When author Erica Goldblatt Hyatt, DSW, LCSW, MBE, was working as a social worker at a children’s hospital caring for young terminally ill patients, she recognized the need for a book specifically for teens experiencing the loss of a sibling.
In “Grieving for the Sibling You Lost: A Teen’s Guide to Coping With Grief and Finding Meaning After Loss,” Goldblatt Hyatt guides teens on how to think about grief and explore their loss. She provides examples of several teens who have lost a sibling, showing the similarities and differences in their stories, to highlight that each griever’s story is unique. At the same time, introducing these characters offers readers someone to relate to, helping normalize grief and loss.
The book includes exercises designed to create opportunities for teens to work through their feelings and identify their own experiences and symptoms of grief. Readers are invited to journal their response to these exercises. Goldblatt Hyatt introduces coping strategies by identifying some teen grievers of sibling loss as “old souls,” acknowledging the full impact of their journey on their development.
A chapter is dedicated to the concept of “the replacement,” exploring the surviving child’s desire to make up for the sibling that their parents lost. Such topics are difficult to discuss openly in families but are experienced nonetheless, and the author’s ability to delve into these areas validates the reader.
Within each chapter, readers encounter “things you might be feeling, things you might be thinking and things you might be doing,” illustrating the connection between sibling loss and our feelings, thoughts and behaviors. The final section of the book is devoted to healing and teaching teens effective strategies such as how changing your thoughts can change your feelings.
The book ends by encouraging teens to tell their story and explains the good that can come from sharing their story. The author’s approach wisely serves to bring teen grievers out of isolation into a supportive and hopeful environment, leading to a healthy identity.
Pathways of HopeSM Grief Counseling Centers
Ohio’s Hospice offers grief and bereavement support through our Pathways of HopeSM Grief Counseling Centers, which provide a variety of services to the communities we serve. Support and education are provided by a team of counselors and social workers, all with significant experience and expertise in assisting grieving children, adolescents and adults. For more information about Pathways of Hope, click here.