Family Support

Download Feb 11 smallI have observed a pattern in many grieving families. They fear that if all the family members express the depth of their pain at the same time, the family may cease to function. “What will happen to us if we all have our hardest day on the same day?”

The community may assume that family members have each other to lean on through their grief. Family members do support each other, but when all of them are doubled over from the pain of loss, they have limited energy to help one another.

Family members also try to protect each other. They don’t want to trigger one another’s pain by expressing their own sadness.

Don’t presume a grieving family does not need you because they have each other. Check on the ones you are most connected with. Provide them a place of safety where they can express their pain or sit with you in silence without worrying about the impact their grief will have on you.

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Dr. Patrick O’Malley is a psychotherapist in Fort Worth, Texas, specializing in grief counseling. For 35 years, he has counseled individuals, couples and families in his private practice. Dr. O'Malley has recently published a book, "Getting Grief Right" about grief recovery.

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