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After a loss, family members often deal with their grief in different ways. Grief can draw families closer together. Sometimes, it can pull them apart.

No one can prepare you to handle your grief, but learning about grief and how it affects your family can help you get through the difficult times together and even grow stronger.

A World Upside Down.

When you are grieving, you tend to be in a state of chaos. Grief may challenge your beliefs, disrupt your routines, and can even throw your life into turmoil. People will express grief in their own way. Men tend to take an active approach to handling their grief, whereas women tend to feel more comfortable talking openly about their emotions. But these are only tendencies. Most people draw from both types of behavior. It is important to remember that there is no right way or timetable to grieve.

Through a Child’s Eyes.

As a parent, the first reaction to a death in the family may be to protect your child from the pain. Be careful that your protective instincts don’t make it more difficult for your child to grieve.

Children have a different understanding of the finality of death based on their age. Let them know that they are not alone in what they are feeling and reassure them that they will be OK.

On the Path Towards Healing.

Family members resolve grief at different times and in different ways. Experts say that it may take years to adjust to the loss of a spouse. Children may process grief over a period of years.

Once you have accepted the loss, it doesn’t mean you have forgotten. This is an important point for children. Remembering this can help them, and you, move forward with life.

Dealing with Loss.

There are many ways that can help you and your family deal with grief, such as talking about the person who died, telling stories, and expressing what the person meant to you. Try to wait at least 1 year before making big decisions but plan for holidays, birthdays, and the anniversary of the death. These times might be more difficult for you and your family. Respect your personal grieving process. Don’t try to fit your emotions to other people’s expectations of how you should be feeling. Give this same respect to others’ grief response.

Bottom Line.

You can’t predict how you will respond when someone you love dies. Reactions to loss depend on many factors, such as your relationship with them or if you have had other losses in your life. Take some time to learn about grief and how it affects you or your family. This can help carry you through the difficult times and even help strengthen your family.


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