker, she has spoken before a variety of groups, both nationally and internationally. She has appeared on numerous radio talk shows across the country, including NPR, and has been featured on various television programs, including the History Channel. To learn more about Dr. Wray or to engage her services as a guest speaker, please, visit www.tjwray.com