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The Empty Room


The Empty Room: Understanding Sibling Loss by Elizabeth DeVita-Raeburn

Ted is Elizabeth DeVita-Raeburn's older brother, best friend, and the "ringmaster of her days." On a September morning when she is six, she wakes up and ted is gone. Her parents explain that he went to the hospital for a while. "A while" turns out to be eight years in a plastic bubble, where he dies of a rare autoimmune disease at the age of seventeen. 

In this unflinching, haunting recollection of life with Ted, Elizabeth DeVita-Raeburn also draws on hundreds of interviews and creates a larger exploration of the enormous -- and often unacknowledged -- impact of a sister's or brother's death on the remaining sibling. 

Finding little in professional literature, DeVita-Raeburn realizes that those who suffer the loss are the experts. And in the end, she and her experts present a larger, more complex understanding of the sibling bond, the lifelong impact of the severing of that bond, and the tools needed to heal and move forward. 

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