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Sudden death of brother

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  • #24951

    My (26F) older brother (27M) passed away very suddenly and unexpectedly a couple of days ago. I live 3 hours away from home and he was living with my parents. They were getting ready to go out for dinner when my mum found him unconscious, he passed away after the ambulance had worked hard to try and revive him. I immediately traveled home when I heard the news and made it back just in time to see him for one last time before he was taken away. His cause of death is still unknown, and it is still early days after the event.
    It has been a very hard week at home, as it does but doesn’t feel real. I have felt incredibly numb for the last couple of days, and the waves of emotion have been hard to deal with. I have been reading as many grief and bereavement sites as I can, but I am completely lost as to how to get my head around his death and cope. We were the only 2 children and were very close growing up. I have always felt a special connection with him, one that I will miss immensely. I have read many articles about the struggles of sibling grief, and how it is usually ignored or undermined. As much as I am told that I have to be strong for our parents and older family members, I feel like a huge part of me has been ripped away and I am struggling to be strong for myself. The experience is world-splitting, and as much as peoples send their love and condolences, I have never experienced something like this before and would appreciate it if anyone could help me who has gone through something similar. I would just like to know that I am not alone in this experience, and any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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  • #24959

    Dear Mstep,
    I’m greatly sorry to hear about the loss of your brother. It seems like he was a significant part of your life, with how much you shared growing up and feeling a close connection and bond with him. I can’t begin to imagine how difficult it must be to try to be strong for your parents when you struggle to stay strong for yourself while your world is splitting apart with a huge part of it ripped away.
    It’s natural to feel grief wounding your soul with its most powerful and unpredictable force. It’s normal right now to feel numb in one minute and something completely different in another. These emotions are very challenging to experience and process. Unfortunately, there is no blueprint to deal with them, as they are unique to each of us. It seems like you are being strong and courageous already for yourself and your parents in this extremely difficult circumstance by searching for ways to help you cope and by travelling home as soon as you could.
    Perhaps, you could continue your closeness with your brother and allow what helps to allow that bond to exist in your life. It’s also helpful to look after yourself and be kind to yourself during this trying time. Maintaining your self-care routines can help you gain a sense of control and balance and enhance your resilience. Here are some easy tips:
    You are a strong support to your parents, but I hope you have someone to lean on and talk to. Please remember you can call the helpline at Griefline on 1300 845 745 (you can also book a call) and chat about what’s happening. We’re here to listen and support you.


    Hi Mstep,
    The shock of your siblings passing will be present for a while (the grief will be there in many forms over your lifetime), there is no rush to ‘process’ or move through it at a certain pace, taking one day at a time, moment by moment (for the first little while) just being with your parents would be a comfort for them, wanting to do all that you can to help lighten their load yet still in shock and disbelief yourself. The shock and grief, the disbelief and unknown parts of his passing make it tricky to be able to understand how this happened, why it happened, and if there was anything anyone could have done differently or if more could have been done, these are all questions that may come up for you during your grieving.
    It sounds like you have a close relationship with your brother and I can relate to the feelings of not really knowing yourself without him, you don’t have to be strong all the time, to hold back your emotions for fear of it being too much for your family to cope with. The depth of emotion you are feeling is a beautiful testament to your close and loving relationship with your brother, and grieving together with your family can help lessen the loneliness of grief. In supporting your family and allowing them to support you through the pain, sadness, and shock of his passing, may bring some comfort to each of you.
    I have lost a sister (she was 20) and a brother (he was 40), so I can intimately understand from my perspective how the loss of a sibling and the feelings of responsibility to and for your parents during their grief can be overwhelming (I am also the only remaining child for our parents). I went to my parents immediately as well, and stayed for a month. I was numb, I felt I couldn’t show my grief, and I handled a lot of things so my parents didn’t have to. When I came back home, it took a lot longer for my shock to soften, and for my own grief to be really felt (approx 6 months) and it hit me like a freight train.
    So for me, if I had my time again, I would still help my parents as much as I could (I think that we’re wired that way), however, I would also let them see my pain and share my tears with them, process alongside and not put it away to stay strong all the time.
    The grief does lessen over time, it revisits and at those times I cry again and miss my brother & sister, and at other times I look back at our time together with love, laughter and joy. So I understand the feelings you have, please reach out, find a therapist who can support you through this really tough time, share with your family the funny and loving memories along with your sadness and remember Griefline is always here to support you.
    Thank you for sharing your feelings, fears and for the courage to reach out, we are here if you need us.


