Chapter 2: Common situations

Re-engaging with difficult family members

After a death, some people need distance from family members.

For example, you may not be ready to face a weekly Sunday brunch right now. You may find that family members offer unhelpful and even hurtful advice that causes you to pull back. Some families do not talk about the death at all. This can be difficult if you need to share. For others, being vulnerable with family while grieving is too risky.

When (or if) you decide to reconnect with family members depends on what you believe is possible. Staying away may do you more harm than good. You may need to be brave and show up to a dinner despite your fears. Or it may be necessary to set limits with your family such as not being drawn into a conversation you know from experience will be upsetting.

For more information, see Module 7, Caring for yourself