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A Family Manifesto

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In Times of Grief and Loss: A Family Manifesto

  • If you need space to be quiet and alone, I will honor your needs.
  • If you want to be close, I will make every effort to relate in a loving and receptive way.
  • Talking about our loved one, sharing memories and pondering the "why's" of our loss are necessary parts of grieving. When you want to talk, I will do my best to listen without judgement of your thoughts and feelings.
  • We don't need to hide our sorrow or find places to cry alone. When tears come, you are invited to let them flow. I will try to do the same.
  • We will never take for granted that we are doing well just because we aren't talking about our loss. Let us agree to regularly check with each other, discussing ways to be more supportive and nurturing.
  • During the first year and perhaps beyond, we will make a point to celebrate the memory of our loved one on holidays and anniversaries. We'll expect to feel a greater depth of sadness on these days and we'll try to plan meaningful activities together.
  • Disposing of personal items that belonged to the person we loved will be done slowly, making every attempt to consider all of our feelings.
  • Sometimes our sorrow will affect our family relationships in surprising or unpleasant ways. When this occurs, we will try our best to explore our feelings, making every effort to resolve them together.
  • Some of our family members will adjust to our loss sooner than others and that is okay.
  • We understand that no one of us can meet all of another person's needs, especially during this difficult time of grief. It is alright if we turn to people outside our family for help and support.
  • If one of us is "touchy", moody or says something we don't mean, we will try to remember that we have all been deeply injured in different ways. We realize that pain lingers even when it is not discussed.
  • We understand that the world too soon forgets about our loss and acts as if nothing ever happened. For this reason, our family will support each other over the long haul.
  • We will not assume that any of us is either too young or too old to grieve.
  • Trying to be "strong" for others often postpones grief and the rebuilding process. I do not expect you to be strong for me. Rather, I will take responsibility for my own healing.