The Family’s Reaction From the family’s point of view, there are typically distinct reactions to friendships. Often because we are geographically, socially, or emotionally detached from our families, they are unaware of our close relationships. While they may have heard of their names, they may not have met these significant people in our lives. The family rarely realizes that the manner in which they react to their loved one’s relationships affects both the living relationship and the grief process. Families may perceive others as competition for their affections and time and hence may try to exclude them from participating in important decisions needing to be made. Examples of these decisions include planning a meaningful memorial service, making the necessary funeral arrangements, or even selecting the burial clothing. Often the family “takes care of their own” at the time of a death. Those outside clear and immediate kinship can be easily forgotten. Coping with Death in the Workplace Since victimization as a result of a substance impaired driving crash is so random, it is not unusual that someone in your business or corporate family has been personally impacted by such a crash. Many working individuals spend half of their waking hours in their work environment. Coworker relationships can be closer than those within a recognized family. Colleagues can become dependent upon each other, working as a team and active as a mutual support system. When a member of the team is suddenly absent, even temporarily, those who are left behind may feel sad, angry, disoriented, and powerless. Employees who have recently experienced other significant stresses or losses are most vulnerable. If you have lost a coworker in a substance impaired driving crash, consider talking with your manager about your needs related to the death. Things such as time off of work, how to reach out to the family, and mental health benefits that are available may be helpful to discuss.
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