The Forgotten Mourners

Brothers and sisters are as close as hands and feet. Vietnamese Proverb

A brother shares childhood memories and grown-up dreams.  Author Unknown

Forgotten Mourners is a term often used to describe siblings who have experienced the death of their brother or sister.  Many times, the sibling’s grief is overshadowed by the grief of other family members, especially the surviving parents.  When a child dies, the family is profoundly altered and the inevitable parental grief can have a significant effect on parenting roles, family communication and a sibling’s sense of security.

Grieving siblings may have the following in common.  They:
  • Receive little support; they’re often asked “How are your parents?”
  • Experience survivor’s guilt; they wonder why their brother or sister died instead of them
  • Keep their grief to themselves; they don’t want to upset their parents with their own grief
  • See their parents permanently changed; they think to themselves that “maybe the wrong child died”
  • Feel regret for all the “mean” things that happened between them and their deceased sibling
  • Have lost their best friend and the future they were meant to have together
At the 14th Annual National Alliance for Grieving Children Symposium, we’re talking about sibling grief.  We’re bringing together experts to address this issue and more.  We will provide you with the information and strategies you need to help grieving siblings cope with their confusion and pain.  There will be both a keynote speaker and workshops dedicated to sibling grief.

Keynote Speaker

Kathleen McCue, MA, LSW, CCLS, Director of Children’s Programming at The Gathering Place (Westlake, Ohio) will use case examples to review children’s reactions to the death of a sibling and present interventional strategies for both parents and bereavement professionals.


Leslie Delp, Founder and Executive Director of Olivia’s House (York, PA) will share wisdom from bereaved siblings, giving us a glimpse into the world they need us to understand. 

Cathy Blanford, Founder and Group Leader at Tommy’s Kids (Western Springs, IL) will provide a special emphasis on children in families who have experienced the death of an infant.

There are only two weeks left to register for the Symposium, being held June 24-26, 2010, in Cleveland, Ohio.

We look forward to seeing you in Cleveland!  Register now!

Symposium Committee
The National Alliance for Grieving Children

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