Grieving the loss of a sibling can be hard. But finding ways to honor them is one way to cope with the loss.

One of the most special relationships you can have is with your siblings. You grew up with each other — you fought, played, ate, and sometimes even took baths together.

Sisters can have an even closer bond. You’ve gone through experiences and shared things with them that you haven’t with any other close friends or possibly even a partner.

Loss can mean many different things. You may be grieving a sister who has passed or mourning the loss of a once-close relationship.

No matter what type of loss you’re dealing with, reaching out for support and allowing yourself space and time to grieve can be helpful.

Losing a sister can be a shock. Other emotions you may experience include:

  • anger
  • anxiety
  • denial
  • guilt
  • fear
  • sadness
  • frustration
  • hopelessness
  • loneliness

You can also experience physical reactions such as insomnia and loss of appetite.

Losing a sister doesn’t just affect you and your other siblings. It can affect the entire family.

Research from 2018 suggests that surviving siblings not only have to deal with their own grief, but they also have to manage the grief of their parents and the changes that may result after the death.

This can add to your stress and affect your mental health over time. A 2021 study found that young and middle-aged adult siblings have an increased chance of experiencing mental health issues due to grief.

There is no “right way” to grieve or to cope with your loss. Losing a sibling can be an overwhelming experience.

But there are strategies that can help.

Loss of a sister quotes

When you’re grieving, hearing or reading words of comfort and hope can offer some encouragement and remind you that you’re not alone.

Here are a few quotes that might be helpful.

  • “A sister is a little bit of childhood that can never be lost” — Marion C. Garretty
  • “Those we love never truly leave us. There are things that death cannot touch.” — Jack Thorne
  • “My sister may not always be at my side, but she is always in my heart.” — unknown
  • “A sister is a gift to the heart, a friend to the spirit, a golden thread to the meaning of life.” — Isadora James
  • “The best thing about having a sister was that I always had a friend.” — Cali Rae Turner
  • “Those we love don’t go away, they walk beside us every day.” — unknown
  • “You can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn your back, or you can do what she’d want: Smile, open your eyes, love, and go on.” — David Harkins

Use your family as a support system

It can be hard to provide support to other family members when you’re also grieving. But remember that you’re not alone, and you’re not the only one grieving this loss. When you share that grief with others, it can seem a little less overwhelming.

It may help if you and your family plan a funeral or memorial service together. If you feel up to it, you can even deliver a eulogy for your sister.

Remembering all the wild things you did together and laughing about that one thing she always did or said can be a great way to bring joy on an otherwise difficult day.

Give yourself time to grieve

Allowing yourself to go through the feelings you have about your sister can be helpful. There’s no limit to how long your grief can last.

You may feel like your grief is better one day, only for a picture or memory to bring the tears back the next day. And, that’s OK.

There will never be a time when you don’t miss your sister. You’ll just be able to navigate those emotions better over time.

Try to do something to honor your sister’s life

If your sibling died of a medical condition such as heart disease or cancer, organizing a fundraiser or participating in an event such as a walk or run for that condition can be a great way to honor them.

If that seems like too much to do right now, consider making a donation to an organization where your sister may have volunteered.

Seek help and support

If your grief is impacting your daily life, consider reaching out to a mental health professional who specializes in grief. They may be able to provide tools and strategies you can use to manage your emotions.

A support group may also be beneficial. Talking with others who may be having a similar experience can be helpful and encouraging.

A healthcare or mental health professional may be able to recommend a local support group or you can try an online support group.

If you have a friend or family member who’s dealing with the loss of a sister, you may not know what to do or say.

You may think that whatever you say won’t be enough or that offering thoughts and prayers or your deepest sympathies seems cliché.

While “I’m sorry for the loss of your sister” doesn’t seem like much, this simple phrase lets that person know that you acknowledge their grief and understand.

Letting them know you’re there for them or offering specific ways to be there — such as cooking a meal or volunteering to run an errand — can help translate your words into actions.

Losing a sibling can feel overwhelming. While the feelings of grief are hard to deal with, try to allow yourself time to go through the emotions at your own pace.

Recalling cherished memories of your sister and those things that made her so special can help manage those difficult emotions.

Talking with family and friends and finding a way to honor your sister are some ways you can help ease your grief. Support groups are also a great way to find support and encouragement.

Some online support groups for those who have lost a sibling include:

Remember that grief has no time limit. While you’re navigating your grief, know that however you do that and whatever you’re feeling is OK.