Dear Ms. Vicki,
My brother is currently attending basic training for the Air Force. We dropped him off in November, and I get to see him in 13 days when he graduates.
I have noticed that there are a lot of sites for parents and spouses of people in the Air Force, but I don't see anything for siblings. Everything says spouses and family, but when I look at the articles, they all pertain to spousal support, divorce and family benefits.
I don't want to know what the benefits are. What I'm wondering is if there is some type of site or blog for people like myself who have brothers or sisters serving our country. It would be great to be able to share my thoughts and stories with other siblings and get some insight as to how to cope with not having your first best friend around anymore.
Having him gone is a very weird feeling. It's like he's almost passed away because I can't see him or talk to him, but I know he's still out there. He's alive and so happy and doing so well, so it's not like I have something to grieve other than the loss of his everyday presence in my life.
I don't have a specific place to go to talk about how I feel or to speak to people who can relate to this.
You seem to know a lot, and I did notice you were a licensed therapist so I'm hoping you could help me find some outlets and avenues to be able to share my thoughts and feelings with other siblings. I would love to hear back from you if you have the chance to reply.
Regardless, even writing this to you makes the whole situation feel less daunting on my heart. Thank you for taking the time to read this.
Thank you for writing for more information. I think it is so great that you want to stay involved with your brother while he is serving our country. He will definitely need your support and the support of other family members and friends.
My quick advice is to stay in touch with him often and encourage others to do the same. Also, attend as many of his graduations from different schools and as many of his promotion ceremonies as you can. It will help you learn more about the Air Force and other branches of service too.
Your brother is embarking on a new journey and one that can be quite different from others, while being rewarding just the same. Your emotions about his service are normal. Many civilians report that they have no clue about the military or military service until a loved one begins serving.
As a quick note, you are included in "the family." So anytime you see a site for family members that includes you too. Anyone who is involved with a service member or involved in their care and well-being can be a part of the military family.
I understand there may not be many siblings involved, but I encourage you to take part in the different blogs etc. You can encourage other siblings to get involved. Please continue to check Military.com for valuable information.
Lastly, when your brother completes all of his initial trainings and reports to his new duty station, he will have a Family Readiness Group for his unit. Ask him to add your name and contact information to the group email list. The group leaders and others will stay in touch with you to let you know what is going on in his unit that you can join.
Give your brother my best and let him know that I am proud of him. I would like for you to stay in touch with me so I can be a part of your support group too. Take care.
-- Ms. Vicki