We were all pretty close while we were growing up, but my twin and I are 6 years older than my brother.When we went to college it left a huge gap in our relationship with him. By the time we all graduated from college, we were dispersed all over the country. Careers, marriages, and children pulled us apart even further. I don’t think people realize how important the sibling relationship is, or how important it will become as we get older.
Siblings provide different types of support for each other as they age. As losses and health issues increase with age, siblings rely on each other more and more for social support.
One researcher, Goetting (1986, as cited in Cicirelli, 1995), believes that the amount of help that siblings give each other during adulthood and old age is based on their childhood and adolescent relationships. Once they leave home as young adults, the amount of help that they give one another is based on the similarity of their roles and their feelings of affection. During early and middle adulthood, they provide companionship, emotional support, and occasionally financial support for each other. They can usually be relied on for help during times of crisis, and typically cooperate with each other in order to care for their elderly parents. With advanced age, support from siblings becomes very important.
I miss my siblings, but we’re in touch often. I’ll always look forward to our special visits, and cherish the time we spend together.