“To lose a sibling is to lose the one person with whom one shares a lifelong bond that is meant to continue on into the future.”

— John Corey Whaley

Sibling Loss is a Disenfranchised Loss

“Siblings may be ambivalent about their relationships in life, but in death the power of their bond strangles the surviving heart. Death reminds us that we are part of the same river, the same flow from the same source, rushing towards the same destiny. Were you close? Yes, but we didn’t know it then.” — Barbara Ascher

Siblings

It’s a bit odd that sibling loss is  not discussed more. 80-88% of  people across the world have siblings.  The relationship with siblings is supposed to be the longest one in our lives (from birth or childhood until old age). And, sibling relationships become more important as people age as siblings are often taking care of and mourning parents together, as marriages or other relationships fail, as children grow up, and as siblings become widowed, divorced, etc.

While the quality of those relationships vary and have been study, the fact remains that it is most likely at least one sibling will outlive their siblings. Yet, sibling grief and loss is a misunderstood concept for adults who have lost a sibling.

Sibling Loss

As such, siblings often feel misunderstood or invalidated in their losses of their sibling and so many secondary losses resulting from the loss of the sibling. We are working to change that while also supporting the many grieving siblings around the world.

Disenfranchised Grievers or Disenfranchised Loss

Sibling loss is often referred to as disenfranchised loss and sibling loss survivors are often called disenfranchised grievers. What does that mean?

What Disenfranchised Loss is:

Disenfranchised grief was first described by Dr. Ken Doka in 1989. According to Dr. Doka, it is grief that isn’t recognized, not able to be mourned publicly, or supported socially. Disenfranchised grievers are those who do not have the perceived right to grieve. Siblings are often not supported by others in their grief and are told to focus on the grief of their parents (if they are living) or on their sibling’s kids or partner. Others often unwittingly don’t realize siblings even grieve or mourn their siblings, invalidating the loss or the impact it has on a grieving sibling.

What it is not:

It is not just forgotten, merely unnoticed, or hidden in some way. So, while grieving siblings are sometimes called “Forgotten Mourners,” this idoes not really align with Dr. Ken Doka’s conceptualization of disenfranchised grief. 

How are sibling loss survivors disenfranchised?

Originally, Dr. Doka described three ways that grief or grievers can be disenfranchised. He has since expanded the concept to include five ways.  Let’s look at these from a sibling loss perspective.

The first type is when the relationship isn’t recognized. Usually the sibling relationship is recognized. However, in sibling grief can be disenfranchised if the relationship is estranged or if the sibling is a step- or half- sibling. There are other ways this could be unrecognized. The second type is the loss isn’t recognized. In most cases, sibling loss doesn’t fit neatly here as the loss is recognized as a loss itself but it falls more under the third type of loss, when the griever isn’t recognized. This type is where siblings are asked how their parents, the kids, the partners, etc. are doing but  are not seen as grievers.

Dr. Doka added two other types of disenfranchisement to these original three. The fourth type is when there is stigma attached to the death often because of circumstances of or way someone died such as suicide or addiction. For many sibling loss survivors this also fits. This type makes seeking help difficult as the circumstances or associated stigma may complicate perceptions, biases, & interactions – even with some helping professionals. It also includes exploration of emotions and reactions that are not aligned with what society expects. For example, relief, peace, anger…

Lastly, the fifth type of disenfranchised grief is when the griever’s grief process doesn’t align with the norms of their society or culture. 

In any of these cases, bereaved siblings who are disenfranchised grievers for one reason or another quite often experience significant impact of their disenfranchisementon their well-being. The impact may be long term and may result in unresolved emotions, isolation, guilt & shame, feelings of invisibility, avoidance or suppression of grief, depression, and/or anxiety. They may have difficulty incorporating their loss into life.


If you feel disenfranchised in your sibling loss, The Broken Pack™ wants you to know that you aren’t alone and we recognize you, your loss, and your grief.

Be sure to check out our podcast to hear stories of other surviving sibling loss!

