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Needing a new perspective


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tomorrow will be one month that my mom suddenly passed away. Unlike my dad, this wasn't something we could have prepared for...sometimes I feel like I am swimming alone in a huge ocean and I just miss her so much.

What I am learning is that this grief is so much different than when I lost my dad. After losing dad-my mom and I had each other- I loved him dearly, but the shock of losing my mom, my best friend so suddenly- my last parent- well, it's been extremely hard.

The things that helped me during my grief over losing my dad, do not help me now. I am paddling my way thru this and most days it's sink or swim.

I am having difficulties with siblings who live out of state....and I don't know if it is thru my grief that I judge them, or if I am justified in my feelings and they are truly selfish and self-absorbed people who were not in my life before my mom passed away, so why allow them (the drama and nonsense) into my life now?

I just need to read some perspectives from others who are going thru grief and loss who have had difficulties with their siblings.

Thank you all in advance for your advice.


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There was a time I could say to you, "I know how you feel", now I can only say "I cant imagine how you must feel" now having lost both parents.

I know that everyone grieves differently. Could the problems with siblings be due to different ways of grieving. I know between my two sisters and I, we have different ways of coping.

After my father passed, I had a terrible time going back to their house. My sisters thought that was insensitive of me. Eventually I went to keep peace, but it was always sickening for me.

My grief still has a lot of anger because of my father only being 64; having fought lymphoma twice only to turn around and get lung cancer; only being a grandpa (which he loved being) for 11 years.

I hope Im making sense. What Im trying to say is different issues have come up between us because we are dealing with our grief differently. We have always been close, but still handle our sadness differently. Its not the same as you were describing, but I was wondering if how your siblings are grieving differently than you, could be contributing to the issues.

Im always thinking about you, my friend.


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I could go on and on about grief stuff, but wanted to make one comment that John (my BF) tells me all the time. We are caregivers to his mother. She lives with us, has dementia, incontinence, etc. He has 2 brothers and 2 sisters who have NEVER told me thank you and one sister has actually given us a ton of grief about finances. When I have to be around this sister, I feel so uncomfortable, angry, etc. John always tells me this

"The reward is not here on earth, but in heaven."

I guess I wanted to relay that to you Katie bc you can 100% know you were there for your parents and with your parents through so much good and some bad and regardless of what your siblings try to put you through, know that there is a reward awaiting you. It helps ease some of my anger and I hope it can for you too.

You done good, even if it feels so bad right now my friend.

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I felt I could chime in on this one because I do understand the sibling issue. If your issues are anything like mine, i think you have a right to be angry. I've been teaching myself (out of neccesity) new techniques to deal with these siblings and although they are difficult lessons, they do seem to be helping me. My dad passed away a few years ago and they weren't there for him, they weren't there to help my mom and they didn't care that everything fell on me. They started to pitch in a little more since mom was by herself but nothing near what I thought they should be contributing. In the last year I have determined that they are not going to change. They are selfish and they do not live in this world that I know. One where my dad was so sick and I felt so helpless; and a world where my mom feels lost and unsure of everything. Therefore, I'll live there...I'll take care of the things that need to be done and I won't give them another thought. If they don't like the way I handle something, that's their problem and they are welcome to do it themselves. But as far as I'm concerned, I only have *distant* relatives.

Adjusting my attitude is they only thing I found could help me because I'm not going to be able to change their attitudes.

Hope this is helpful and not just a rant. Thinking of you....


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Hi Katie,

First, I want to send a big hug your way. You've been through so much and even in your grief, you're remarkable.

Second, I can speak to tensions with siblings. I only have one brother, but I can tell you that we dealt with Mom dying and her death very, very differently.

My brother often stayed away while Mom was in palliative care. I used to resent the hell out of him - not because I didn't want to spend a lot of time with Mom - but because he was sticking his head in the sand and living in a world of denial. I can remember that when I would gently prod him to visit in light of Mom's imminent death, he would say "who made you doctor? how do you know she is going to die soon?"

When Mom died my brother lashed out in a big way. He attacked everyone around him. He said some incredibly hurtful stuff to everyone and he behaved in a manner that I still cringe at almost two years later. He also began to drink heavily, started smoking again, put on about 75 pounds and just let himself go. It was frightening to witness and he rejected any and all help that was offered to him despite sharing his daily dramas with me.

In that time (and for my own self-preservation), I learned that I had to get strong before I could do anything for him. I also had to be strong in order to accept that he might not want my help and support.

Ultimately, I came to the conclusion that he was entitled to grieve in his way and destroy himself if he chose to do so. I made the conscious decision to take a step back and decided to let him come to me if he needed the help. I was tired of living in a bad soap opera, so to speak.

I'm working hard to let go of my anger, too. It's a day-by-day kind of thing, this healing journey. Have you considered keeping a journal? I began to write a journal of my less-than-savoury thoughts after Mom died. I found it helpful to just blast my thoughts onto a piece of paper.

Katie, you were the light in your parent's lives. I hope that sustains you through this difficult time. Give yourself time to work through your pain and anger. It will allow you to re-gain the perspective you need to confront ongoing family issues.

