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Bereaved Parents
Awareness Month

Bereaved Spouses
Awareness Month

Bereaved Siblings
Awareness Month

Reaching Out to
Help the Bereaved

Grief Articles
and Links

Grief Support Help
for the Bereaved

Conferences

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

November is Worldwide
Bereaved Siblings
Awareness Month

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This page is for people who would like to help the bereaved. But it can also help the bereaved directly by retrieving and sharing information from this site.

Here is the month description as it appears in annual press releases:
The Bereaved Siblings Awareness Month's purpose is to promote support for bereaved siblings. Often people don't know what to say to or do for grieving siblings. So sometimes, they turn away and do nothing. We encourage people to turn back and begin to reach out to bereaved siblings by giving them someone who will listen to them without advising them; a shoulder to cry on; and a hug when appropriate and needed. Basically, we want to inspire people to "be there" for the bereaved. For current national and international conference information and other helpful material, go to www.BereavementAwareness.com and click on Bereaved Siblings Awareness Month. For assistance, contact Bereavement Awareness Month Coordinators Peter and Deb Kulkkula, 381 Billings Road, Fitchburg, MA 01420-1407, or at Help@BereavementAwareness.com, or at 1-978-343-4009.

Remember to reach out to the bereaved so they won't have to grieve alone!

Interested in helping the bereaved?
If you are interested in helping bereaved parents and their families, you may attend a conference or a support group where you'll will find seminars about helping the bereaved. For more information about this, you can click on
ARTICLES/LINKS. You can go to HELP or we can send you an electronic copy of the "Reaching Out to Help the Bereaved" pamphlet for free or mail you some helpful information including this pamphlet for $5.00. You may email us at Help@BereavementAwareness.com for the electronic copy. Or mail your $5.00 check made out to Rising Star Speakers with your request to Bereaved Parents Awareness Month Coordinators Peter and Deb Kulkkula, 381 Billings Road, Fitchburg, MA 01420-1407.

Grieving Siblings Coping with the Death of a Sibling ......................Yahoo!Voices

The loss of loved ones always hurts, and there is always a grieving process that the survivors of that loved one must go through. However, through my personal grieving experience, I have found that siblings have fewer grieving resources and seem to be a neglected group of grievers, usually becoming secondary grievers to parents.
Sibling relationships play extremely important roles in our lives, especially in today's world, where we are more likely to grow up with siblings than with a father. Also, with divorce rates soaring, it has been found that children that come from divorced families tend to depend on and need their siblings more than children who come from families where the parent's have a good relationship.

The sibling relationship is the longest relationship we will experience in life. Depending on where you fall in birth order, you either grow up always having your older siblings in your life, never knowing what it's like with out them, or you will know your younger siblings from their very first breath. These relationships shape us and make us the people we become. Growing together with your siblings you will experience more life experiences with them than any other relationship you have and you discover the similarities you share and the unique differences between you. Usually, one sibling's strength is the other's weakness, and they learn to work together using their differences to create wholeness in each other.

When a sibling passes, the surviving siblings tend to experience a loss of self. When you know someone from birth, your identity is based on having them there. When they pass away, the strengths that the deceased sibling lent to the surviving siblings are gone and they must learn how to continue with out those strengths or find them within themselves. They must continue with their life and move toward the future even though they have lost a big part of that future when they lost their sibling. Usually, most events, including births, holidays, weddings, etc. forever after are bittersweet.

Siblings sometime don't feel validated in their grief. Some outsiders will understand the parent's grief, but expect the siblings to "get over" the death quickly. Surviving siblings also deal with a change in their relationship with their parents, usually feeling that they have also lost their parents in some ways. They usually feel sadness for their parents and will try to protect their parents or try to fill in some of the rolls that the lost sibling used to fill. Depending on age, if the sibling that passed and the surviving siblings are young, the surviving siblings may feel different from their peers and alone, which will often lead to some from of depression.

Dealing with the death of a sibling can be very difficult, especially with out help. If you or someone you know is grieving the loss of sibling, remember it takes time to heal, and the pain doesn't go away. However, with support, surviving siblings can grow through the grieving process and come out on the other side with a better understanding of themselves and the roll they play in their family.

For help:
http://www.adultsiblinggrief.com/about.htm
http://counselingstlouis.net/
http://dying.lovetoknow.com/Adults_Grieving_the_Death_of_a_Sibling

Helping Bereaved Siblings Heal
by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D. found on http://www.griefwords.com

Next to the death of a parent, the death of a sibling can be the most traumatic event in a child's life. Why? Because not only has a family member died, but a family member for whom the child probably had very strong and ambivalent feelings.

