"Do you have any brothers or sisters"?

Subject: “Do you have any brothers or sisters”?

My older sister, my only sibling killed herself 2 years and change ago. I’m an adult, just turned 40 and I’m single and childless. Since my sister’s death I have come to accept that my best days are behind me and all I have left is watching my parents age. Our tiny family is dying. I find myself fantasizing leaving the world in the same way, but not until my parents go. I am alone and I struggle with reaching out. I used to love to meet new people. Now I’m very distant and closed off to letting anyone ask me questions about my life. My default is to steer the conversation away from me and just ask them more about themselves. I don’t know how to have a light conversation when people ask me about children, relationships, siblings…the normal “get to know you ” questions. “No, I don’t have children.” “Why not?” “Because I have failed to find someone to share that experience with”. “Do you have any brothers or sisters?” “No, I mean, yes…well I used to…she killed herself a couple years ago.” Great lighthearted first conversation huh? I do my best to avoid fun chats like this. How do I answer these questions? I can’t figure it out in my brain and I can’t find any advice… If any of you found yourselves suddenly an only child and you don’t know how to explain this, you’re not alone.

2 thoughts on “"Do you have any brothers or sisters"?

  1. Hi, my name is David and I’ve been on this site for about three months now. My brother shot himself 39 yrs ago and all that time me and my family never talked about him. If someone asked “how’d he die”, we would say in an accident. My brother was a great guy, someone I love and still miss very much. I hurt all those years not talking about him but since I’ve been on this site I’ve talked with some very nice people who lost love ones and they told me to start talking to my friends and family. And I did, mostly one on one, and it was amazing how much they wanted to talk to me about Jimmy and offer comforting words and told me for years they wanted to but didn’t know how to bring it up. And now I’ve talked more about my brother in three months than I have in 39 yrs.
    And I know you must have wonderful stories to tell about your sister. How she died doesn’t have to be the first thing you tell about her and you’d be amazed how accepting people are about suicide now a days. In the 70s when my brother died, suicide was taboo and not something you talked about. But today with teen suicides and soldiers suffering from PTSD, killing themselves, people are more open and want to help you through it. At least that’s what I’m finding.
    And as far as you being 40 and not having children doesn’t mean you’re not a great person, a good friend or that there’s not someone out there just waiting to meet you, that will change both your lives. If you’re down maybe find someone who can help you with that, a therapy group or church group, but don’t think that being 40, that there’s nothing to look forward to. I sure you mean more to people around you, than you know.
    Good luck with everything and don’t be so hard on yourself.

  2. I lost my brother 5 years ago and also found myself an only child. The question of siblings is still uncomfortable. If it’s someone that I don’t know well, or am not in the mood for a conversation, I answer with “yes” and change the subject. Other times I talk about him and I know people assume he is still with us. Again, if it’s someone that I don’t know well then I don’t change the perception. It does help me to talk about him.

    I agree with David above, being single and no children has no correlation to you being a good person!

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