The Empty Room: Understanding Sibling Loss

Elizabeth DeVita-Raeburn’s book, The Empty Room: Understanding Sibling Loss, is available at

Elizabeth DeVita-Raeburn

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Elizabeth DeVita-Raeburn is the author of The Empty Room: Surviving Sibling Loss, a memoir and journalistic exploration of sibling loss. Her brother, Ted, suffered from a rare immune deficiency disorder and spent 8 years in an isolation room behind a plastic curtain before he died. He was one of two boys upon whom the movie “The Boy in the Plastic Bubble” was based. She is a contributing writer for More magazine, and has also written for Self, Discover, Psychology Today and Harper’s Bazaar, among other publications. Elizabeth is currently working on a new book, The Death of Cancer, with her father, Dr. Vincent T. DeVita. She lives in New York City with her husband, writer Paul Raeburn, and her son, Henry. To learn more about Elizabeth and her work go to: or visit her blog: Elizabeth appeared on the radio show “Healing the Grieving Heart” discussing the Death of a Sibling. To hear her interviewed by Dr. Gloria & Dr. Heidi Horsley, click on the following link:


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  • This book is hands down the best book out there on sibling loss. Elizabeth captures on every page the uniqueness of losing a sibling, with her in depth interviews of 77 siblings. This book reads like a novel, I wanted to underline everyword because I felt like my experience with sibling loss was finally acknowledged, validated, and understood!

  • Ruth Kalter, Psy.D. says:

    I’ve only read what is available on the “Look Inside” feature at Amazon but I am so taken with the writing that I ordered it right away and hope I will still have the courage to write the book on Sister Loss that I’ve been thinking of writing. I’ve lost all three of my sisters, one after another, to different kinds of cancer. Elizabeth names right off the bat that identification we have with our siblings that left me feeling, when my last sister died, like I didn’t know who I was. Without any of them left, how can I be me?

    I have been coaching people in recovery from grief and loss for the last 5 years, even before my last two sisters died. I am so eager to read this book – it will be a great addition to my personal and client resources!