Sunrise: Grief and Relationships

By David Coy

How should a family member react if another is in sorrow over a traumatic loss?  How might the loss and the systemic trauma affect relationships within a family unit?  It may come about that something will pull a family closer together.  Often hardship will bring people to a closer unity than they were before the injury befell the family.  I remember September 11, 2001.  Immediately after the tragic loss of innocent life, our country came together in magnificent unity.  This can happen in a family also.  A tragedy can bring one another closer together.


What usually happens is we remember our purpose with one another.   We again begin to support and strengthen each member (1 Corinthians 12:25-26; Ephesians 4:16).  As happened with our nation briefly.  This remembrance will endure when we are genuine and sincere with our focus on the needs of others in our family system in regard to strengthening and supporting.  We also will be compelled to console in time of trouble and sorrow (Romans 12:15). 


The opposite may also happen.  We may grow further apart.  There are a few reasons why this could happen.  One, the griever is not accepting the reality of their changed life.  This places hardship on the remaining members.  Second, those who are supposed to be supporting refuse to cope with the sorrowing member (some think they cannot deal with the sadness).  Third, the supporting members think they know how one is to grieve and proceeds to dictate in what manner and duration mourning is to take place.  This is completely misguided no matter how well intentioned.


Compassion, long suffering, kindness, love etc., and a listening ear are what are needed. 

This is Sunrise.