At the annual ADEC (Association of Death Education and Counseling), I spoke with Stephen Stott about the loss of his sister and how eventually he found peace and hope with new friends and The Compassionate Friends organization.

Stephen lost his sister in a car accident in 2002. His mother started going to The Compassionate Friends shortly after, but it wasn’t until a few years had passed before Stephen felt comfortable enough to go.

The experience ended up being great, but it’s nervous going somewhere for the first time with no idea of what to expect. In the video below, Stephen helps get everyone acquainted with The Compassionate Friends organization.

Here are some key takeaways from the video:

  • It’s helpful to be around other people who have experienced loss and understand the situation you’re in.
  • When you lose someone you love, your relationships with everyone inevitably change. Stephen recommends going to a group like The Compassionate Friends because it’s possible they will be able to understand you on a deeper level than your friends do because they have been through something similar.
  • How do you get your kids involved with The Compassionate Friends? Stephen recommends bringing them and see how they take to it. When Stephen first went he says he hung out with himself a lot before eventually making friends and becoming part of the group.
  • Stephen feels that sibling loss is different from other kinds of loss due to how close in age siblings tend to be. When growing up with your sibling you expect to die around the same time, so when you lose a sibling everything changes.
  • Stephen also suggests that parents need to realize children all grieve in their own way. Help them when they need it, not when you feel that your children need the help.

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.

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