When Ramendeep Dhoot suddenly lost her only brother her life turned upside down. She then took the brave step to write about her experiences in the hope it would help others cope with an unbearable loss.

Ramendeep who grew up in Wolverhampton says her first book ‘Herman’s Sister’ is inspired by her brother. 

She said: “The book was born from a place of great pain. In 2019 my beloved brother and only sibling passed away in front of my mum and I. It was sudden, unexpected and premature. What followed was an unrelenting and unbearable feeling of anguish and despair.

“It wasn’t supposed to be like this. We were supposed to go through life together. My greatest support had been snatched from me, just like that. Not only did I lose him, but I lost myself that day to. Life was rearranged.

“Many in my family have passed away – uncles, aunts, grandparents etc. However, sibling grief felt invisible to me. Like it didn’t matter. My grief for my beloved brother was on another level. Something I’d never experienced before.

“There’s so much out there for parents, children, spouses. Not much for siblings. It felt wrong and I wanted to do something about it, so that others with similar experiences didn’t feel alone.

“It's so important to talk about grief, because it’s always there for the bereaved person.”

She kept a journal for over 20 years, capturing some of the simplest and profound moments, not knowing one day it would lead to her sharing these thoughts with others.

Her book and accompanying website www.siblingstars.com aims to help bereaved siblings.

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Ramen felt there was a real ‘void’, particularly within the Asian community when it comes to ‘acknowledging’ grief.

“It can change people, cause mental health issues, changes your perception of the world and makes you question your existence and the very meaning of life.

“Grief is being talked about more and more, as I see a change on social media, but it is still confined to those on the other side of grief. A community formed through tragedy.

“Those who haven’t experienced it yet, need to understand how to help those left bereft and truly heartbroken, as their lives are never the same again.

“People whose centrepiece of their lives have passed away want to talk about them, say their name and keep them with them as much as possible. However, society feels the need to ‘carry on like normal’.

“People don’t know what to say, think or do. I want to change that. I want people to behave differently and not put a timeline on grief, because it’s always there. The severity of the anguish may reduce, but the void, as life goes on is always present.”

Ramen said she encouraged her family to talk about death.

“The subject was always frowned upon, dismissed and discouraged by my mum. I started doing it when my dad went to sleep and didn’t wake up. So, it always felt like something I needed to talk about.

“However, my experience is the Asian community wants to move on very quickly, not acknowledge the grief, which happens months and years later and expect time to be the cure, so they life can get back to normal. The point is, there will never be ‘normal’ again. You have no choice. You recreate life again.

“Talking about grief doesn’t always have to be depressing and morbid, but if after the initial despair, family and friends can talk about the loved one in a way that doesn’t always brings sadness, but can bring smiles too. I do this with my brother and think of all the jokes we shared. Talking about grief isn’t negative, but can bring comfort and love.

“I truly believe that if we as a society embraced grief and people felt more comfortable with talking about it, then a lot of other issues that people develop as a consequence of not being able to share their pain would be much less.”

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