1. Don’t be afraid to say our dead sibling’s name. We don’t want their memory to die, too. We want to tell you everything about them.
2. If we erupt in tears spontaneously while recounting a story about our deceased brother or sister, don’t be scared. We don’t mind crying for them. They deserve our tears.
3. Expect us to be moved at seemingly odd times, because certain things undetectable to others—a song on the radio, a line from a movie, a brown hair clinging to the back of a stranger’s shirt—are bound to make us remember. Learn our triggers and love us for them.
4. There will always be a piece of us missing—a piece that lived in our sibling, comprised of years of shared experiences and irreplaceable memories, that can never be regenerated.
5. We can’t be “fixed,” but we don’t want to be. It seems right to stay a little bit broken for the rest of our lives.
6. The day our sibling died, our soul aged at least twenty years. We didn’t want to mature, but we were forced to grow up in certain ways.
7. We’re no longer capable of getting so upset about the little things in life because we’ve seen the bigger picture—it was shoved in our faces way before we were prepared.
8. We understand that life’s unfair, and that no one can do anything about it.
9. Eternal optimism kind of annoys us.
10. So does over-dramatization. If you prolong a fight with any of your siblings, we will think you’re especially idiotic. Just make up and get on with it already. And be grateful.
11. If we didn’t already have a taste for adventure, we developed one in response to the unwelcome glimpse at how short and fragile life is.
12. We earned our why not? attitude. So don’t question our intent when we randomly declare that we’ll be getting a tattoo, or that we want to take an impromptu trip. Nothing’s wrong. We just want to remember that we’re alive.
13. Our sibling’s birthday will always be a day to celebrate, because we can’t imagine our existence—our story—without them.
14. Similarly, the anniversary of their death will always be a day for mourning. The pain of our loss doesn’t fade; it just changes shape over time.
15. We might speak about the possibility of dying more frequently than the average person, but that shouldn’t be cause for concern. Part of us looks forward to joining our sibling on the other side, even if we’re not all that spiritual or religious.
16. The way we talk about death in general probably seems shockingly matter-of-fact, but we can’t help it. We know too well that people die, sometimes way before their time.
17. Depending on your stance, we might come across as emotionally hardened, or impressively resilient.
18. We will want to visit their grave completely alone sometimes, for a one-on-one chat.
19. In fact, you’ll probably catch us speaking out loud when no one else is around pretty often. Talking to our sibling is a habit we might never shake.
20. We might ache for our sibling on the occasions you fail to react to a story or a joke as they would have, but our disappointment that you aren’t them isn’t meant to offend.
21. We cannot imagine having only one child. Why invite life on a person if you plan to deprive them of the sibling bond?