08/15/2009 05:12 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

When Your Sibling Dies

Watching Michael Jackson's brothers say good-bye to him at the memorial was so painful. Watching his children was even worse. The entire family will have to live with the loss, the rest of their days.

Things are supposed to go in order. First you lose your Grandparents, then your parents (when they are really old and you are on your way to old) and then it's your turn. You are "on deck" once your parents are gone. Your children and your siblings are supposed to stay on this journey of life with you until the end.

I lost my Mom when I was seven so I have known since then, just how disorderly life can be. She was there one day and gone the next. Living with that kind of loss changes who you are forever. I'm not sure whether it has helped me better deal with future losses, or has made them even worse. I feel deeply for Michael Jackson's three young children because no matter who takes over, and how loving they may be, those three are going to have a bumpy ride.

I got the call over Thanksgiving weekend that my 40 year old brother had passed suddenly. My baby brother, who was supposed to get married (one day), have kids, be an uncle to my son and grow old with me was gone and I would never see him again. Just like that.

Sibling grief isn't talked about much. I don't even know what to say now in answer to the question, "How many brothers and sisters do you have?" Strangely, since he passed only eight months ago, that question has come up several times. I would always say, "I have four younger brothers." What do I say now?

If you have lost a sibling, I know you can relate to all this. Yesterday would have been his 41st birthday. There was no one to call and say Happy Birthday to and there will be one less call when my birthday rolls around in September.

The other day when we were driving somewhere, I noticed a parked car with the license plate "Deedles". Deedles was what my brother used to call me. Right above the plate was a big bumper sticker that said, "Hope". Probably just a coincidence, but it sure felt like a message from Jeff. Hope that there is something after we die. Hope that I will see him again one day. Hope that there is meaning in his passing. Hope.

I will miss him everyday, for the rest of mine. RIP Jeff.

Jeff Rubaum 1968-2008

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