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Dr. Z
Dr. Z, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 10566
Experience:  Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.
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My brother died 5 days ago very suddenly, his daughter was

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My brother died 5 days ago very suddenly, his daughter was on vacation, we thought she would come home immediately, she didn't. She came home today and was very stoic and detached. She was very close to her dad, I'm struggling with her reaction. I'm worried about her. What should I do?

DoctorZ :

Hello I believe I can help you with your concern

DoctorZ :

I am very sorry about your brother's sudden passing, I can imagine how this must be impacting your family

DoctorZ :

Your niece, is definitely going through grief right now at the sudden loss of her father and everyone goes through grief differently

DoctorZ :

At 5 days it is still very early in the grief stage, so giving her time to adjust and adapt to this new situation is key. But you can mention to her that you are always there for her when she needs someone to talk to.

DoctorZ :

Here is a quick handout describing grief in more detail for you

DoctorZ :

Many individuals avoid and are in a state of denial at first, but then slowly begin to talk about and become more engaged. Some also like to be alone with their grief and that may be why your niece did not come home right away and it detached, she may like to process her grief on her own and in her own way.

Customer:

Should I try to engage her or just leave all conversations open?

DoctorZ :

You can definitely try to engage her, but do not push her to talk about it if you she does not feel inclined to. You can ask her if she wants to talk and if she says no, then respect that, but mention to her that when she does want to talk that you will be there for her.

Customer:

We're Italian, this is not our way,

DoctorZ :

This is not your way to not openly talk about it or not your way to hold things in, like what your niece is doing?

Customer:

We cry and carry on when we grieve, we are demonstrative, not stoic, I am just trying to understand her reaction and love her through this awful time

DoctorZ :

Well has your niece ever experienced the passing of a loved one before?

Customer:

No

Customer:

How will I know if she's moving forward ?

DoctorZ :

So this is definitely a new situation for her that is obviously not a pleasant one and she is grieving in her own way, which will take time for her. Maybe when she sees how other family members grieve, she will be more demonstrative with her grief and talk about it more opnely

DoctorZ :

You will know that she is moving forward when she starts to live her life again, she does not appear detached, when she talks about him she remembers a lot of the good times and smiles at those memories, these are some signs that she is moving forward

Customer:

I will look at the link you provided, thank you, XXXXX XXXXX to be patient with her even in my own grief.

DoctorZ :

This is obviously something she has never experienced with before and she is also learning how to adapt to life now without her father and grieving at the same time, so she is going through a lot. It is good that you care for her and provide her with support, that will help her through this process

Customer:

thank you

DoctorZ :

Anytime, I am always happy to help

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