Adult Sibling Loss: Interview with Dr. Brenda Marshall

At the annual ADEC (Association of Death Education and Counseling), I spoke with Dr. Brenda Marshall about adult sibling loss.

Brenda got into this field when her younger brother Brent died eight years ago. It was then that she realized there’s not very much support for siblings.

That realization called on her to ask the question “Why?” and “What can I do about it?”

I asked Brenda why she thinks people don’t understand how significant a sibling loss is. Hear Brenda’s response in the video below.

Here are some key takeaways from the video:

  • For one thing, a lot of people take their siblings for granted. You just expect your siblings to always be there, unlike your parents who you expect to die at some point.
  • When your siblings do die there is an assumption that, since you’re not in the home with them, that maybe it doesn’t hurt as much or that you’re not as impacted by it.
  • Brenda’s advice to siblings that are going through a loss is to acknowledge that your loss matters just as much as it would matter to anyone else.
  • Brenda also suggests to connect with other siblings, and solicit the help of support organizations like Open to Hope.
  • Brenda has written a book for those struggling with sibling loss, which is called “Adult Sibling Loss: Stories, Reflections and Ripples.” It’s available on Amazon and highly recommended reading.

For more video interviews, please see the Open To Hope YouTube channel.

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