Thursday, June 4, 2009

Feeling Greedy?

It's always a difficult time when someone we love passes away. We feel pain inside where there used to be wholeness. We hope that in time the pain of grieving will pass and we will feel whole once again. What happens to us when greed takes over our family after a tragedy? How do we cope with the ensuing drama and chaos that threatens to stall us in our grieving process?

We may experience losing a loved one as a crisis. The pain of loss, comfort, support and safety is too great to bear. This may lead to acting out grief through greed. Often times when a loved one passes away there may be infighting among family members trying to grab a share of the pie. This type of activity can stall the grieving process. The daily drama directs energy away from allowing feelings to progress naturally through the stages of grief. We may end up stuck in one of the five stages, denial, anger, bargaining or depression. Our goal is to attain the fifth stage, acceptance, but our journey may be frought with difficulties when bickering takes the place of solace and empathy.

If we are not permitted the chance to feel and process our pain and loss we may become unable to move forward with our lives. We may shut down our feelings and become numb. We may opt for self medication, abusing alcohol, drugs, gambling, sex or food. We may make hasty decisions that do not reflect our usual ability to respond rather than react. Our inability to process our grief may affect every area of our lives from our health to our relationships.

We may behave in abrasive and insensitive ways when we are filled with pain and sadness. We may become absorbed in our loss and attempt to grab more than our share of the estate of our loved one in an attempt to fill the gaping wound we feel inside. We must come to realize that no amount of things or funds will replace the person we have lost. The pain will not be mitigated by filling our lives with trinkets. The loss is real and we must come to terms with it. This will only happen as we permit ourselves to move through all the stages of grief.

Creating a diversion of drama over assets may take our mind off our loss for a time, but eventually we will be faced with the enormity of the fact that our loved one has passed on. If we delay our process we will only increase the amount of time it takes us to become whole once again.

Our most healthy choice is to reach out for support from those who love us and are willing to stand by us during our time of trial. We can attend support groups at local area hospitals, called bereavement groups. They are designed to help us get through our loss by encouraging the expression of feelings that come to us during the processing of grief. We are supported by others who have also lost loved ones and are traveling the same road.

Our lives may become quite tumultuous following the death of a family member. We must take time out for self care. Especially if we are responsible for the care of remaining family, it is imperative that we make the committment to ourselves to use our tools, practice self care on a daily basis, reach out for support to our network and higher power, and allow ourselves time to process our own feelings. If we need to attend a bereavement group, it is a gift we give ourselves. We do whatever we can to soothe those around us, giving ourselves the same soothing in the process. Life will return to balance in time. We must learn the art of acceptance.

A wise woman once said: "The hardest part about life is accepting reality when we don't like it."


  1. Thank you so much for what you have to say! It's what I try to say all of the time when people do not understand grief, but sometimes can't quite say it as clearly as you have.

    Kim Carolan
    President, Carolan Creative Enterprises, LLC

  2. Thank you. I appreciate your insights. Your devotion to your Father's memory is very touching. Best of luck to you in your efforts!!