Family Feuds: Interruptions in the Grief Process

Grief is a natural response to loss. It can be felt in many ways. Grief’s impact can be emotional, social, spiritual, physical and financial. It is as individual as the person you loved and lost. Grieving while living away from family and friends can be especially difficult. This is a place where you can share your thoughts, and get ideas on how to cope. It is here for you to get support and validation.

Family Feuds: Interruptions in the Grief Process

Postby dscowan » Mon Oct 14, 2013 8:29 am

It can be difficult to attend to your grief when relatives are fighting after the death of a family member. Not only do you mourn your deceased loved one, you may also find yourself grieving the loss of a living person.

Stress and grief can bring out the worst in people. Sometimes the fighting is about “stuff.” Adult children, spouse, ex-spouses, and relatives that haven’t been seen in a while show up wanting “stuff.” Some just take what they want without asking.

Other times it’s a bit more involved. Maybe one adult child wants to clean out the closet, but the other sibling isn’t quite ready. Perhaps there was a divorce and the divorced spouse was still the one to provide care. However, the will was changed and other family members have deleted the ex from getting anything.

Or, the out of town family member is angry at end-of-life decisions that were made in his or her absence. The in-town family members are angry at the person for being away. Sometimes the fights revolve around funeral planning.

The scenarios are endless. The unfortunate part is that in-fighting masks or interrupts feelings of grief that family members experience at the time of death. Not only do you mourn the death of your deceased parent, you may find yourself grieving the loss of your living sibling.

Consider what is at stake during these times. What was the relationship like before the death of the family member? Can things be reconciled? Can relationships be repaired? Do you want reconciliation? How important is the “stuff?” Just as grief is unique to the individual, the answers to these questions will be different for everyone. Grief is hard work. With family and friends by your side and drawing from each other’s strength, it can become more manageable.

Thoughts?
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Re: Family Feuds: Interruptions in the Grief Process

Postby carmella12 » Mon Oct 14, 2013 6:14 pm

Hello everyone, its been a long while since I have been on this site. Its been 19 months since my husband passed away and it never got any better. To top it all off this topic hits the nail on the head. Would you believe that I still have family members that do not talk to me because I wasn't ready to let some of my husbands things go to certain family members? So yes this does happen quite often. Isn't it something, people don't call to ask how are you, just hey can I have that thing that was once your husbands, oh by the way don't worry about it I will take good care of it, now can I have it?? Whoa what a slap across the face. When I lost my husband I did give small items out, but I guess that didn't mean anything. Now some people want what I will call the money items. Before my husband passed away he reminded me that nothing was ever given to him so remember that when people come knocking on the door, so I AM! I will let them be mad because what do I have to lose now. I lost my husband, what am I suppose to do make everyone else happy with stuff he bought for us? No I don't think so. Since my husband passed, I have found out that this is a doggy dog world. No one seems to care about what I am going through now. They are too busy living their wonderful lives. They don't have time for me nor do they call to see how the hell I am doing. One day just you wait and see they will walk down that path that many of us are walking down and then they will see what hell we are going through. For some of my family members I hope that I live long enough to see them go through what I am going through. Then maybe they won't be quick on the trigger to say," Oh but Carmella he is better off, he's not suffering, he's in a better place. I still can't believe you haven't gotten over him passing, you should be moving on by now. I don't understand why your still crying everyday." I know this sounds terrible of me but this is what is happening in my life. So it is still pretty brutal.

I am not sleeping, nor am I thinking right yet. I am having a hard time making a decision still to this day. I have talked to my daughter who seems to be the only person that is suffering like I am still, and she is just as lost as I am to this day.

So I take it one day at a time, it's all I can do. To anyone on this site that reads this please stand your gound when dealing with people that want your loved ones stuff. Isn't it enough that you lost someone that meant so much to you. Try your best to avoid a fight, let them know you need more time. If they can' wait, tell them," see ya when I am ready." Whats the worst that can happen, oh I'll tell you they wont talk to you for over a year.

Take care everyone and thank you for letting me vent.

Carmella
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Re: Family Feuds: Interruptions in the Grief Process

Postby dscowan » Tue Oct 15, 2013 7:56 am

Thank you for sharing your story Carmella. I am hoping others will share their story as well. We can all learn from each other and it's good to know that we are not alone.
Take,
Diane
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Re: Family Feuds: Interruptions in the Grief Process

Postby KarenH » Tue Oct 22, 2013 11:14 am

This topic reminds me of a conversation I recently had with a bereaved family member about how even very close-knit families can run into challenges being loving and supportive when they are faced with a situation (a sudden death) that in her words, "rocked our world." She and her family were stunned not only by their loss, but by the intensely negative interactions they were experiencing with each other. The reminder of grief being unique for each person was important, as well as some brainstorming of how to communicate with each other about opposing opinions on sensitive topics such as funeral arrangements, distribution of belongings and the like. Be gentle with yourself, and when able, with others in the family who may be struggling in their own way.
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Re: Family Feuds: Interruptions in the Grief Process

Postby mason23 » Wed Jan 22, 2014 10:43 am

I have found in my work with grieving people, a situation like Carmella’s is all too common. Family members can often fight for the smallest items, insisting they are entitled to it. Bitter fights can often erupt. This intensifies the grief one is already experiencing, anger being the common reaction. Family members can have a difficult time letting each other grieve in their own way. Each grieving person is entitled to their own grief. They get to decide what works for them and what does not. Talking to someone outside the family circle may help validate your feelings and help you remember, this is your grief journey. It is personal.
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Re: Family Feuds: Interruptions in the Grief Process

Postby kincaid59 » Fri Feb 28, 2014 10:41 am

Families! Don't you just love them! It's amazing how the worst in people can come out after a loved one dies. I was so surprised when my father died how people strived to get their own needs met. I was accused of hiding things, taking things, prolonging distributions and manipulating. What was worst, I was accused by the person that I most expected support from and got no static from the person I expected to raise any potential problems. In the end I had to hold on to knowing that I was doing the right thing, doing what my father wanted, regardless of the feelings, thoughts, impressions and needs of other family members. What mattered was that my father trusted me to carry out his will the way he wanted, not the way others wanted, and I did just that. My accuser held a grudge until they died. That was the real loss. What a waste! I think in the end it all comes down to our own values and ethics, the ability to let go of things we cannot control, and the peace that comes with knowing we are doing the right thing.
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Re: Family Feuds: Interruptions in the Grief Process

Postby LDials » Thu Apr 10, 2014 4:04 pm

The emotions that are experienced in grief are very intense and overwhelming at times. Displacing one’s anger grief emotions onto living persons in their lives can happen. For example, I worked with a person who found herself becoming very angry at her sister after the death of her mother. This person realized after taking time to self-reflect that it was not her sister that she was angry at but her mother for dying and leaving her. One can understand how a person finds themselves at a place where they are displacing their anger emotions about losing their loved one. Displacing one’s anger on a living person has consequences. It is important to allow yourself the time and space to let out your grief emotions in a safe place. Try to identify who and what you are angry at before reacting on your anger emotions. Be gentle on yourself during your grief journey.
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