The siblings’ weekend is a time for us to meet up and enable us to talk about our brother or sister without feeling guilty. Although we share a common loss we all experience it differently. Sharing ones feelings with supportive people is very important. Not only to feel feelings but also to express them to someone who knows what you have gone through. The death of an adult sibling can leave us disoriented for a long, long time. Without thinking we take for granted that our brother or sister will always be there and when a sibling dies it feels so wrong. It is an irreplaceable loss and the void will always be there, you will miss them forever.
Our families forget that siblings are grieving to; we have to be strong for our families our friends and their police colleagues. Although people rally round it is impossible to share your true feelings, life will never be the same again. All the secrets and private memories, the fun you had while growing up losing a sibling is losing a part of yourself. Only you truly know how deeply you feel the loss of a person who shared your history and knew you so well.
The weekend is very informal; we meet up for drinks on the Friday evening and a bite to eat. This gives us chance to get to know each other, old friendships are renewed and new friendships are quickly made. There is a lot of chatter that goes on and lots of laughter. It’s as if we have known each other for years. The format for the remainder of the weekend varies depending on the venue and has included wine tasting and a medieval banquet but there is always time for sightseeing or free time for those who need some peace and quiet.
It was great just to feel normal and be amongst friends we all say the same thing, how good it is to be with other siblings and to be able to talk to someone who knows what you are going through. The weekend comes to an end there are sad faces and some tears but lots of laughter as we say see you next year.
If you have not attended a siblings’ weekend please think about coming along to the next one. Just take that first step, I know it’s hard but it does get better. Just to meet, sit in a room with other people and find out that they are experiencing the same feelings as you and that you are as normal as everyone else there is a truly amazing experience.
Sue Brace MBE Sister of PC Cheryl Lloyd