    Hello Mstep,
    I’m deeply sorry for the loss of your brother. I also just lost my younger brother Justine (28 years old) last March 10, he suddenly died by cardiac arrest at a gym in Sydney. The initial findings of the Coroner was an enlarged heart. We are from the Philippines and he was based in Sydney working as a Software Engineer. I’m currently struggling just like you about what happened to our siblings, their sudden death has really caught us off guard which makes it more difficult to accept and even comprehend. Everyday has been a struggle to keep on living and I’m having thoughts of wanting to die as well. Lately, i’ve stopped talking and sharing my feelings with people because i feel they do not understand the gravity of our situation. Many would seem to just think it is a usual situation that we have to deal with and quickly move on. What happened has been slowly sinking in and I have been just crying and being lethargic.


    Dear Ryonriver,
    Thank you for reaching out to MStep and letting her know she is not alone. But it sounds like you are going through an extremely difficult time right now in regard to the loss of your brother. I am concerned that you have stopped talking and sharing your feelings with others. I completely understand why, as they haven’t had the same experience as you. But it is soooo important that you continue to talk, as this is how our brain processes the loss. I encourage you to find a way to speak to someone who offers a safe space and who is there just for you. A bereavement group, a grief and loss counsellor, booked Griefline call or simply calling the Helpline when you feel the need to talk. Please look at our website for the options available to you. If you don’t want to do this, you could try journalling. When you are unable to say everything you want to to someone else, it can help to write it down.
    It is completely normal to cry and feel lethargic. Your brain is trying to make sense of this unexpected shock. So be kind to yourself and allow yourself the time you need. Please look at the Griefline website
    We are always here for you and would love for you to share your feelings and memories of your brother with us, or someone else. He will live on because of the stories that you will share.


    Yes I really want to let Mstep know that she is not alone and what happened to our brothers is very similar and the timeline is very close. I have been looking for people that has the same situation with me because I think they are the ones who would understand us more. Lately I have so much anger in me, i’m looking for someone or something to blame.


    Hi Ryonriver,

    I can see that both you and Mstep are going through a similar and incredibly difficult experience with the sudden loss of your brothers. It’s completely natural for you to feel anger and want to find something or someone to blame. Grief can take many forms, and anger is one of them. Connecting with others who have faced similar situations can be comforting, as they can better understand the emotions you’re going through.

    It’s important to remember that it’s okay to feel this way and to allow yourself to experience these emotions. Finding a healthy outlet for your anger and frustration can be beneficial. This could be through talking to someone, writing your thoughts in a journal, or engaging in physical activities like exercise or meditation.

    Mstep, I hope you find solace in knowing that Ryonriver is going through a similar experience and that you’re not alone in your grief. Sharing your feelings and memories with others who understand can help you both navigate this challenging time.

    To both of you, please remember that Griefline is here to support you, and reaching out to others who have experienced a similar loss can be a valuable part of your healing process. In the meantime, be patient with yourselves and give yourselves time to grieve. The journey of healing is different for everyone, and there’s no right or wrong way to grieve.

    Take care, and please don’t hesitate to reach out if you need to talk. We’re here to listen and support you.


    I am so sorry about your brother. While each circumstance is always unique, my brother died late last year. It is very sad. I also googled articles about how loss of a sibling minimised or ignored by many. It doesn’t make sense to me. I also found that because he didn’t have kids people minimised that too. It is a huge loss to his partner, to our family, to me. I can only think some people just don’t understand as they are fortunate to not have experienced it or for whatever reason just are unable to go there. What you are experiencing is huge and it is hard to go through. What has helped me is crying when I need to, being around animals and children, having breaks from feeling grief by doing fun things with friends or working, being in nature is so restorative, caring for plants, especially from seed, craft, meditation every morning before getting out of bed, rest. Christmas was hard, then I reached out to support or message other friends going through hard times too, that somehow made me feel better, giving others what I needed. I experienced a large grief before and I withdrew, not withdrawing this time is definitely of more benefit to me. I cry when I need to then get up and keep going. I was bewildered by how minimised it was though. I am so sorry for your loss. All the best.


    Thankyou so much sisi for your wonderful response to Mstep and Ryonriver. So many great ideas. It sounds like you have learned the hard way how important it is to attend to your grief by doing things that are meaningful to yourself and by reaching out to and helping others. I’m sure your generosity in offering you understanding and sharing your ideas will be very helpful to all of our online forum users.


    hello are you?

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