Coping with a Death in the Family

Death is an unfortunate part of life, and if you have suffered a death in the family you’ll have to be prepared to cope with a serious trauma. But what practical things can you do to make this time as smooth as possible? These tips can help you make a deeply difficult event as easy as you can for yourself and your family.

Grieving is an important thing for us all to do before we can move on.

First of all, while it can be tempting to go into work simply to ensure you don’t leave anyone hanging, if you feel you need a few days off, take them. Compassionate leave is not uncommon and even if you have to take a few unpaid days because you have no paid time off left over, go for it. It is hard to overstate the effect a death can have on you, and if you push yourself too hard it will be far more difficult to recover later on.

Don’t sweat the small stuff. Of course your family still needs to eat, but there has never been a time more appropriate for lazy cooking, takeaways and restaurant food than the death of a beloved family member. You may also find that many people are driven to bring food to the bereft family and they will keep you fed for quite some time if you let them. Don’t worry about kids who don’t want vegetables – this is not a time to argue about unimportant bits and pieces.

Many families find themselves stressing and worrying about the remembrance service or ceremony their loved-one really wanted. Set that aside for now; the service is not for the departed but to help those left. Focus on the needs of your family and friends and make sure those are met. You can represent your loved-one through music, readings or even video – whatever feels right to you and your family is what’s right to do here.

Taking small children to the ceremony is a contentious issue, and many people don’t know what to do. The best plan is to work out whether the child would gain any benefit from it. Older children who understand that granny is gone can really find that the ceremony provides them with some closure, but smaller kids who aren’t yet as aware of their surroundings are often more of an interruption than they really need to be. If you want them with you at the meal, you can arrange for a friend to keep them and drop them off at the right time. Again, do what’s best for you!

Image from Getty

Helping children come to terms with the loss is a big undertaking.

Finding some photos of your loved-one and displaying them can be a great way to help you hold onto the love you feel for them. Beautiful frames can be found in virtually any shop and the Kodak Picture Gallery, as well as a host of other services, allow you to cheaply print off digital photographs on photo paper. If, however, you feel it’s too soon to be displaying these photos and the act of doing so will cause you more strife, don’t push yourself; the point is to find your comfort zone and stick to it. You can always put them up later!

Above all, remember that your grief is your own, and give yourself the space and time to feel it. We all lose people we love throughout life; allowing yourself to cope with the loss in your own way and time is one of the most important parts of life.

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