We tend to think of grief as an individual process. Families sometimes have a very hard time with the aftermath of a loss. Understanding how families are affected by loss can help the healing process. Thriveworks Baltimore Counseling has grief counselors on our team who can help families understand how to grieve together and to heal together.
Grief Is a Family Affair
The loss of a family member leaves a void in the family’s structure and in the way the family operates. They tend to adapt over time but aren’t always aware of those changes. How families make these changes can impact how well the family heals.
- Roles Change – When a person dies, their role in the family is unfilled. Family members must decide who will fill the role and how. Is the role filled? Who takes on those responsibilities? How that is decided will shape the family moving forward.
- Dynamics Change – The family is faced with dealing with the loss. How the family interacts changes. Conflicts can arise over the loss or about the “new” way the family is operating. Communication can break down. Sometimes this breakdown can fracture a family’s bond.
In our moments of grief, it can be easy to forget that our loved ones might be struggling too. Sometimes reaching out to work together can enhance the healing process.
- For Parents: Your grief is two-fold. You are grieving the loss of your loved one. Your children also rely on you to maintain stability for them as they grieve. It can be overwhelming. You have to take care of yourself so that you can take care of them and be present for them. Reach out to trusted friends and family for help or support. You don’t have to go through the process alone.
- For Couples: You will each grieve in your own way and in your own time. It’s important to grieve together as well. Offer to listen. Ask to talk. Be patient with each other. Above all, be present.
- For Children: They often need help from adults to understand what is happening. Take time to talk with them. Let them ask questions or simply express their feelings. Remind them that there are no right or wrong feelings. Just like adults, they are experiencing a flood of intense and confusing emotions.
- For Siblings: Be kind to each other. Offer your support. Accept their support. Your brother or sister may be experiencing feelings very different from yours. There is no right or wrong way to feel.
- A word of caution with children: be careful what and how information is shared. While it’s important to talk about what has happened, it’s important to provide information that is age-appropriate for the child. Consulting with a child therapist can help with those decisions.
Reach Out for Help at Thriveworks Baltimore Grief Counseling
A family’s level of functioning after a loss reflects how well they are coping with the loss as a family as well as individually. If you are concerned about the way your family is coping with your loss, Baltimore Grief Counseling can help.
At Thriveworks Baltimore Grief Counseling, we have experienced counselors who can help you and your family get through this very difficult process and begin to heal as a family. Your family can heal together. Call us today to schedule your confidential appointment.