After a funeral at a funeral home in Tallahassee, FL, it is common for family members – especially those that are more distant, but sometimes even those who are the closest ones – to drift away from the family and never come back into the fold.
If your loved one who died was the matriarch or patriarch of the family and the central force that kept the entire family together and in touch with each other, this loss of connection is much more likely.
Sometimes there are fractures – temporary or permanent – among immediate family members, especially if there are already existing tensions or problems among siblings. However, even if the siblings don’t have any problems at the time of your loved one’s death, fractures may happen after their death because of legal matters such as wills and inheritances.
It’s even more common, though, that distant family connections break after your loved one dies because they were the thread that ensured that those connections were intact. With distant family members it is likely that many of them live in different places, lead different lives, and may have only seen each other a couple of times a year for holidays.
This doesn’t have to happen after your loved one dies. There are many things that surviving family members can do to strength the immediate and distant family unit after a funeral.
One thing you can do is to get everyone’s contact information, including email, social media accounts, phone numbers and addresses. Initiate a regular practice of sending a short update email to everyone every few months or create a private family group page on social media where family members can post updates about themselves and their families.
If you have relatives who aren’t using email or social media, be sure to check in with them by sending them a text message, calling them, or sending them a short handwritten note or card every few weeks.
Another good idea for strengthening your family after the death of a loved one is to create a family newsletter that gets published every three months.
Invite family members to send news and pictures of their family events or milestones that you can be included in the newsletter. Take advantage of the technological skills of various family members to make this a collaborate project so that you don’t have the sole responsibility for putting the entire newsletter together from start to finish.
A third way you can strengthen your family after a funeral is to plan regular gatherings, either in small groups, or with the entire family. One of the best ways to do this is to have an annual family reunion.
Pick four or five locations where family members already live that might be good locations (enough hotel and restaurant accommodations, as well as activities) for reunions. Circle through each venue as you plan reunions so that the tasks of planning them (securing blocks of rooms in hotels, setting up one or two meals in restaurants, etc.) is split among different family members and doesn’t depend on one person doing all the planning every time.
If feasible, it might be a good idea to have one reunion in the rotation take place near the cemetery of the family patriarch or matriarch so that everyone can visit their graves and future generations can learn about the history of their families.
While it takes work to strengthen families after funerals, the effort will pay off.