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Transform Sadness in Death Advice

Written by Success Television

Transform the sadness around a parent's death into life affirmation. Advice on succesfully handling the emotions around death in the family.

Now 53, and without parents, Jane Brooks knows more about who she is. "It's a paradox because although you experience a great loss and long for your parent, you feel more like an adult without that parental cushion," she says.

"You fine tune your values, and redefine yourself as an adult. And the disappointment you once felt in your parents diminishes. You learn how to amplify their positive aspects."

Even people with less-than-stellar relationships with their parents can find inner resolution. "You need to come to terms with yourself that you haven't been able to make peace and learn to accept it."

 
ADVICE
Put inheritance into a fund for 6 months to give you time to assess the situation
A contribution to your parent's favorite charities can be comforting.
Consider starting a scholarship fund.
Take care of your finances; write or revise your will.
Talk to your children about your end-of-life wishes. 
 
Family dynamics can't help but shift after the death of a parent. The strain can re-fuel long forgotten sibling rivalries especially if your parent's affairs have not been resolved. Brothers and sisters may quarrel bitterly over inheritance or mementoes. "Often a stumbling block in peaceably settling an estate is the lack of good communication," explains Brooks.

Don't do too much right away, she advises. Time can heal wounded feelings, so whenever possible allow at least a month before dismantling your parent's home.

You can prevent arguments by agreeing in advance on how to divide things up. But the best solution may be to talk with your parents. Even if it's difficult, find out what kind of burial they prefer and any other end-of-life wishes. "If you haven't done this and are at odds with their beliefs, it may add to your grief," she explains.

And even though the death of a parent opens a path to introspection and can initiate a journey into self-discovery, remember to first give yourself the time you need to grieve. Recognize that you may not get the solace you're seeking from co-workers or friends, since they may view the death of a parent as part of the natural order of life.

Talk about the experience with the people you love. If after a few months you're having trouble sleeping, working or relating to others, seek help from a counselor or support from a bereavement group.

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