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Handling The Difficult Loss Of A Loved One

While many of us do understand that one day, we may lose a relative, it’s never any easier when that happens. The first thing to keep in mind is that there’s no ‘right way’ to respond to that situation when it happens. The emotions you may express at the time may be contrary to those other relatives have, and that’s okay. We all process these life events at a different pace, and at different times.

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As parents, sons or daughters, and siblings, it’s important for us to know how to proceed in this manner. For instance, planning the funeral and contributing to those plans such as selecting the casket and estate planning ahead of time can be helpful. But knowing what to do and how to explain this to our children is just as important. Emotionally processing and readjusting to a new normal takes time, but it is a healthy process to follow. The more we can understand this, the better we can make it through, even if making it ‘easier’ is not necessarily the goal to follow at this time.

With the following warm advice, we hope you can encounter this process with more confidence. Let’s begin:

Approach The Topic With Your Children Carefully

It’s tough to understand these topics even as an adult, but that can go even more so for a child. For this reason, we need to approach this topic with some sensitivity when helping our children understand what has gone on. It’s important to use careful language to help them see this as a life event that is non-threatening and not scary, to the best of your ability.

For instance, using terms like ‘passed away’ or ‘passed peacefully in their sleep’ can be a good way to help children gently ease into understanding. Sit them down somewhere safe and speak to them on the same level as them, holding their hand and giving them some time to ask questions, which they will invariably want to do. It’s okay if your child is upset, it’s sad to see this but it shows they’re processing their emotions healthily. A family meeting where you can come together and discuss this with maturity can do a lot of good for you as well, as keeping everyone on the same page will help you unburden yourself with complex tasks by getting the difficult one out of the way to begin with.

Come Together With Your Close Ones

Families can be tough, and are often the most complex interpersonal relationships you will hold throughout your life. During this time, it’s good to rely on the people who care for you, and vice versa. Speaking candidly and honestly, and having time to just sit with one another without worrying about being ‘productive’ can be very helpful.

Just being around your family can be nice at this time too, because it helps you feel the love around you and the willingness to get through the tough times. Of course, if there are elements in your family that you do not think would be good to communicate with overly at this time, don’t be afraid to reserve that space for yourself.

Give Yourself Some Time To Reflect

While being with others is very helpful, it’s okay if you need some downtime by yourself, too. Having a long bath, going for a walk with your dog, meditating, or simply sitting quietly and writing down your thoughts can be very helpful. Most family members will understand this, and will only begin to worry if you clearly begin to withdraw from them. Being honest about your needs at the moment can dispel any illusions of this, provided you offer the same to someone in your family, too.

Ask For Help If You Need It

As a parent, or just an adult, it can feel as though you need to put on a brave face and be perfectly okay until all is said and done and you finally have time for yourself. There is virtue in being able to stand up and help others during a difficult time, of course, but asking for help when you really need it is also virtuous. Many people think they have to lock all their emotions away, which always have a way of presenting themselves.

Ask for help if you need it. You’re not weaker for it. You’re just human, going through a difficult human experience that will all have to deal with at some point. Keeping that in mind can help you avoid being ‘perfect’ and ‘correct’ and instead, you can be healthy and process this time as best you can.

With this advice, we hope you can find some help and guidance during this tough time.

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