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Coming to Terms With Adult Sibling Grief: When a Brother Dies From AIDS

Eaves, Yvonne D. PhD, RN; McQuiston, Chris PhD, FNP, RN; Miles, Margaret Shandor PhD, RN

Journal of Hospice & Palliative Nursing: May-June 2005 - Volume 7 - Issue 3 - p 139–149
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Little attention has been given to the topic of adult sibling loss in general, or specifically to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS)-related loss. This article illustrates the usefulness of a written personal narrative as a way to express grief and give meaning to the loss experience. The narrative interpretation provides insight into the complexity of adult sibling grief in response to losing a brother to AIDS. Narrative methods were used to retrospectively construct a personal story that describes a researcher's grief and loss experience following her brother's AIDS-related death. Narrative analysis was used to interpret this personal narrative and to uncover the complexities of the adult sibling grief experience. Coming to terms with terminal illness, death and dying, denial, figuring it out, readiness, coping, regret, uncertainty, missing out, “getting it,” and fear of disclosure were themes that emerged from analysis of the narrative.

Yvonne D. Eaves, PhD, RN, is Assistant Professor in the School of Nursing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Chris McQuiston, PhD, FNP, RN, is Associate Professor of Nursing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Margaret Shandor Miles, PhD, RN, is Professor of Nursing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Address correspondence to: Yvonne D. Eaves, PhD, RN, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Nursing, Carrington Hall, CB 7460, Chapel Hill, NC 27599 (e-mail: Yvonne_Eavesunc.edu).

© 2005 The Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association