Sadness

Siblings have many very good reasons to be sad. They miss their parents and the time they used to spend together. They miss the life they used to have, the one they were comfortable with. They worry that their brother or sister may die. Some children show their sadness by crying often; others withdraw and become depressed. Often children confide in relatives or friends that they think their parents don't love them anymore.

When Jeremy was very sick and hospitalized, we sent his older brother Jason to his grandparents for long periods of time. We thought that he understood the reasons, but a year after Jeremy finished treatment, Jason (9 years old) said, "Of course, I know that you love Jeremy more than me anyway. You were always sending me away so that you could spend time with him." It just broke my heart that every time he made that long drive over the mountains with his grandparents, he was thinking that he was being sent away

Months after his 4-year-old sister's treatment ended, my 6-year-old son confided to his grandmother that his parents loved her more than him. He still has never told his father or me, but he does sometimes ask if his sister is going to die. When I say no, he looks sort of disappointed.

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