Supporting Grieving Siblings:
What You Should Know and How You Can Help

By  Colleen Shannon , LICSW,  Associate Program Director - Youth & Community Outreach , and
Emily Carson Dashawetz, MFA,  Communications & Marketing Coordinator

Siblings are often among our first friends, rivals, and connections. They teach us and we teach them. Together we learn how to share, how to fight, and how to navigate the complexities of our families and the larger world. They play a pivotal role in our lives. They share our history; they often share our hopes for the future.

It is no wonder that when a sibling dies, the surviving sibling or siblings are left to navigate a world that is forever changed. Their lives change, and often, so do their identities. It is no exaggeration to say that, when a sibling dies, a grieving sibling asks in many different ways, " Who am I without my brother or sister?" 

Our siblings are the people who are supposed to be with us for the long haul. We expect them at the breakfast table, kicking our feet when mom or dad aren't looking. We plan for them to be at milestone events, like our birthdays, weddings, and graduations. They are the people with whom we were supposed to confide in, roll our eyes with when our parents are being ridiculous, and cry with when our family is struggling. When a sibling dies, all of these moments die with them. The loss of what could have been, and what we hoped would have been, can sting as deeply as the loss of our sibling's life.

The death of any important person in childhood can significantly impact a child or teen's sense of self and being. For bereaved siblings, the death of a brother or sister has unique impacts on their lives and grief process. Here are some common feelings that may arise for a grieving sibling and some ways you might help if you're supporting them.

Local Residents Malinda Dublin and Crissy Straub
Coach Our 2017 Boston Marathon Team
Marathon Coaches Crissy Straub (left) and Malinda Dublin on a race weekend in Bermuda

We're pleased to share that Lexington resident  Crissy Straub and Arlington resident  Malinda Dublin have volunteered their time to coach The Children's Room's 2017 Boston Marathon team.

Crissy and Malinda are lifelong friends and running partners who have run a combined total of 49 marathons to date. In 2015, they decided to form their unique blend of friendship and running experience into a business, MC Coaching, which specifically coaches marathon runners who are running to benefit a charity. 

This is the second year in a row that MC Coaching has generously volunteered to train and motivate our Boston Marathon team as they fundraise and promote awareness for The Children's Room.
Sharing Time Together:
TCR Teen Night at Kings Bowl America

On March 11th, TCR's Teen Program participants traveled to Kings Bowl America in Burlington for a special night out! The group of 12 teens enjoyed Kings' upscale decor, neon bowling, music, and table service. They also had the added pleasure of traveling in style, in a mini-coach bus! 

The participants included several teens joining TCR's Teen Program for the first time, while others were reconnecting with friends made both recently and in the past.  

Reflecting back on the event, one of the teens shared, "I had a lot of fun and enjoyed bowling and meeting others." Another gave feedback about the Teen Program: "It's really fun and chill--and I get to do things I might not be able to otherwise!"

Camps and Programs 2017: 
Supporting Grieving Children & Teens in the Summer

It's hard to believe, but summer is right around the corner, and so many of us are busy making plans for the coming months. 

Each year we compile details for camps and programs for grieving children and teens, both in Massachusetts and beyond. 

We hope you find this resource page helpful as you support the children and teens in your life.
TCR Teen Mosaic Workshop:
Putting the Pieces Together 

We hope that you'll join us for this FREE event just for teens! 

Saturday, April 29th
2:00 pm to 5:30 pm

No previous experience or materials necessary! All you need to bring is a willingness to try out something new and create! 

Teens will spend time together while creating personalized mosaics that may be laid flat or hung on the wall. Make the style your own--glass, tile, ceramics, abstract, linear, designed--the choice is yours!

Teens will be given the option to incorporate a memory piece such as a photograph or image. A brief techniques demonstration, tools, materials, and support will be offered by a visiting mosaics artist.

The event is free, but registration  is required to attend

Questions? Please contact or call 781-641-4741.

Belmont Girl Scouts
Stop By For a Visit

Thank you to the Belmont Girl Scout Troop for coming to The Children's Room! 

They donated art supplies that will help children, teens, and families to express their grief. They also worked together as a group to create signs that will help cheer on our Boston Marathon team as they make their way to the finish line. 

Thank you for supporting us and for such a fun visit! 
Our Heartfelt Thanks
to DeVito Funeral Homes
TCR staff members Deborah Rivlin (left) and Kim Cayer with Jonathan DeVito, of DeVito Funeral Homes

Thank you,  DeVito Funeral Homes , for nominating us for a grant from The Matthews Foundation--
a $1,000 grant which we were grateful to receive recently!

Special thanks to Jonathan DeVito (pictured) for taking time to stop by our center to share in the good news. This grant will help us provide much needed support for grieving children, teens, and families. 

Volunteer in Our Garden

Are you interested in gardening for a good cause?

Our garden volunteers play an important role in making The Children's Room a welcoming and peaceful place for grieving children, teens, and families.

The Children's Room holds several Garden Volunteer Days throughout the year. We're also looking for volunteers interested in helping us out with routine weeding and maintenance between the larger group days.

If you are interested in learning more, please contact us at or call 781-641-4741.

Community Tours

To RSVP for a scheduled tour or for more information, please contact  or call Becca at
781-641-4741 ext. 334.

Shopping With A Purpose

Please remember to support TCR when you shop on Amazon!

A portion of your eligible purchases will be donated to TCR when you shop through

Vehicle Donation Program

The Children's Room has partnered with Donate for Charity to make it fast and easy to donate your old vehicle to TCR. Your vehicle will be picked up - free of charge! - from anywhere and TCR will receive a donation in the amount of the vehicle's value.
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1210 Massachusetts Avenue, Arlington, MA 02476


Phone: 781-641-4741   

Fax: 781-641-0012