As those of us who have brothers and sisters know, sibling relationships are characterized by anger, jealousy and a fierce closeness and love-a highly complex melange of emotion. This complexity colors the surviving child's grief experience.

A Caring Adult's Role

How adults respond when someone loved dies has a major effect on the way children react to the death. Sometimes, adults don't want to talk abut the death because they want to spare children from some of the pain and sadness.

And for the same well-intentioned but misguided reason, adults hide their own feelings of grief from children.

What bereaved siblings really need is for adults to be open and honest with them about the death. They need to see that grief is as natural a part of life as loving. Children need adults to confirm that it's all right to be sad and to cry, and that the hurt they feel now won't last forever.

When ignored, bereaved siblings may suffer more from feeling isolated than from the actual death itself. Worse yet, they may feel all alone in their grief.

What A Surviving Sibling Feels

Each person's grief is unique and changes from day to day. So, it is impossible to predict what a specific child will feel after her brother or sister dies. If you want to help, the most important thing you can do is to listen and to accept any and all feelings the surviving sibling expresses.

However, I have had the privilege to counsel hundreds of bereaved siblings. Among many other special lessons, they have taught me they often feel:

" Guilt. For a number of reasons, bereaved siblings often feel guilty. Their power of "magical thinking"-believing that thoughts cause actions-might make them think they literally caused the death. "John died because I sometimes wished he would go away forever" is a common response among children who haven't been given the concrete details of the sibling's death and who haven't been assured that they were not at fault.

" Relief. A child may also feel relief as well as pain when a sibling dies. Responses such as "Now no one will take my things" or "I'm glad I have a room to myself" are natural and do not mean the child didn't love his or her sibling. It is important that you provide an atmosphere in which the child feels safe to express whatever he or she may be feeling.

" Fear. When a child's brother or sister dies, another young person has died. So, for a child, confronting this reality can mean confronting the possibility of one's own death. Be prepared to honestly but reassuringly answer questions such as "Will I die, too?" The death of a sibling can also make a bereaved child fear that one or all of his other family members will die, too, leaving him alone.

" Confusion. One eight-year-old girl I counseled after the death of her brother asked me, "Am I still a big sister?" This little girl was obviously struggling with the confusing task of redefining herself, both within the family unit and the world at large. The answer to her question, of course, is both yes and no, but ultimately it is a question the child must answer herself. Adults can help, however, by letting the child teach them what this confusion is like.

Siblings Can Be "Forgotten Mourners"

When a child dies, most of the grief support from family members and friends gets focused on the parents. Indeed, losing a child may be the most painful experience in life, and those of us who are parents readily empathize with and offer our support to the dead child's parents. And the parents themselves are often so overwhelmed by their loss that they can barely help themselves get through the day.

So what about the surviving siblings? Though we can't quantify grief, we can say that siblings are often as profoundly impacted by the death as their parents are. And in some ways they are even more deserving of our attention because they are children.

Let's not allow bereaved siblings to be forgotten mourners. If you are a bereaved parent, share your grief with your surviving children and make time to understand theirs. If you just can't make yourself emotionally available right now, gently explain this to the child and appoint another adult as grief helper for the time being.

Allow Siblings to Participate

Create an atmosphere that tells bereaved children that their thoughts, fears and wishes will be recognized. This recognition includes the right to help plan and participate in the funeral.

Although children may not completely understand the ceremony surrounding the death, being involved in the funeral helps establish a sense of comfort and the understanding that life goes on even though someone has died.

Since the funeral is a significant event, siblings-no matter how young-should have the same opportunity to attend as any other member of the family. Encourage, but never force. Explain the purpose of the funeral: a time to honor the person who died, a time to support each other, a time to affirm that life goes on.

When they choose to, siblings can participate in the funeral by sharing a favorite memory, reading a poem or lighting a candle. You might also suggest they place a momento or photo in the casket.

For siblings, viewing the body of the brother or sister who died can also be a positive experience. It provides an opportunity to say goodbye and helps them accept the reality of the death. As with attending the funeral, however, seeing the body should not be forced.

Talking To Children About Death

Adults sometimes have trouble facing death themselves. So open, honest discussions with children about death can be difficult. Yet adults who are able to confront, explore and learn from their own personal fears about death can help surviving siblings.

Encouraging questions about the death is another way to help bereaved siblings. Children may repeat the same questions over and over again. This is natural. Repetition and consistent, patient answers on your part help the sibling understand and slowly accept the death.

One final word about children's questions: Don't feel you need to have all the answers. Your answers aren't as important as the fact that you're responding in a way that shows you care.