All my best.


P.S. My brother is doing much better and we're working on our relationship now, too. One day at a time!

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Katie, I'm glad you posted. I can't personally help about siblings. My parents died suddenly within 11 months of each other when I was 23-24 years old. I had two older siblings and I got along with them fine. There was not much of an estate so no squabblings. My kids have been marvelous as far as supporting me and each other with Lucie.

I know you will get through this, and it is a lot to go through at one time. I pray you healing and peace. Don

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Katie you have been such a great help by starting this board and so kind to all of us on here that if there is anything we can do to help you ... you know we all want to do so. I had a brother and sister when my mom passed away and I still have some bitter moments when I let myself dwell on things that happened. My sister died last October and I never did let her know my true feelings about how things were handled. You see neither one of my siblings had seen my mother for 2 to 4 years before she passed. They did live out of town but I thought the could have made some effort. When the end was near for my sister I let her know I loved her and we would meet again in a much better place. I have never dealt with the situation with my brother and probably never will. My rewards will come later. You need to do what will make you happy and comfortable.

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I'm sorry you are having these feelings. Things can run very rough emotionally following the last parent's death. I'm going to write about something that I can hardly even stand to think about because I've been where you may be going. This may not pertain specifically to what you are experiencing, but it can give you a good idea of how out of hand things can get with loss, grief, and estate settlement.

My Dad died 4 1/2 years after my Mom. All of the differences in the sibs personalities really came to the forefront when it came time to settle the estate and clean out the family home. Some people were more aggressive with getting things done, others lived out of town, and still others were pretty laid back about the whole thing. Of the six surviving children (lost one brother years ago) there was a wide range of high-running emotions. We were all handling our grief differently. Add into the mix all of my brother's wives and you had a situation ready to explode. Who should do what, how it should be done, what time frame, etc. etc. Suffice to say, it DID explode, but it got done. Our family was pretty much torn completely in half for many years following. Horrible things were said and done by many. It was VERY ugly. We were stunned -- ours would have been the last family that you would have thought that the stereotypical "estate rift" would have happened to.

As a result, cousins (all of our children) grew up not knowing all the Cousins, Aunts, and Uncles. Brothers/sister/in-laws didn't speak and everyone moved on with their lives -- but missing out on the lives of half of the rest of a formerly, very close knit family. In retrospect, we all feel completely ashamed of ourselves and, since the rift was healed several years ago, we can't get enough of each other. Cousins are getting to know Aunts and Uncles and other cousins that they hardly knew anything about. Tony knows that most of the support he has for fighting his lung cancer comes from MY family, not his.

Time is precious, as you well know. Don't let bitterness or hard feelings ruin the joy of the family you do have left. I can tell you it is not worth it. In time you will find a better mental place to be with your siblings. Until then, don't do anything to ruin a joyous future for you and your family.

We can never recover the time we lost with each other and how it affected our children.

I hope this wasn't too forward of me! :)

Much Love,

Welthy (Debi)

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Hi Katie,

I know I cant even imagine how you must feel since the loss of your Mom, but through my dads illness and after there was a great change between myself and my 4 brothers. We once all got along well...then this major shift, each of us griving in different ways. This has been a big change for me, I took on all the responsibility and even when I felt so desperate during so much of this journey,noone really came thru and I have had great difficulty accepting that. It has changed me. Maybe in time I will feel different. I had heard others talk about difficulties with siblings...after this major life change I understand.

Thinking of you.....


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Katie, I'm so sorry. I understand that one grief can be so different from another.

When my son died, I had my husband to lean on. He quietly picked up so many of the things I would normally do, and he took a much bigger role with our daughter, allowing me to "just be" or just exist until I could very slowly come back to life. When he died, it was a very different grief. I had to find new ways to cope without his support.

My grief for my mother (she died 10 months ago) is still different yet. I guess no matter how proud we are of the progress we've made with one grief, it doesn't stop another from knocking us off our feet again.

I'm so sorry about the sibling issues. I do know you can be proud of your role as a daughter and a sister, and that's really all you have control over. Your parents were very sure of your devotion every day of their lives, and that's a huge accomplishment.

Wishing you peace and a tiny bit more happiness each day.

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Hi Katie: I'm relatively new here but you and all the others have been a tremendous help and for that I'm very thankful. I too had major sibling issues that did resolve over time (kinda) but the only thing I learned was that I could not change their behaviour, I could only try to change my reaction to it and not let it get to me. Easier said than done for sure, but in my quiet moments I tried to focus on that thought. I pray God grants you peace, strength and serenity. Good Luck & God Bless


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Dear Katie,

I have no great words of wisdom. I can't imagine not having a parent left on this earth... your loss much be immense and at times overwhelming. I could "write a book" about siblings and the differences in how they behave, but, I won't bore you all with it. I will say that you my friend, were I am sure, a constant joy to your Mom through her lifetime. I am sure it was your constant care and love that brought her through the greatest loss of her life, when she lost your Daddy. I wish you some peace Katie, you so deserve that. Much Love, Sharon

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