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Summer Time, Family Time, Grieving Time

Summertime offers the opportunity to rest, relax, gather with family and have fun.  The days are long, with sunlight warming the earth and our hearts.   Enjoying the outdoors is the gift that summer gives, bringing with it many outdoor rituals that we experience year after year.   Summertime can also be painful when you are grieving.    How do you enjoy the activities of summer when your heart is broken?

One way is to take time to communicate and to plan with your family.   It might be too painful to participate in the same summertime activities that you enjoyed with your loved one.   Yet even in the pain, it can be healing to hold some of those same summer time activities, sharing past memories, and creating new ones together.  Communicate with your family, what you may need or how you feel as you plan these events.  Talk about how you will spend the  summer vacation or summer gatherings without your loved one.

Share the loss with family.  Play a family softball game, go fishing together, hold your family re-union or picnic, go biking together, go to the cabin or resort, play in the pool or lake together, or simply sit outdoors.  Maintain open communication with family members, and encourage family to listen.   Each family member will grieve in their own way.

“Death creates new bonds in some families as individual members pull together to cope with their shared loss.  Surviving a common loss as a family, can result in a renewed sense of closeness and cohesion, a better understanding of each other’s strengths, and enhanced communication and flexibility.

Happy Summer!

Handbook of Thanatology, 2nd Edition, David K. Meagher and David E. Balk, Editors, Association for Death Education and Counseling, Routledge, New York, New York, 2013.




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