Let Children Be Children

Children need to be children-especially when they are hurting. Never tell a surviving sibling, "You need to take care of your mom and dad (or younger siblings) now." When you force a bereaved child to grow up too soon, you don't allow him the time and space he needs to mourn in his own developmentally appropriate way.

Help Siblings Embrace Their Memories

When a sibling dies, the surviving children must go through the long, arduous process of realizing and acknowledging that their brother or sister is gone forever. The permanence of death is difficult for everyone, even adults, to accept.
Thank goodness for memories. Remembering the child who died is an appropriate way for the sibling to continue that precious relationship. Encourage her to talk about her memories, both good and bad. Show her ways to capture her memories, such as by creating a scrapbook or writing a poem. On special occasions like birthdays and holidays, help her remember what it was like to celebrate with her brother or sister. Remembering the past makes hoping for the future possible


Guidelines for Helping Grieving Children

" Be a good observer. A bereaved child's behavior can be very telling about her emotions.
" Be patient. Children's grief isn't typically obvious and immediate.
" Be honest. Don't lie to children about death. They need to know that it's permanent and irreversible. Don't use euphemisms that cloud these facts. Use simple and direct language.
" Be available. Bereaved children need to know that they can count on the adults in their lives to listen to them, support them and love them.
" Listen. Let each child teach you what grief is like for him. And don't rush in with explanations. Usually it's more helpful to ask exploring questions than to supply cookie-cutter answers.

About the Author

Dr. Alan D. Wolfelt is a noted author, educator and practicing grief counselor. He serves as Director of the Center for Loss and Life Transition in Fort Collins, Colorado and presents dozens of grief-related workshops each year across North America. Among his books are Healing Your Grieving Heart: 100 Practical Ideas and The Healing Your Grieving Heart Journal for Teens. For more information, write or call The Center for Loss and Life Transition, 3735 Broken Bow Road, Fort Collins, Colorado 80526, (970) 226-6050 or visit their website, www.centerforloss.com.


"Thank you for reaching out to the bereaved!"

Need more help?
If you are a bereaved person or
someone wanting to help a bereaved person,
we can help.
For more information,
contact Peter or Deb at 1-978-343-4009,
Help@BereavementAwareness.com.
You can also write to us at Peter and Deb Kulkkula,
381 Billings Road, Fitchburg, MA 01420-1407
.
If we can't help you, we'll connect you with someone who can.

Bereavement Spokesperson Deb Kulkkula
Bereaved Parent
, Inspirational Writer and Speaker and
Bereavement Spokesperson Peter Kulkkula
Bereaved Parent, Bereaved Sibling, American Adventurer

Although we have no bereavement degrees, we have lost two children,
my husband lost his brother, and my sister, mother, and neice lost their husbands.
We worked with and led our local chapter o
The Compassionate Friends (for bereaved parents and their families)
for many years after the organization helped us.

I edited newsletters, wrote articles,
and was the education chair of the 2005 Annual TCF Conference.
We are very grateful to The Compassionate Friends.

At the same time, Deb lead a group of writers.
They first wrote a brochure entitled

"Reaching Out
to Help the Bereaved"
Lovingly Written by
Jane K. Andrews - in loving memory of Peter John Kulkkula,
Bonny Caisse - in loving memory of Jared James Caisse,
Anne M. Dionne - in loving memory of Michael S. Dionne,
Deborah L. Kulkkula -in loving memory of Peter John Kulkkula,
Jane Maki - in loving memory of Christopher L. Maki.
Lovingly Designed and Compiled by
Deborah L. Kulkkula - in loving memory of Peter John Kulkkula.
Lovingly Created Artwork in the hard copy by
Kelly A. Dionne - in loving memory of Michael S. Dionne
We appreciate your loving attention to this brochure.

Then,
co-wrote a book entitled
Every Step of the Way: How four mothers coped with child loss
with Yvonne Lancaster, Anne Dionne, Jane Maki.
Thank you: Yvonne, Anne, and Jane.

We are both dedicated to helping the bereaved.
Since 2008, we have been sponsoring bereavement months
to show the general public how to reach out and help the bereaved,
support the newly bereaved,
and to connect the newly bereaved with a helpful organization.

Site designed by Deb Kulkkula
Donated by Rising Star Speakers and Peter and Deb Kulkkula
In loving memory of Peter John Kulkkula, Quy Dan Ha Vo
,
David Lydon, Harold F. LeBouf, Elma & Ansu Kulkkula
©2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2913 Rising Star Publishing
For more information,contact
Deb Kulkkula, M Ed, M B A, Hon Ph D
381 Billings Road, Fitchburg, MA 01420-1407.
Help@BereavementAwareness.com
or at 1-978-343-4009.