“A number of years ago my sister was killed and I’m the only child left in the family. My parents are still grieving and I find myself screaming, ‘But I’m still here’. What’s wrong with this picture?” Tony in New York
Tony, the picture you describe in not only accurate, but common. And while it may be distressful to hear that, I would recommend you take comfort in this one fact – you are not alone.
Many young people, and even not so young people, who have experienced the death of a sibling, seem to feel invisible in their parents’ eyes even years later. It seems as if no one told them they still have a living, breathing, active, loving child or children.
One of the most, if not the most, devastating event that can occur for a parent, is the loss of a child. I can tell you from my experience with my former husband that it will change a person forever.
But it is important that you connect with your parents and let them know how being in their own little world is affecting you.
I know you’d probably want to scream out all the injustices you have felt since your sister was killed, but a better way is to simply send them a note. Don’t blame; chances are they have been oblivious to your needs. Instead, tell them how you feel. Let them know you love them and want to be closer to them. You’d like a way to start talking out loud again about your family situation.
Welcome them to start by writing back. Often times is you write or email, it is less confrontational and, obviously, can’t escalate to blame, name calling, or hurt feelings.
Once you’ve both written out how you feel and how her death has affected you, you can move toward asking for what it is that would correct your feelings of isolation within the family unit.