At the annual ADEC (Association of Death Education and Counseling), I spoke with Shavaun McGinty, an expert on sibling loss.

In the video below I talk to Shavaun about the loss of her three siblings, the effect it has had on her life, and how she went on to find hope after loss.

Here are some key takeaways from the video:

  • Shavaun was 25 when she lost her sister, who was 23. Shavaun was 42 when she experienced her most recent sibling loss 4 years ago.
  • Siblings can find hope again by passing on the legacy through talking about your siblings and keeping their memory alive.
  • Shavaun’s children never had the opportunity to meet any of her siblings, so she talks to her children all the time about the aunts and uncles they never got to meet.
  • Shavaun also has pictures of her siblings around the house, and makes an effort to keep her siblings a part of who she is.
  • There are certain keepsakes Shavaun keeps around her house, like a blanket for example, that have sentimental value because they belonged to her siblings at one point. With these keepsakes, Shavaun’s children have been able to form a connection with family members they never got to meet.

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

Heidi Horsley

Dr. Heidi Horsley is a licensed psychologist, social worker, and bereaved sibling. She co-hosts the award-winning weekly cable television show and podcast, Open to Hope. Dr. Heidi is an Adjunct Professor at Columbia University, and an award-winning author, who has co-authored eight books, and serves on the United Nations Global Mental Health Task Force. She also serves on the Advisory Boards for the Tragedy Assistance Program, the Elisabeth Kubler-Ross Foundation, and Peace of Mind Afghanistan. She served on the National Board of Directors for The Compassionate Friends, and for 10 yrs. worked on a Columbia University research study looking at traumatic loss over time in families who lost a firefighter in the World Trade Center.

More Articles Written by Heidi