how-to-support-your-sibling-during-grief

4 minute read

How to Support Your Sibling While They are Grieving

Use these 5 tips to help support your sibling while the grieve the death of a loved one.

When it comes to familial bonds, there are perhaps none more uniquely interconnected than siblings. Siblings are often the only other people in the whole world raised just like you were, by the same people, with the same set of circumstances. You know them—deeply, and in a way that no one else can.

So when the unthinkable happens in your sibling's life, no one is equipped to help see them through it quite like you are. After all, you've seen them go through some of life's most pivotal moments. You know how they react to stress and overwhelm. You likely understand their coping mechanisms—the good and not-so-good—that they may exhibit when times are toughest.

When we experience the death of a loved one, we really need the support of those who love us most. But it can be difficult to know how to show up for your sibling in times of grief. For many, our first inclination when something—or someone—is broken is to try to fix it. But the death of a loved one is a loss that no one can mend. No one can take that pain away for someone else.

So, when your sibling is navigating through the grief process, how can you possibly support them through something impossible to fix? This article will explore 5 Ways to Support Your Sibling During Grief, which will include how to:

  1. Show up

  2. Do the chores

  3. Be a good listener

  4. Give them a break

  5. Love them in your own, unique way

Our guide will also discuss the importance of having a plan for the future and how a Trust & Will should be part of that plan.

5 Ways to Support Your Sibling During Grief

Experiencing the loss of a loved one is one of the hardest things anyone will have to go through. Trust & Will, the most trusted name in online Estate Planning, is here to help your family navigate their loss and grief. Here are five ways you can support your sibling during grief.

1. Show up 

Some people may be surprised to find out that the easiest and most effective way to support anyone while they are grieving is to show up. Be there for them. Meet them where they are at, whether you're sharing a cup of coffee on the porch, taking a walk around the neighborhood, or just sitting next to them on the couch.

No one wants to feel like they are all alone in the world, but grief can be isolating. It can make us feel like we are on a raft by ourselves in the middle of a dark ocean. When you show up for someone grieving, it can feel like giving them a lighthouse, safely showing them the way back to themselves, their lives, and the people who love them most.

2. Do the chores

People in the throes of grief aren't going to do the dishes. Or the laundry. And they're definitely not going to do the grocery shopping or put together healthy, nutritious meals for their families.

A great way to support someone grieving is to take things off their proverbial plate—by putting something on their actual plate. When doing your weekly grocery shopping, call your sibling and ask if there is anything that you can bring them. If you know they haven't left the house in a while, pick them up some staples and a few treats you know they love.

Laundry tends to build up even in the best of circumstances. Take a load off your sibling, literally, by running the washing machine for them. When helping someone grief-stricken with chores, it's important to follow through and complete the entire job. If you're taking on the laundry, remember that includes washing, drying, folding, and putting everything away.

3. Be a good listener

Grief comes in waves. It doesn't have a timeline, and it doesn't follow anyone's schedule. Sometimes when the need to talk arises, it's 2:00 PM on a Saturday, and all you have is time to sit and to listen. But, more often than not, grief shows up at 3:00 AM before a busy day at work. Those may be the times when your brother or sister needs your time and attention the most.

When someone is grieving, they may not think to reach out when they really need someone. They may even feel like an imposition if it's an inopportune time. Make sure your sibling knows that it's always okay to reach out to you when they need to talk—even if it's the middle of the night and you have to get up in the morning.

4. Give them a break 

Grief can be an all-consuming process. But just because you're grieving doesn't mean that life comes to a stop, waiting until you feel better.  Immediately following the death of a loved one, the surviving family member(s) will have to quickly execute many difficult decisions such as how to handle their loved one’s remains. There will be many legal papers to sign, often on the very same day as the death. The days that follow can be equally stressful as your sibling may be bombarded with more legal paperwork as well as funeral or memorial arrangements. The barrage of activity that follows the death of a loved one can be shockingly overwhelming to someone who is also trying to come to grips with their loss and grief. 

Do what you can to minimize your sibling's responsibilities and workload. If you have nieces or nephews, take them out for a day, a night away, or for a weekend slumber party at your house so that your sibling can have a break and some much-needed time to themselves. This will allow them to relax, get some work done if they have fallen behind on something, or even have a good cry in peace.

5. Love them in your own, unique way 

Growing up, siblings form a bond like no other. Some create secret languages only they can understand, while others share the same comfort shows, movies, books, or meals.

When your sibling is grieving, those nostalgic comforts from childhood can help lift their spirits. If you grew up looking forward to a favorite dinner each week, make it again and bring it over. If you used to stay up all night watching movies, choose a few that you remember your sibling loving and pick up a tub of ice cream on the way. Nothing will take away their pain, but for two hours, they can transport to a simpler time with you there by their side.

Losing a loved one is one of the hardest things anyone will go through, but we will all go through it. The best thing we can do as mere mortals is to prepare for it, for our sake and that of our family.

Plan for the Future with Trust & Will

Trust & Will, an industry leader in online estate planning, makes preparing for the future simpler than ever by letting you create a Will online in less than 10 minutes. Grieving is difficult enough. With a Will or Trust-Based Estate Plan from Trust & Will, you can prepare for the future and gain the peace of mind that comes in knowing that your family will not be left with the added stress and confusion that comes with not having an estate plan in place. Get started today!

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