A grieving man described the sadness he experienced due to the behavior of some family members after his wife’s death. “My adult step-children asked me about our wills before the day of her funeral had ended. I could not believe what I was hearing. How could they be so insensitive on this of all days?” “Was their behavior out of character?” I asked. “No, not really. They have always seemed only interested in her for what she could give them materially. They saw her as an endless resource to meet their needs. But, I expected better of them at her death. I love them but right now I do not want to be around them. Their behavior felt like another layer of grief.”
Understandably, we expect exceptional behavior from troublesome family members and friends when a loved one dies. Indeed, some individuals “rise above” their usual way of doing things at a time of loss. But loss does not always create an exemption from the difficult behavior of those in our circle. Experiencing troublesome relationships during a time of mourning adds pressure to what is already an emotionally stressful time.
If your loss story includes the experience of difficult family and friends, be careful about the energy these relationships require. If you believe reconciliation is possible, try to do so on your time schedule. If reconnecting is not possible, allow yourself to mourn this added layer of grief.
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