The 5 Stages Of Coping With Family Loss – Grief Explained

The 5 Stages Of Coping WithFamily Loss – Grief Explained

As people are now living well into their eighties and beyond, we are experiencing an increase in terminal illnesses with our friends and family. The sudden death scenario, whilst shocking and tragic, sometimes seems easier to deal with in comparison. In effect, we are now faced with a process instead of an event and the grieving activity has also gone through a period of transition. This article deals with what is known as the 5 stages of grief and how we can hopefully cope with each of these vital stages of life’s journey.


When we learn about the family member or friend who has been stricken with a terminal illness, it causes a huge amount of anxiety and even panic. We often struggle to come to terms with our own emotions and the actual news itself can be swept aside by the ensuing drama we are experiencing. Anger, guilt and resentment are all a part of this stage of the process and many families can become divided during this terrible time. The whole equilibrium of the family is threatened and each and every member has to cope with this news in an unfamiliar way.


Once the news of impending death has finally sunk in, the family begins to pull together and old grudges are soon cast aside.  The needs of the dying relative are elevated above all else and the family will start to speak to the social and medical teams who are already preparing for the inevitable climax. This stage of the grieving process can forge bonds within the family that can have a positive effect that will last for years to come.


If the terminally ill relative manages to deal with his/her condition longer than originally anticipated, the family may well start to become ambivalent towards the whole process.  Mixed feelings will come to the surface and the lifestyle changes that were readily accepted could start to cause some form of resentment. It is at this stage where the family really must stay honest to each other and any unpleasant feelings should be voiced, however hard that may seem.



The 4th stage of grief is typified by dealing with long-term resentments and rivalries. The skeletons must be flung from each and every closest in order for the family to be able to move into the final stages of grief. But this opportunity will not present itself forever and those who fail to pick up the baton may look forward to decades of guilt and frustration. This is why so many families never quite recover from the death of one of their members and it is a tragic side-effect that will no doubt spell the end for many relationships.


After the family member finally succumbs to the terminal illness, the family can celebrate the life that has just been lost. Another door has opened as the family start to look forward to a different future without their dear departed relative. This is when all bygones should really be cast asunder and the family can revitalize existing relationships for a brighter future.

A Journey With Wings
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Keith Dunham is a part of the team at Abbey Cremation, providers of cremation services in Connecticut. Keith is an avid blogger and writes to express his views and opinions on various topics.


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