Ask Sam letter


To Sam

Sibling death I

I can't seem to find much on this so I didn't know where else to go. When I was 12, my 15 year old sister died unexpectedly. She was disabled but the reason she died had nothing to do with that. It was extremely sudden.
There is almost no information on sibling death anywhere, except for miscarriages or siblings dying when the surviving sibling was too young to understand. There is no information for siblings who actually knew the one who'd died fairly well.
I am now 15 and I have just outlived her. For me, this makes her death even worse.
When I was 12, I thought that she was practically a grown up and that 'older people die' but now, she's younger than I am and I've realised how young she really was, she was not anywhere near adulthood. This is much harder to live with.
No one seems to understand, my parents are obviously going through a different kind of grief and my younger brother was too young to understand fully. No one expects someone of my age to have lost a sibling.
It's interfering with my life at home and at school I just don't know how to deal with it anymore
Just to be clear, I'm not suicidal, I have harmed myself very lightly, barley enough to draw blood but this was several years ago, immediately after her death. I haven't done it since.
But now exams are coming up and everything is falling apart. I think I've developed some form of OCD or anxiety related to control. Now, if anything doesn't go according to how I'd planned or if I don't know something, I freak out, like anxiety attack level freak out. Do you know of ways I can deal with it?
Ask Sam


Hi there,

When someone dies unexpectedly it can be very shocking and can cause a lot of fear and anxiety. It’s particularly hard to cope with if it’s someone as close to you as a sibling. Nobody can replace them. Grieving for someone can take a long time and it affects everyone in lots of ways. There can be times when it seems as if no one truly understands how you feel and sometimes this can make life feel too much to cope with. This is why it’s so important to ask for help.

It can be really hard finding the right support and information. We have some advice and we recommend Grief Encounter who have a helpful guide for young people. It includes support for if you’ve lost a sibling, mum or dad. Hope Again is another website for young people who are facing grief, where you can share stories and support for each other. You can also try Winston's Wish which has message boards and creative pages that young people can use to talk about their grief.

Grief can lead to problems with anxiety or self-harm and sometimes life issues such as exam stress can make things feel even worse. If you feel like you can’t cope, it’s really important to talk to someone and to get help to keep safe. You can talk to a ChildLine counsellor at any time. Our counsellors will always listen to you and try to understand what you're going through.

We have advice about managing your anxiety and you can look to find what’s going to work best for you.  As well as talking to someone about how you feel it can also help to try relaxation or distraction techniques to help. The Mix also has different stories and advice about anxiety that could help.

I hope this helps a little, thank you for sharing about the loss of your sister.

Take care,

Need help straight away?

You can talk privately to a counsellor online or call 0800 1111 for free.

Ask me a question

You can ask me about anything you want, there's nothing too big or small. I read every single letter but I can only answer a few each week. My replies are published here on my page.

Write me a letter