Adult sibling loss group Orange

STAYING STRONG: Adult Sibling Loss group founders Rebecca Grevink and Cindy Culverson with photos of their brothers Sandy, Chris and Jason. Photo: EMILY BENNETT

STAYING STRONG: Adult Sibling Loss group founders Rebecca Grevink and Cindy Culverson with photos of their brothers Sandy, Chris and Jason. Photo: EMILY BENNETT

GRIEF comes in many forms – whether it’s an empty seat at the dinner table or one less face in a family photo.

For two friends, their experiences with sibling loss are completely different.

Cindy Culverson has experienced the loss of not one but two of her brothers.

“It’s really hard to think that the two people that were sort of meant to be there the whole way through your life [are gone],” Mrs Culverson said.

For Mrs Culverson’s friend Rebecca Grevink, the grief she felt from losing her brother was marred by guilt.

“I think my grief is a little bit different because it stems from guilt,” Ms Grevink said.

“We had a rocky relationship and we didn’t speak for a good year before he passed away and our last conversation was not a nice one.”

Sibling loss is an experience many people go through however there are not always support groups specifically for siblings.

“I found over the years there’s not much support for siblings,” Mrs Culverson said.

“It's a very untouched sort of subject.”

Mrs Culverson took matters into her own hands and created a Facebook group to provide support for others that had experienced sibling loss.

Ms Grevink said even though people experienced grief differently, the loss of a sibling bonded members of the group.

“It’s about appreciating that everyone’s story is going to be completely different, but there’s still this core that connects us all,” she said.

“Your circumstances might be different but at the end of the day that feeling of loss is very similar.”

Ms Grevink said group members had a special insight into what siblings had experienced.

“My support networks have been great but there’s only so much you can discuss with your friends,” she said.

“I think [the group] is about a bunch of like-minded people who can come to a forum and talk about it over and over and over again.”

Ms Grevink said the group offered acceptance for people struggling with grief.

“I think it’s about being able to accept that grief is an awful, awful thing and it’s okay to not be okay,” she said.

“Regardless of how many years it’s been... that grief will forever be as fresh as it was two... three... or 10 years ago and that’s okay.”

If you have lost a sibling, join the ‘Adult Sibling Loss – Orange NSW’ group on Facebook.

For help in a crisis call Lifeline on 13 11 14.

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