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It is quite remarkable how so many families become estranged following a bereavement. At the very time when each one needs support, and should be there for each other, there is often bitterness and discord. Where a will is obviously unfair this is understandable but there is also another dynamic at work. It is easier to get embroiled in conflict than to engage with grief. We are unconsciously looking for someone to blame and so we project our anger onto that person rather than face the depths of our pain. Getting caught up in a blame game, while it creates a distraction from our grief, to the extent that it forces the departed out of the picture, can only serve to postpone the inevitable grieving process. The only way out of grief is through, and blaming someone is simply a diversion from the real painful issue. Where this situation gets out of hand, legal proceedings are often instigated, which comes with the customary advice for both partied not to engage with each other but only through their solicitors. Rather than resolve the problem this just cements the estrangement.

Fr Jim Cogley


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