Chapter 4: Impact on family and friends

If your sibling has a spouse or partner

It breaks my heart to think about my sister’s husband as a widower. They were so close, and I know she worried about how he would cope when she was gone.

My brother and his wife were high-school sweethearts and were together for more than 35 years. When he died, she told me that part of her had died with him, and I can understand why she feels this way. Life isn’t the same without him.

Perhaps you are worried about your sibling’s partner or spouse. You may even be more attentive to their grief than to your own, feeling their heartbreak and loneliness. Depending on your relationship, you may find comfort and solace in supporting each other.

You may also experience a variety of challenging and conflicting emotions over certain circumstances, such as the ones listed below. Click on each phrase to read more.


While your sibling’s partner may need your compassion and support, it’s also important to recognize and respond to your own grief.

In time, although you may still feel anger and/or regret about how things have been handled, you may come to a different understanding of why things unfolded the way they did. 

Helpful resources