Grief And Loss

Dealing with Siblings after your Parent Dies



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"Dealing with Siblings after your Parent Dies"
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I am the oldest of three children. We were raised by a single mother and she died in 2002 at the age of 56. I was 35 and no one could have prepared me for my mother's death as I expected her to live much longer. Who wouldn't? Following her death, we all were in shock, upset, mad, and felt guilty. These are all the normal reactions when someone close dies.

But we had to work together to plan her funeral, divide her belongings, and end her affairs. You would think that families should come close and depend on each other but it was the opposite. Through it all, we wound up yelling and screaming. My brother went so far as to curse me out right in the church for something I said.

The hearse driver hugged me and told me that men deal with the death of their parent differently than women. And that was the only thing that I still use today to forgive him for the things he said.

Depending on how close you are to your siblings, here are a few ways to deal with your siblings:

1. If you are able to get emotional support from each other, then congratulations! Most people dream of this type of relationship.

2. If you are not able to get emotional support from each other, then you should quiet your mouth and limit your feelings of blame and judging your siblings. Even if they are judging you or trying to make you feel guilty about your relationship with your parent, just have the ability to know when to let go of the power struggle.

3. Speak only when necessary. If you see your two siblings fighting, do not get involved or expect both of them to turn on you. The time is to conserve your energy. Seek comfort in your spouse or more importantly in some form of spirituality.

4. Know that your involvement with your siblings should be:
Make the burial arrangements
Arrange for the headstone
Disbursement of material goods

5. Know that if a sibling takes all of the furniture, or jewelry, or clothes, that you need to decide if the battle is worth fighting over. What I had to realize is that the couch used to belong to my mother and in the end it was only a couch.

Good luck and the best way that you can deal with your siblings is to prepare in advance. Find out if your parent has a will. Think about what you will do if you are faced with these responsibilities.

More about this author: Chip Martin

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