Check us out on Instagram!
From playing instruments to our varied likes of music to our dad playing classical music on every car ride, music accompanies so many of my childhood memories of my brother. how about you?
Depending on our moods or other experiences, those same memories can be bittersweet and the quality of them can change as our relationship to the memories changes. It’s much like what happens in first Inside Out movie. (please refrain from movie spoilers for the sequel.) Learning to move with and live with grief means we learn to shift and adapt the narratives of our life to be able to keep going. It is hard work! It involves our past, present, and future- all the times our siblings were supposed to be with us. DM me if you want to know more!
#siblingloss #griefsupport #siblinggrief #thebrokenpack #lifeafterloss #griefjourney #childhoodmemories
Grief changes us. We will never be the same. When the loss floors us like many losses including #siblingloss, it can take some time to navigate back to functioning at all. This conversation with Jenn is a reminder that with yourself and others, be gentle. Be kind. Be compassionate. 
🎧💔 @jennoglesbee 
#TheBrokenPack #grief #siblinggrief #loss #siblingloss #podcast Listen now! Links in bio. 
Let’s #normalizegrief !
#siblingloss #griefsupport #lifeafterloss #disenfranchisedgrief #siblinglosssupport #siblinglosssurvivor #survivingsibling #siblingsurvivor #bereavedsibling #grief
It’s ok to be whatever you are in grief! Sometimes that is okay, sometimes it’s “not okay, “, and sometimes it’s a range of emotions or in others an absence of awareness of them. Let’s talk about how it’s ok to even be angry at our siblings for leaving us a lot of “stuff” to deal with that they should be with us to do or to support us in. Several guests and our host, Dr. Angela Dean, have shared these sentiments. Listen to this episode to hear how Dr. Parul Dua Makkah has managed the range of grief responses (emotional, cognitive, physical, spiritual) and how losing Manu has changed her and her work. Links in bio.  ##TheBrokenPack #grief #siblinggrief #loss #siblingloss #podcast #sibling #thanatology Listen now! Links in bio. 
Let’s #normalizegrief!
So often #bereavedsiblings put off or minimize their own grief in support of their parents. In this episode, author and history professor, Nico Slate, PhD shares his powerful story about #sibling grief, his delayed grief, and the impact race had on their relationship, his career, Peter’s death, and his grieving. 🎧💔
#TheBrokenPack #grief #siblinggrief #loss #siblingloss #podcast Listen now, and read his book, Brothers, published by @templeuniversitypress. Links in bio.
That “grief fog” isn’t just in your head. It’s your body’s natural response to overwhelming loss, impacting your ability to focus, think clearly, and regulate emotions. This is your brain and nervous system working hard to protect you, even though it might not feel like it.
#grief #siblingloss #lifeafterloss #griefsupport #thebrokenpack #siblingsurvivor
* that should say blanket roof and pillow or furniture walls… but whatever. Tony would certainly have corrected me 🤣When a sibling dies, a piece of our childhood, our identity, and our shared history dies with them learning to live after they gone is such difficult work. Moving with our grief can feel like we are leaving them behind, fading in the past. But not doing so makes us feel stuck. It’s such a dilemma. #siblingloss #griefsupport #siblinggrief #thebrokenpack #lifeafterloss #griefjourney #childhoodmemories #sibling #grief #disenfranchisedgrief #thanatology #psychologist
When others’ sibling stories, whether joyful, frustrating, or mundane, echo with the silence of your loss, the nagging envy you feel is valid. Let’s break the silence around sibling loss and the complex emotions it brings. #siblingloss #griefsupport #siblinggrief #thebrokenpack #lifeafterloss
There is no timeline on grief! And so often it comes out in anxiety or need for control. Let’s normalize that. 
#grief #siblingloss #love #loss #griefsupport  #bereavement #thanatology #psychology #disenfranchisedgrief #siblinglosssupport #siblinglosssurvivor #survivingsibling #siblingsurvivor #bereavedsibling  Let’s #normalizegrief
A shared childhood contributed to our sense of self in relationship to our sibling. Their death changes how we perceive and think about our ongoing narrative - and even our identity.  Listen to this heartbreaking story to hear how much Sasha and Amy connected through growing up and sharing a room. Losing Amy has challenged her Sasha’s sense of self. 
CONTENT WARNING: Discussion of Suicide
This episode delves into the complex topic of suicide and may be upsetting to some people. If you or someone you know is struggling, please reach out for help.
U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 988
For international resources, please check our bio link or the links in the show notes for the episode.
#suicideprevention 
#siblinglosscommunity #griefsupport #siblingloss  #bereavement  #siblingdeath #griefjourney #podcast #sibling #siblinglosssupport #siblinglosssurvivor #survivingsibling #siblingsurvivor #bereavedsibling #psychologist #survivingsiblings #thebrokenpack #buzzsprout #grief
We can grieve alone, but it’s so much easier to be connected and to find support in it. That’s why The Broken Pack ™ exists.
#siblinglosscommunity #griefsupport #siblingloss  #bereavement  #siblingdeath #griefjourney #podcast #sibling #siblinglosssupport #siblinglosssurvivor #survivingsibling #siblingsurvivor #bereavedsibling #psychologist #survivingsiblings #thebrokenpack #buzzsprout #grief
💕Father’s day can be tough for grieving siblings for so many reasons. Take good care today. #siblinoss #fathersday #grief #lifeafterloss
When I lost my brother, Tony, I lost my co-captain. The waves of grief still crash over me unexpectedly, but the memories of our shared journey bring solace and strength.
It’s both a comfort and a challenge to navigate life’s stormy seas without him. Some days, I struggle to find my bearings. In some moments regret, pain, sorrow are present. Other moments are filled with joy, gratitude , and laughter. But I know his memory is my guiding light, my compass through this storm.
To all who have lost a sibling, I see you regardless of whether or not you and your sibling were close. Let’s #normalizegrief, share our stories, and help each other navigate these uncharted waters.
#siblingloss #bereaved #griefsupport #lifeafterloss #sibling #siblinggrief #TheBrokenPack
This error message is only visible to WordPress admins
There has been a problem with your Instagram Feed.