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MH370 Disappearance – Families Dealing With Tragedy

Posted on: Thursday, April 10th, 2014

With the disappearance of the Malaysian Airlines, Flight MH370, many families are dealing with tragic grief. Families do not know what happened to their loved ones and why. This state of not knowing creates a complex form of grieving akin to grief associated with the suicide of a loved one where no note is left behind.

One of the main challenges that families face when dealing with grief is that each member of the family is going to deal with this grief differently. One person may want to move on with life and are then perceived by family members as ‘not caring enough’ and possibly ‘in denial’ of the loss. Where as other family members who want to slow down and mourn may be perceived as not being ‘practical’ and being ‘irresponsible’ and ‘neglecting’ the day-to-day requirements of living. These approaches to grief cross each other and may ensue anger and resentments can build within the family. In some cases these differences can lead to blame, separation and divorce, long standing feuds and unforgiveness or grudges.

It is important to validate each person’s individual experience and to acknowledge everyone will be processing the situation differently. Grief may be delayed by months or years or may be dealt with in the initial stages of grief by working frequently. Neither way is good or bad but both experiences need to be supported by those in the family and those who are external.

To show support we should work towards:

  • Taking turns listening to each other or being quiet together
  • Not setting timelines for when grief should be over
  • Getting external support such as:
    – letting someone else pick up the dry cleaning and even do
    groceries and watch the kids, as well as other things that you
    can afford to delegate
    – counseling
    – joining a grief support group when your own resources and
    supports seem limited

Going through a tragedy as a family can never be easy even though there are many people involved. Grief can be especially challenging when there is mystery surrounding the tragedy such as in the case of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370.

To those families with members on board – we stand with you.

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