Recall - this is a sample family grieving policy.
6) We feel
to cry alone and with each other, when we
need to. This is true for each of our boys, girls, women, and men. People who
their anger and hurt - and cry it out - are naturally releasing stressful
chemicals, not "weak"!
It can hurt our health to
We encourage feeling
about our losses, as long
as we don't hurt ourselves, others, Life, the Earth, or important things.
This is part of the
to help each other evolve and live by;
8) We believe it's good to
any person or Being who caused us to lose someone or something dear -
ready to. Forgiving is a good way to set ourselves and others free
anger, resentment, guilt, and stress;
9) It's good
for each of us to remember
the people and things we've lost in our own ways, with love and appreciation. As
we come to accept our losses, some sadness may stay - e.g. on
10) We believe
it's good to ask
for help from
each other when we need a hug
and/or an ear, to be held or
comforted, or some information about our losses or other people's feelings, opinions, or
beliefs. It's good to pray
for help or understanding or patience or strength or guidance - alone and together;
11) We encourage
people in and outside our family to tell us honestly if they feel burdened by us as we grieve, or if they can't listen to or support us at the
moment. It's OK to not help a griever if we feel too distracted or weary!
12) It's good to
- and mean - "I did," and "I'm sorry" when
any of us
causes a painful loss to another; And to...
13) We want to
proactively help ourselves and other family members move through our mourning phases. Each of us can
decide what things and memories we need to keep, which to let go of, and when to do
so. We can't decide these for someone else;
We strive to accept
that we can't heal another person's hurt, or fill the holes
in their life that broken bonds make. We can patiently love, support, and be with them, as they fill these
holes themselves over time;
15) We agree
we really can't know what a mourner is feeling and thinking, even
if we've lost what they have. Saying "I know just how you feel" can be
disrespectful and aggravating, not comforting. Asking gently "what's this (loss) like
for you now?" - and really
- can be more helpful.
16) It can help to
make a special diary and/or a scrapbook about what we lost, what we miss, how we feel,
and anything else we need to do. If anyone does this, they can keep their writing private
without guilt or shame, or show it to people they trust;
17) We support being alone with our
grief-related thoughts and
feelings as w mourn, as long as we don't overdo it. It
also really helps our grief progress when we
talk to trusted others about our
losses and feelings;
18) We believe no
one has to mourn like anybody else: we each find our
of saying goodbye and accepting our broken bonds when we're ready;
We will affirm
and encourage any adult or child whos grieving, if we choose to - and
to. Affirming can sound like:
"I feel really good that youre able to feel __________ / talk about
______________ / cry about __________ / take your time with _________ / face ________,
/ ... Good job!"
We will each experiment
and change how we mourn, over time - there's no perfect way!
21) We'll learn
from our losses -
e.g. to really appreciate and enjoy the special people and things in
our lives while we have them;
22) We want to help each other enjoy
life as best we can, and care well for ourselves while we mourn,
and after the confusion, hurt, and anger have faded;
23) We'll get special (professional)
help if any of us gets really stuck
in moving through their grief levels and phases.
The adults in each of our family homes are responsible for deciding if and when this should happen, and for
Policy About Supporting Mourners
When any of our family
members has a significant loss, the others will try in their own ways and within
their limits to:
Understand and believe in our
good grief process;
Ask our loser what they need from us from time to
comforting, and available "enough";
from our hearts - often -
trying to "fix" our griever;
Offer patient, warm acceptance and encouragement, without
rushing their process.
Honestly say when we've heard enough or need to attend our
Be as steady, realistic, honest, and optimistic as we can;
Be at ease with strong feelings in us and our
Avoid distracting our loser
from their feelings by asking too
many intellectual questions;
Hold and hug our griever when needed, and respect their wish
to avoid these at other times;
Work towards knowing how and when to smile, laugh, and share
comfortable eye contact;
Be comfortable with shared
Hold no secret bad feelings (like resentment) about giving of
our time and attention;
When it seems OK, gently remind our mourner of the new choices
that always appear from their losses;
Make our home a safe
place for our family members and
others to grieve well;
Care for and love our Selves
just as we do for our
| These statements
form our family policy on how we want to mourn our broken bonds. Using this policy is important to each of us,
because incomplete grief can make people stressed, unhappy, or sick.
Notice how you
feel and where your thoughts go. Reflect for a moment on what the (probably unspoken) policy about grieving
was in your childhood and ancestors' homes. Compare it to this one.
Reflect further on what the
mourning beliefs and practices are in your present home, and in key relatives' homes. What
do you think might happen if your family adults took the time to evolve and
a "pro-grief" policy like this one?
I caution you against using this
sample grief policy as it stands. Your policy
will best evolve through many family talks, meditations, and several
drafts. Perhaps outside counsel would add value. Allow your policy to grow and emerge as
your family develops.
As with family
and clarity help in evolving personal and family
anger and grieving policies
that are really useful. If you can distill your key grieving beliefs and goals down to
page - and then display that page (maybe signed by all, and/or framed) in a public
part of your home - it's more likely to work for you all!
This sample policy is longer because it
includes some points yours might not need.
This article is one of a series on healthy
personal and family grieving (Lesson 3). The series
exists because incomplete grief seems to be a major stressor for many
troubled people, relationships, and families. This probably
stems from widespread psychological
+ ignorance of healthy-grieving
This article provides a sample
family "good-grief" policy. If you change "we" to "I" it
becomes a personal grieving policy. This sample is based on two premises:
all individuals and families form an
unconscious policy (beliefs + values + rules + consequences)
on how to handle bonding and broken bonds "right," and...
most such policies are
ineffective or even harmful because of the inherited [wounds +
What is your family's
policy on mourning significant losses - and how healthy is it?
more awareness about bonding, losses, and good grief,
keep studying Lesson 3!
Pause, breathe, and recall why you read this article. Did you get
what you needed? If so, what do you need now? If not - what
Is there anyone you want to
discuss these grief-policy ideas with? Who's answering these
questions - your wise resident
Also see this article on anger policies.
Anger is a normal part of healthy grief.