An Open Letter to my Siblings as we Grieve

An Open Letter to my Siblings as we Grieve

"Everybody has a chapter they don't read out loud"
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This will not be easy…

Many people asked me prior to the death of my dad if I ever thought about how it would be when he actually passed away. I am not going to lie, I did, and maybe you did too. But nothing could have even begun to prepare me what I am feeling, thinking and experiencing right now. I always had an idea on how I would take care of myself. But at the end of the day, I always was more worried about you guys. There has not been a day where dad hasn’t crossed my mind in one way or another and I can only assume you guys have experienced the same thing. Nothing is more frustrating and heartbreaking than having the urge to call dad and tell him about my day or just to see how he is doing. In a weird sense, each day becomes both a little easier as well as harder. Just know that the three of us will one day make it out of this brutal battlefield as one.

…but it also will not be impossible

Following the news of dad’s passing, did you begin to think how the hell you were going to make it out of this crazy journey? Trust me, I did too! Look at us now, weeks have gone by and we have continued to handle this in our own ways. Moment by moment, day by day, we have managed to move forward. Does that mean it has been easy? Far from it. But at the end of the day, through the drive of ourselves, each other, and the ones around us, we have completed the unfeasible. This roller coaster ride is far from over, just promise me you will hang on tight, okay? We can do this.

Don’t ever be scared to show your true emotion

Trust me, if it is any trait that the three of us received from dad it is that we all are horrible at talking about and showing our true emotion. I know it can be uncomfortable or even weird to express what we truly are feeling. But don’t allow that to be the reason you continue to hold back what has built up inside of you. Crazy enough, I have showed by emotions in the craziest ways since dad’s death; finding sick humor in non-humorous scenarios, crying in class, crying in public (restaurants, malls, bathrooms, coffee shops) the list could go on. If you need to cry, cry. If you need to laugh, laugh. Have the urge to scream, do it! I promise you, the satisfaction of spilling out your emotions is indescribable. Find someone you trust and know that you can reach out to them at any time. You are surrounded by so much support—take advantage of it!

Everything happens for a reason

Such a cliché saying, right? But at the same time, it is incredibly true. I don’t know about you, but I have continued to think about ‘why.’ Why dad? Why anyone? Why us? Why didn’t he survive? Why now? Why ever? It is frustrating to think that answers to all of this questions have continued to be unknown. Yet, I always find comfort in the idea that one day, all the answers will arise. Until then, just remember that dad forever is cancer free and in the best place this world has to offer.

Know that we will always have each other

Just when you think that you don’t have anyone who truly understands what you are going through, feeling and dealing with, remember you have us. As we all continue to live our day to day lives in different places, in different phases and surrounded by different people, that never will take away the fact that the three of us will forever be siblings. I love you guys.

Dad will forever be looking down on us

Right when you believe that dad isn’t with you, think again. During times of success, failure, happiness, sadness, anger, frustration, good and the bad, he is never too far away. Whether it be when you receive an awesome grade in school, a promotion in work, graduation, weddings, etc., dad will always be there. Let’s continue to make dad proud, hand in hand, together.

Cover Image Credit: Taylor Stossel

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8 Truisms Of An Only-Child Childhood Everyone Else Should Know, Signed, An Only Child

But really.... do your parents actually have favorites?
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As an only child, I feel it's important to give out a little PSA to correct all the stereotypes we sibling-less children have labeled on our backs.

1. We're not all spoiled

Like... yes, my parents gave me an iPhone. Five years after everyone else got one!! In fact, my parents made it their personal mission to avoid saying "yes" partly for their own satisfaction and partly to avoid raising the spoiled kid. Just because there's only one of us, doesn't mean our parents are gonna splurge their hard earned money on us.

2. It can get lonely

Mom and Dad have to work, the neighbor kids aren't always home, and back in the day, there wasn't Netflix and Snapchat to entertain us all day.

3. We used to worry about our kids not having aunts and uncles

This may sound silly but it was a legitimate concern. Who will spoil my kids since I will obviously refuse to? Will they have any cousins to play with? Will they have the large family gatherings I always wanted to have? That is a lot of pressure to put on your future spouse.

4. Vacations can be interesting

What's a girl to do when her parents want to sit on the condo patio, but she wants to go to the beach? It can be very hard to have back up in these situations, but they almost guarantee you to have excellent persuasive skills later on in life.

5. A lot of people in one place can overwhelm us

Yes, I want to be around people ALL the time. Yes, I also need my space because I was raised in a quiet household. Usually, we'll sneak into our rooms if a huge party is happening downstairs, it's just the way it's going to be.

6. Loud kids are scary but we want 6 of them.

Yes, other people's kids freak me out. Yes, I want a ton of them because first of all, if they are my kids they will be awesome and second of all, I gotta make up for my childhood.

7. We'll never understand what it is like to have more than 3 people living together in one house

How do fights work? Do you all eat dinner together? How often do you share things? Do you hang out as a family often? Do your parents really favorites, and how do you know? These are the questions we want to be answered!

8. And how can siblings fight one minute and be best friends the next?

This dynamic just makes zero sense. Can not compute. We will never understand, probably not even after we have kids of our own.

Cover Image Credit: Kate Alt

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Being The Oldest Child Is Both Liberating And Terrifying, But I Wouldn't Change It For The World

It has instilled in me the power to set an example for my brothers to follow.
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As the oldest of three boys, I have often had to trailblaze a path for my brothers to follow. Every act that lead me to get in trouble, I was the first child to do so. I essentially laid the blueprint for my brothers on what to do and what not to do to get by our parents with ease. As the oldest, I have not had someone that I can confide with on “mature” and “adult” discussions, conundrums and debates. I have not had an individual that I can try and follow in their footsteps.

Personally, I have both enjoyed and had some levels of difficulty. It has dawned on me that not only am I acting for myself, but the actions I display are the ones that my younger brothers look up to and admire. Therefore I must display the best image of myself in order to ensure that they make the right decisions/actions during their development into adulthood.

Growing up as the firstborn has certainly had its perks.

The level of attention I receive is at times overwhelming from both my parents, especially going to a school several hundred miles away from them. They often check in on me, calling me at sporadic periods throughout the day to make sure I’ve gotten up and not missed my 8:30 a.m. class. This is nice and all, but at times it can be a bit much. You can agree with me, right?

At the same time, I am fully aware that my parents are doing it not to be annoying and at times embarrassing, but rather because it is scary sending your first child out into the world without a path to follow. Granted, my parents have both experienced great success in their lives and the path they have created for my family is certainly a bright one. However, they paved their path many years ago and unfortunately, the methods they used to cross this path may be somewhat obsolete for me.

At times, being the oldest is tough.

In terms of discipline, I certainly experienced it the hardest and with the most repercussions. Getting grounded was a common thing for me growing up, not necessarily because my actions were so juvenile, but rather because my parents were learning and adjusting their parenting styles. Now, my brothers rarely get grounded, for acts that would far surpass my mild middle-school phase. All and all I can live with it because, without my help, my brothers wouldn’t have learned the ropes on how to survive in our household.

At times it is liberating and at times it is terrifying, but being the oldest child is something I wouldn’t want to change. I learned how to go through life and grow up on my own accord, without having a big brother or sister there to guide me as I grew. It has allowed me to develop into the person I am today and has instilled in me the power of paving a path for success that one day my brothers will follow.

Cover Image Credit: Chase Gornbein

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