The process of grieving a loss can prove challenging to members of any family. As each individual member moves through the stages of grief and works to come to terms with the loss, families can struggle to regain the balance and dynamics they once had. If your family recently experienced a loss, you must both understand and allow for this period of family grief and rebuilding.
Failure to Grieve
The grief process is an important part of getting over a loss. Many families, eager to get on with life as they knew it, try to rush this process, or even skip it entirely. While this desire to move on as rapidly as possible is understandable, the failure to properly grieve can have serious consequences, reports Hospice Family Care. Not allowing themselves to grieve can lead grief-stricken individuals to internalize their emotions, later leading to emotional issues. If your family or a family that you hold dear is dealing with loss, encourage all involved to let themselves move through this vital healing process.
Stages of Grief
The grief process consists of seven stages. These stages include shock, denial, anger, guilt, sadness, acceptance and growth, reports the Department of Federal Occupational Health. While psychologists who study in the field believe that all individuals move through each of these stages at one point in time before reaching acceptance, not everyone moves through the stages at the same rate, potentially creating challenges for families, as each member may be in a different grief stage at the same time.
Some families struggle to communicate during the grieving process because of the different ways in which they process grief. One family member, for example, may attempt to move on with daily life while grieving internally, while another may take time out to grieve before continuing with day-to-day living. These differences in the way family members approach grieving can create conflict, as some family members fail to understand or accept that their fellow family members are grieving in their own way, even though they may appear to be unaffected by the painful loss.
Reshaping the Family Dynamic
If the loss with which the family is dealing was a member of the family unit, the grieving process will also include the struggle of reshaping the family dynamic. When families lose a member, the entire way in which they operate must change to accommodate this absence. For example, if an older brother dies, the younger brother may no longer feel that he has a confidant and struggle to find a new person with whom to share his secrets, a father may feel that he no longer has a child upon whom he can depend, and a mother can struggle to modify her habits to reflect the presence of one fewer individual. Often, this dynamic change happens gradually as the family comes to terms with the loss and is finished by the time the family reaches the end of the grieving process.
Getting Over the Hurt
While you shouldn’t skip grieving altogether, there are some things you can do to expedite the process and allow yourself to get back to normal more quickly. As WebMD reports, talking about the pain may prove effective, particularly if you discuss the loss with others who are also moving through the grieving process. Taking time to relax is another wise choice, as doing so ensures that you are not run ragged trying to handle the rigors of daily life mixed with the challenges of coping with your loss. Seeking counseling can also help families in coming to terms with the loss and rebuilding their family unit post disaster.