We want to help, and the only way we can attempt to do so is by talking about what we know.
We know that the death of a child is hands down the worst thing a parent can experience.
We know this, yet we have not experienced this. We cannot contemplate or even comment on this except as to say that for a parent the death of a child is horrific and witnessing this pain is also horrific.
What we do know however, is the felt experience of the death of our siblings. Unfortunately, we know quite a bit about this having lost Declan, Jacinta and Fintan.
This is where we want to help. We are not experts. We are simply three very ordinary women who know something about trying to live our life – when every bone and muscle is lethargic, vacant and broken.
Recently Aishleen was in work and in the midst of a sad and teary day. She decided to turn to Dr. Google to see how she could enable herself to feel better.
Googling “sibling death” and hoping to find a “How To Guide” or “Top 10 Tips to Feel Better”.
What she found instead was nothing, emptiness. Being met with voids of redirected pages of 404 Error. This reiterating her feelings of isolation and loneliness.
Twenty years after Declan died we truly believed that there would be more advice, assistance or self care books. Something that would create ease and a feeling of being understood in the heaviness felt after the death of a sibling.
We were hurt and shocked to see that in reality the passing of time had not improved information available on coping mechanisms and support.
This is why we do what we do.
As we said we are not experts. We are ordinary sisters yearning to let others in similar circumstances know, that sometimes, it can take an effort to smile and to keep moving forward. And when you do, understand how much strength that takes.
How do we do this?
We empower children and young adults to lead their whole lives with self compassion and kindness. As we know that life can feel shattered and will never be the same again.
So, lets try to be in our lives, be present to it even as we carry our broken hearts, minds and bodies.
We will continue to do this because:
- We do not want any human to live their life overcast in grief the way our brother Fintan chose to.
- We would like people to relish their lives the way Jacinta chose to.
- We do not want any other family to go through the tsunami of devastating affects the loss of a child has on a household, day in day out, year in year out. We did this for twenty years after we lost Declan. It is difficult and it is draining.
- We do not want other parents spending hours searching for coping mechanisms to offer their other grief-stricken children. We do not have the answers but we may be able to help in a small way. Acknowledging the siblings heartbreak openly is where we can all start.
- We do not want the remailing siblings to live as empty vessels, moving within the voids and feeling nothing. “Bleeding to know they are alive” (Iris by The Goo Goo Dolls video Who doesn’t love an emotional song)) This we can speak from experience.
- We do not want children to suffer from PTSD. This can happen when they have not had a place to share their fears, complications and sadness after their brother or sister has died. This we can speak from experience.
Aishleen, Katie-Anne and Charlotte