Chapter 5: Your sibling’s belongings

When you are not part of the process

When my brother died, I was living out of the country and couldn’t get home quickly. By the time I arrived, all of his possessions were gone. My family had kept a few things for me, but they weren’t what I would have chosen.

Because I had been estranged from my parents for a long time, I didn’t find out about my sister’s death until much later. A big part of my grief has been about having lost the chance to say goodbye or have even one thing of hers.

If sorting through and giving away your sibling’s belongings was done with little or no input from you, you may be feeling hurt or resentful. Your parents may have given your sister’s favourite sweater to one of her friends; a sister-in-law may have taken kitchen items, thinking you weren’t interested; one of your sisters may not be willing to part with any items at the moment; or everything may have been given to charity.

What may help

Try to remember that when people are grieving, they do not always take everything into account when making decisions. It may help to gently let them know how you are feeling.

It can be helpful to talk with a grief counsellor since hurt feelings are often difficult to work through on your own.