The death of a parent is the most traumatic event most families will ever experience. The primary support after such an event comes from the surviving family members and close friends who knew the deceased parent. Additional help can be received from psychologists, grief counselors, and other professionals. Resolving short term shock and long term grief following the loss of a parent can be extremely difficult based on the age of the remaining family members and the relationship they had with the deceased parent. It is important to use all resources available to get the family through such an experience. Families who experience the death of a parent, without the support of extended family, friends, and professionals frequently struggle with drug use, depression, and alcoholism.
The Random House Dictionary of the English Language (1966) defines grief as keen mental suffering or distress over affliction or loss. From a psychological standpoint, bereavement – generally held to signify the emotional state and behavior of the survivor following the death of a person who fulfilled dependency needs – is a temporary condition from which the individual is expected to recover (Sills, 1964, p. 24). All individuals are different and factors such as age, relationship to the deceased, cultural background, and religion can impact how they grieve and mourn. Because of these and other differences, there is no timetable for when some ones grief might end. Some may work through these feelings in a period of months while others continue to struggle years later. Still, most individuals do recover from their grief.
Grief is a social process and should be dealt with in a social setting so that people can support each other, and their reactions to such a loss. This social matrix should consist of people who knew the deceased and can help to support each other. When there is an absence of such a social network,... [continues]
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