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Shalee Shares What It’s Really Like to Lose a Sibling

Shalee Shares What It’s Really Like to Lose a Sibling

“It was the worst news of my life,” shares Shalee. “We were all in complete shock. I remember not being able to sleep, not being able to eat, and not feeling like I could go on.”

When Shalee (Bullinger) Lorenz was just 14 years old, she lost her one and only brother, Mike, to suicide. The days and weeks that passed were a blur. Shalee shares, “I know I couldn’t have gotten through any of this without my amazing parents and my family and friends.”

“The week that Mike passed away feels like a blur but there were also a lot of memories that I will cherish forever that happened that week. Tons of family and friends gathered all week long at my aunt’s house leading up to the funeral. We had bonfires, played all his favorite CDs, had a balloon release, and people gathered in front of our house for a memorial.”

Sibling Support

Losing a sibling at any age, but especially as a child, can be very confusing. Shalee explains, “Since everyone grieves differently, it was hard to figure out what I needed to do to get through the tough days.”

“Something that is hard for me to this day is seeing siblings argue or fight. I would give anything to get my brother back and have those sibling moments. I think about Mike every time I see it happen.”

Baby smiling

Shalee offers this advice to parents who are helping their children grieve the loss of a sibling: “Just be there for your kids and work with them to figure out how they need to grieve. Every person grieves differently. My parents tried hard to help me get through losing my brother. Be willing to go through ups and downs until you find what works.”

Frequent Memories

Shalee remembers her brother often. “I still think about Mike every day,” she explains. “The day my son was born was a hard day. I know my brother was watching down on me and my son because he helped make sure the most beautiful baby boy was safe after a kind of chaotic labor and birth. I named my son Corbin Michael, in honor of my brother. I know he is one proud uncle!”

“I didn’t want people to forget him and stop talking about him. Still today, 13 years later, I absolutely love when people bring up stories about him, or even when I see his friends and we talk about Mike. I absolutely love it because I know he is still with everyone and know that he has not been forgotten.”


Every fifteen minutes someone ends their own life. Suicide affects families, friends, and neighbors. More importantly, suicide is 100 percent preventable. By bringing suicide prevention awareness to Grand Forks and our communities, we can provide help and support for those who have considered suicide as well as their loved ones. Learn more about TEARS (Together we Educate About the Realities of Suicide) >>