'Losing a sibling changes you forever' - the forgotten bereaved brothers and sisters

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Illustration. (Getty Images)
Illustration. (Getty Images)

When your sibling dies it's common to feel that you're all alone. Your brother or sister - who shares your family memories and was supposed to go through life with you - is no longer there.

Losing a brother or sister is considered to be one of the most difficult kinds of grief, says Maree Arkell, the facilitator of The Compassionate Friends sibling support group in Sydney. However, with most of the focus on the bereaved parents, siblings can find they're ignored.

"Siblings are often referred to as the forgotten mourners," she says. "Sibling grief is under acknowledged - you have the funeral and after that you're expected to move on. Siblings are often overlooked because they're perceived as the strong ones who hold it together. And I know a lot of siblings do step in and parent their parents.

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