One of the toughest things for any family to go through is some form of tragedy. In today’s world, tragedy is really often waiting just around the corner. Car accidents, house fires, workplace accidents, crime and, in today’s world, even terrorism can strike at any time – often leaving a family devastated by one or more loss.
That’s one form of tragedy. There are many others including tragic events that are expected. The loss of a child after a long illness, while expected, can still be devastating. What concerns many counselors is that families don’t seek some form of counseling following these events.
If there is an event in a school, the students are all offered counseling. If there is a crime in the home, counseling is often suggested to those involved. Yet there are many tragic events that occur where families should be seeking some form of counseling. Some families survive and grow stronger while others slowly fall apart – often bitterly.
So why do some families survive these tragic events while others fall apart? Counseling, of course, plays a huge role for some families. However, families that don’t seek out counseling still survive, and one of the major reasons is communication – not being afraid to share their own feelings with their partner. More importantly, each partner being open and allowing the other partner to share their feelings – with acceptance and no recriminations.
What often pulls families down is the blame game. “if only you had ……” or “if you hadn’t have done …….” are just two of the blame game type statements made. Often, the statements are very true, but that only enhances that person’s own feelings of guilt. The blame game cannot reverse what has happened. People have to move on in their life and while grieving is an important process, doing it alone can be almost impossible.
If tragedy does strike, seek out a family counselor as soon as possible. They can help you understand your own feelings, and help your progress through the grieving stages to rebuild your life. Although it is hard to believe, there is a life after a tragedy, and as a family you need to work together to achieve it.