Adult Sibling Loss – Stories and Reflections

Adult Sibling Loss – Stories and Reflections

Adult Sibling Loss – Stories and Reflections

Brenda Marshall





“He was my best friend.” “I feel like I’ve lost that one person I could always count on.” Siblings know each other in ways friends and other blood relatives do not. They have shared bedrooms, bathrooms, holidays, family milestones, meals, and a way of growing up that those outside the family can never fully understand. The bond is intense, complicated, sometimes difficult, often wonderful and absolutely irreplaceable. When death interrupts what might have been a lovely, lifelong connection, the impact is tremendous. And yet, this loss is rarely the focus of research and is not well understood or recognised within society, leaving many siblings searching for appropriate support and validation.

This book gives readers the opportunity to experience the intensity of this relationship through the eyes of three bereaved siblings. Their experiences, both before and after loss, are powerfully presented using a narrative style that allows the complexity and depth of their individual relationships to shine brightly. The author, a bereaved sibling herself, artfully weaves her story throughout, adding to the richness of the text. Through these collective stories, readers are invited to explore their own reactions and reflect on the many ways siblings affect each other over the long term. Bereaved siblings, clinicians, medical professionals, therapists, social workers, funeral directors, religious leaders, bereavement groups, and anyone who supports or knows a bereaved sibling will find benefit in this book. This highly readable text will both touch and inform readers.

Editorial Reviews

Brenda Marshall has given a much-needed voice to the experience of sibling death, one of the most important yet least understood losses today. The death of a sibling is all too often minimized, overlooked, and unacknowledged. This book does a beautiful job of weaving together interviews and research. It is a must read for bereaved siblings, professionals, or anyone who wants to gain a better understanding of the sibling experience. As a bereaved sibling myself, I found every page resonated with my experience. Writing as the most important kind of expert, someone who s been there, Dr. Marshall candidly discusses her own struggle to find hope again after the death of her beloved younger brother, Brent. Her recounting of interviews with other bereaved siblings is powerfully delivered and speaks to the resilience of the human spirit with messages of support, hope, and guidance. This book is a testament to that resilience and serves as a reminder that although our brothers and sisters are gone, the bond remains strong and the memories last a lifetime.

Heidi Horsley, PsyD, LMSW, Executive Director, Open to Hope Foundation, Adjunct Professor, Columbia University

One of the most disenfranchised losses is that of an adult sibling. While we are highly sensitive to the grief of a 10-year-old mourning his 12-year-old sister, we often forget the 40- or 50-year-old grieving a brother or sister. Yet the sibling relationship is one of the longest and most significant relationships we have. Thankfully, Brenda Marshall’s book Adult Sibling Loss: Stories, Reflections and Ripples reaffirms the importance of such a loss and validates the grief of siblings. Counselors, researchers, and grieving siblings will find much of value in this book.

Kenneth J. Doka, PhD, Professor, The College of New Rochelle, Senior Consultant, The Hospice Foundation of America

Brenda Marshall brings to life the integral role of siblings in one another s lives and the deep sorrow that can result when a brother or sister dies, particularly when they have shared a closeness of heart. Through the telling of her own poignant story, along with the stories of three other women, all in their mid-thirties to early forties, the author opens doors to understanding the struggle of coping with the deep and ongoing sadness of sibling bereavement. Reflecting on the meaning of the stories, and on the telling of them, she shares insights that will offer comfort to others whose dreams of growing old with their sibling have been shattered. –

Betty Davies, RN, PhD, FAAN, Professor Emeritus, University of California, San Francisco Professor and Senior Scholar, University of Victoria, Author, Shadows in the Sun: Experiences of Sibling Bereavement in Childhood

Other Reviews

Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles Book Review

YouTube Author Interview



Posted on

December 1, 2016