14 Dec This Holiday Season: Don’t Let Grief Divide Your Family


It’s Normal For Grieving Family Members

To Drive Each Other Nuts!


Leading your family through the holiday season—in a healthy and relationship building way—is easier to accomplish when everyone involved understands what’s normal for grieving and healing.  And after the death of a close loved one it’s normal for grieving family members to drive each other nuts.  Even irritate each other!  Why does this happen?

  • Each family member has a different life experience.
  • Each family member has a different way of perceiving, processing, and expressing.
  • Each family member problem solves differently.
  • Each family member has his or her own way of dealing with stress.
  • Each family members relationship with the deceased loved one is different.
  • The death experience has been different for each family member.
  • The intensity and duration of grief pain is different for each family member.
  • Normal Grief Responses vary for each family member.
  • We each navigate our personal grieving and healing journey in our own way and on our own personal healing timetable.
  • Some family members are glass half full people—and others are glass half empty people.


This is why:


  • Some family members want to talk about it and others do not.
  • Some family members want to display pictures and others do not.
  • Some family members want to keep family traditions the same and others do not.
  • Some family members want to go through the belongings and other do not.
  • Some family members want the Urn displayed and others do not.
  • Some family members want to visit the cemetery and others do not.

The list is endless…


Brain and Heart Rewiring


Your brain and heart are in the process of rewiring to an environment which no longer includes your loved one.  As is everyone else in your family.  Additionally, everyone in your family is working through the pain of grief.  And everyone in your family is mentally, emotionally, and physically working through the process of moving from having a physical relationship with your loved one to one of memory.  There’s more:

  • Your personal story has changed.
  • Your family story has changed.
  • This is a time of great transition.
  • Everyone is navigating the process of moving into a new way of life without forgetting the old.
  • Healing does not mean forgetting your loved one. It is not possible to forget someone that we love.
  • Grief work is difficult and exhausting.


Do I Want To Be Right?  Or Do I Want A Relationship?


Everyone needs to ask themselves this question when differences and emotions heat up.  Because as individuals and as a family the goal is healing and relationship building.  This is achieved by:

  • Encouraging each other.
  • Planning together.
  • Avoid numbing feelings with excessive spending, food, alcohol, or drug use.
  • Eat real food.
  • Hydrate with plain water.
  • Practice healthy boundaries.


List Time


Make a list of who and what is driving you nuts.  After you complete this task make a list of healthy compromises that you can make.  And how you can address family members and the situation in a healthy and healing manor.  Or—just right down everything that is driving you nuts right now. Get it all out.  However…


Don’t Set The House On Fire


Sometimes we are able to experience relief and clarity just by writing everything down on paper.  And I mean everything—and then ripping the paper to shreds so no one ever sees it.  However, some people like to write things down on paper and then burn the paper.  Word of caution.  Do this outside in a firepit.  I have a widow friend who years ago wrote down her grief related rage and then put the papers in her home office waste basket and lit the papers on fire. The bottom of the basket melted and set the carpet on fire. The fire moved fast! She had to call the fire department.  Explaining why the fire department was there to her high school children when they arrived home from school…




Next Blog:  Ways to honor your loved one’s memory during the holidays.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *