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Suggestions for family members who have recently experienced the death of a loved one
from the website of the Fire Department of New York's
Counseling Services Unit.
Things To Try To Help You Cope
It might seem odd to be focusing on routine things
like fixing meals or household chores but keeping to
your normal routines can be very comforting and
grounding. Here are some additional things to try at
- Talk to others, including family, friends, or
religious advisors about your feelings - talking is
the most healing medicine.
- Give yourself permission to feel whatever you feel
- good or bad.
- Be patient with yourself. You are not expected to
act or feel normal.
- Reach out to others who are facing a similar
- Take care of yourself as a parent, aunt, and/or
friend. Children and others will take your lead.
- Whatever religion or spiritual practices you may
have - this is the time to use them. Call upon your
spiritual advisors or community of faith.
- Allow yourself crying time - public or private.
- Let others help you do small tasks.
- Spend time with others - do not feel you have to
talk to anyone about how you are feeling but allow
others to be around you.
- Eat well-balanced and regular meals, even if you
don't feel like it.
- Try to sleep and rest as much as you can.
- Exercise - even if it means walking around the
- Keep a journal - write down thoughts and feelings.
- Try not to make any big life changes at this time.
When To Reach Out For Help
As you read through this list understand that it is
normal to experience some of these signs and symptoms.
These signs and symptoms should diminish over time but
sometimes the traumatic event is so painful that professional
assistance from a counselor may be necessary. This
does not imply craziness or weakness. It simply
indicates that the particular event is just too powerful
for a person to manage by themselves.
Some Signs And Signals To Look Out For In ADULTS:
- Fear, disbelief suspicion, anger, anxiety, or
- Short temper, moodiness, and irritability
- Confusion, numbness, and flashbacks
- Difficulty in making decisions
- Excessive helpfulness to other disaster victims
- Loss of appetite
- Crying for no apparent reason
- Increased effects from allergies, colds, and flu
- Rejecting or feeling disappointment with outside
- Isolation from family, friends, and social
Some Signs And Signals To Look Out For In CHILDREN:
- Constant headaches and stomach aches
- Reluctance to go to bed or sleep alone ever
- Insomnia and recurring nightmares
- Withdrawal from family and friends
- Fantasies that nothing has happened
- Temper tantrums and/or crying constantly
- Shortened attention span
- Plummeting school performance and/or refusal to
- Refusal to eat
- Drug and alcohol abuse by older children
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