Pregnancy And Infancy Loss Awarness (PAILA) Month is just a few weeks away! And while that’s still technically a lot of time, I am kinda freaking out! I just feel so strongly about this cause that I want to get the word out to as many as possible, as quickly as I can, so there are more events than ever planned this year, in as many places as possible.
One thing that happens consistently, is the International Wave Of Light which takes place at 7pm (in all timezones worldwide) on the 15th of October. It may seem simple, but it’s actually very powerful. In addition, many plan walks/runs, balloon releases, memorials and such occur on, or around that day.
This is all wonderful, bringing comfort and healing to many. But I would love to see more aimed specifically at siblings. It is a ‘special’ kind of pain that we endure. Even though there are several causes of early sibling loss (abortion, miscarriage, illness, injuries, SIDS, etc) we face some common issues. Among them, reluctance to voice our feelings and pain, for fear of adding to our parents’ pain. I know that one far too well in my own life, which is why it took about 6 years to start looking for other sibs or speaking to others.
We also oftentimes end up adopting the secret. We are let in on the fact that there was a loss but are not supposed to mention it outside the family, and sometimes even within. Sadly, I think in most cases this only delays healing, for ourselves and for others. I mention the others because sometimes just knowing someone can relate to our pain leads to comfort and healing. Suddenly, we don’t feel as alone anymore!
The last issue I will mention for now, is that plenty of times the siblings are asked how the parents are doing (not a bad thing.. but it’s painful when the siblings are not also checked up on) and/or are told to be strong for the parents. While I know it’s not done with malicious intent, the latter frustrates me! After my dad died, I decided on my own, to ‘be strong’ for my mom and really it’s taken quite the toll. You can read a little bit in my reflection on emotional repression. I hate thinking of just how many can relate, whether through their own choices or being forced into it.
Despite the struggles with repression, which I’ve dealt with most of my life, I have still managed to find significant healing! But not through a recovery program or therapy that others have suggested I needed. Rather, through communicating with those who can relate. Also by participating in the arts. I never imagined that drawing, coloring, writing, music, rock art, etc could lead to such healing, especially since I did not feel skilled in these areas.
I want to do all in my power to make it so that others are able to experience that type of healing as well. The great thing is that it can work for people of all ages, religions, political views, etc and end up uniting people, who were previously divided.
Recently, I came up with an idea that combines pregnancy/infancy loss awareness, sibling pain AND art therapy! I've called it 'Sibling Saturday', and it will be held on the 4th Saturday in October. An event where grieving siblings from all backgrounds would have a chance to get to know each other while working on memorial art of different types (writing, drawing/coloring, crocheting/knitting, etc). Those who so desired could share their stories in a safe, judgement free environment. My goal is to see that Sibling Saturday takes place anually, in as many locations as possible, worldwide. Including with a way for the homebound siblings to participate. If you are on facebook and would like to join in the planning, host an event, get more info/updates, etc, feel free to join this group. If not on facebook, but still interested, let us know in the comments and we will see what we can arrange.
Whether you are able to participate or not, I hope this post has made you more aware of the suffering siblings, and given you some ideas on how to reach out to them. If you, yourself are a sibling, I hope this has brought some comfort to you and you’ll be able to take part in events just for us, sibs! May any needed healing come to you and your families. You will be in my thoughts and prayers.