sorrowful black man touching head in dismay near supporting wife

Losing a parent will always hurt no matter how old you are, especially if you have had a loving relationship with them for many years. Studies show that 63% of people aged between 45-54 have witnessed the death of one or both of their parents. Dealing with death is tough because you have to deal with your grief and loss, and you might also have to deal with family dysfunction. Even if you have a relatively tight-knit family, the death of a parent can bring a lot of misunderstanding, which, when combined with grief, can be a recipe for disaster and ruin your family’s relationship forever. Fortunately, that doesn’t have to be your situation, and with these five tips, you can avoid conflicts and handle your grief better. 

  1. Encourage open communication

Communication is more important than ever before and after the death of a parent. It encompasses several areas, including discussing end-of-life plans with your parents and simply sharing words of sympathy and encouragement with your siblings and other relatives. 

Bottling up your feelings would only worsen matters for you and your relatives. Instead, use communication as a tool to deepen your bond. While grieving is a tough process, time may eventually heal your pain, and it would be nice to still have healthy relationships and family traditions. 

Aside from that, communication would also help address any family member’s concerns. It could be related to finances, business, or any other matter. It can also help make decision-making much easier and speed up the grieving period. 

  1. Respect your parent’s wishes 

One of the biggest reasons conflicts arise after a parent’s death is a lack of understanding and respect for their dying wishes. When everyone is on the same page about what your father or mother would want following their death, it leaves little to no room for interpretation and, thus, no disagreements. So, what should go into your parent’s end-of-life plans? It should cover how they would like to share their assets with their surviving relatives, funeral arrangements, and knowing where important documents are, including a written will and bank accounts. Ensure that all these plans have been written. That is one of the few ways to validate your parent’s wishes and get everyone on board. 

  1. Honor your parent

The death of a parent can bring out the worst in people, even you. Sometimes, your emotions can get the best of you, and grieving can make you say or do hurtful things to your family. In some cases, most families never recover. But that shouldn’t be the case for you. One way to ensure peace in your family is by identifying a way to honor your deceased parent. For example, if they enjoy gardening, you can plant their favorite tree in the backyard or start a new family tradition. By doing so, you and your family will receive the opportunity to grow closer and keep your parents’ memories close to you. Coming together can also help you support each other as you grieve. 

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  1. Hire a probate attorney

Try as you might, you cannot do everything and carry the burdens of your family after the death of a parent. Because death generally puts families in sensitive situations, it’s always best to try and maintain a good relationship. One way to do so is by hiring the best probate attorney, especially if your parent dies with no will or you’ve been made executor of their will. A probate attorney is your best bet for avoiding family conflicts regarding inheritance or estate administration. It also prevents disputes from escalating into court cases that take several years to resolve. 

  1. Respect your family’s grieving process 

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Coming to terms with a parent’s death varies from person to person. So, even if you share the same blood with your loved ones, you’re likely to grieve differently. For some, grieving can cause depression, whereas others grieve by reminiscing on the good times they had with the deceased. Others may also want to deal with it alone. Remember that just because someone isn’t crying or talking about the death doesn’t mean they aren’t dealing with the loss. When you realize this, it can prevent any conflict from arising as you become more understanding. It’s best not to criticize how a person grieves. 

These tips should help you navigate your family dynamics after the death of a parent. If your parents are still alive, now is a good time to discuss their end-of-life plans and how the family can come together.

By Erica Buteau

Change Agent. Daydream Believer. Maker. Creative. Likes love, peace and Jeeping. Dislikes winter, paper cuts and war. She/Her/Hers.

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