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Honoring the Memories of a Lifetime

Around The Town Enewsletter

 

Around The Town Enewsletter is published throughout the year by Buch Funeral Home and distributed as a free service to families we have served in the past or those who have subscribed to our Enewsletter.

 

 
 
 

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JANUARY ISSUE

Helping A Grieving Parent With The Death Of A Spouse

Filing A Tax Return For Deceased Relatives

Different Types Of Grief

Historical Figures Salute - Jackie Robinson

Helping A Grieving Parent With The Death Of A Spouse

 

Coping with the loss of a spouse is a devastating challenge; likewise, losing a parent is one of the hardest obstacles many people have to face throughout life. When faced with your own tremendous grief, how can one provide their surviving parent with the needed support to overcome their grief of losing their beloved partner? It’s a common situation that many adult children will face. While there is no easy solution, there are some helpful tips and strategies to help ease your parent’s grief, while managing your own.

 

It’s important to remember that everyone experiences grief differently. The grieving process for losing a spouse and for losing a parent will differ. Because of this, make sure to let your grieving parent express their emotions and communicate their needs. One person may merely want to know that they have the support of friends and family, while another may be so devastated that they can’t find the will to leave their bed.

 

One of the biggest challenges that comes with the death of a spouse is excepting the new reality of everyday life. Many spouses divvy up tasks such as cooking meals, paying bills and cleaning. If the surviving spouse never handled the couple’s finances, suddenly being thrown into these tasks can be overwhelming. If you are aware of which parent handled what duties around the house, lend a helping hand in these new areas. Filling in the gaps of these everyday tasks will help aid in your parent’s grieving process and be a constant reminder of the support system they have.

 

In addition to new tasks, there is a reoccurring reminder of their loss by the absence of their spouse. In many cases, the surviving spouse was also the primary caregiver to the ailing spouse. Devoting a majority of you time to caring for a loved one can be emotionally draining however, when that help is no longer needed, it can cause feelings of guilt, loneliness and loss. 

 

To help cope with this void, look into support groups or local activities that might interest your parent.  Ask your parents’ friends to stop by occasionally to visit. Take the extra time to invite your parent for a walk, have dinner or catch a movie. Having the chance to get out of the home that shares all the memories of their spouse can be a great distraction.

 

There is no standard on how long it should take anyone to grieve the loss of a loved one, particularly a spouse. However, do watch for signs that your parent may be struggling to overcome their grief. If these signs are present, make arrangements for your parent to talk with a doctor or counselor for additional help.

Filing A Tax Return For Deceased Relatives

 

There are many questions that come to mind after the death of a loved one. There are immediate matters, like “what type of funeral?” or “what should we do with their belongings?” After the initial period, other questions arise, about paying outstanding bills and managing the estate. One question that most people don’t think about until the beginning of a new year is “should I file their taxes and how is that done?”

 

In most cases, when it comes to individual income taxes, the final tax return is prepared and filed in much the same way that it was when the person was alive. It is the executor’s job to file the deceased person’s state and federal returns. Often, the executor is the surviving spouse.

 

The first step is to gather all the necessary forms and information for the decedent. This includes W-2s, 1099s, and any interest statements. If you’re unsure if you have received all of the necessary tax documents, you can submit a request to the IRS to obtain all tax forms for the decedent. The IRS website - www.irs.gov – has many helpful tips and instructions. Visit the IRS website to find out what documents, including death certificate, you need to provide in order for the IRS to provide you with the information that you need.

 

Once you have gathered all the forms and tax information, you will need to decide if you are filing a joint return. If the return is a joint tax return, then the surviving spouse shares the responsibility for filing. The return should be signed with a note that reads “filing as surviving spouse” in the space for the decedent’s signature. Keep in mind that if the executor is not the surviving spouse then they must also sign the return in addition to the spouse.

 

Any income made between the start of the year and the person’s date of death should be reported on the final return. The income information will need to be listed on Form 1040 in addition to exemptions and deductions. If there was income made after the date of death then that is considered the estate’s income and will need a separate tax return for the estate if it is over $600.

 

Once you have filled out all the required information, write the word “deceased” across the top of Form 1040. Include the decedent’s name and the date of death. You will also write “deceased” or “filing as surviving spouse” in the place of the person’s signature at the bottom of the form. If you have questions or concerns, visit a tax accountant or the IRS website.

 

Different Types of Grief

 

Everyone’s experience with the loss of a loved one is different. Most people expect to experience a period of grieving, but what may come as a surprise is how that grief is expressed. There are more than a dozen different types of grief that you may experience.

 

At different times as you move through the grief process, you may experience several of these different types of grief. Keep in mind that some types are very specific to circumstances surrounding the death of your loved one.

 

To help you better understand what you, a family member or friend is experiencing, here are short definitions for common types of grief.

 

Anticipatory Grief
This type of grief often occurs before an impending loss. Family and friends of someone suffering from a debilitating condition, in declining health or is in hospice care are examples of situations that may trigger anticipatory grief.

 

Abbreviated Grief
A short-lived grieving period, due to the fact that the attachment to the deceased person wasn’t as great; the role of the deceased is quickly filled by someone or something else; or there was anticipatory grief, prior to the loss.

 

Absent Grief
Occurs when there are no outward signs of grief and the person seemingly moves on with life, as if nothing has happened. This can occur when someone is in shock or denial. Behavioral changes, such as an increase in drinking, can be common in this situation.

 

Chronic or Prolonged Grief
Grieving that lasts for an extended period of time may be chronic grief. You may notice that there is no significant reduction in the emotional distress, regardless of the amount of time that has passed. The grief feels as fresh as when the loss first happened.

 

Collective Grief
If the grief is felt by a community, society village, or nation because of war, natural disasters, terrorist attacks or the death of a public figure.

 

Delayed Grief
Occurs with people who either consciously or unconsciously avoiding the reality of the loss they have experienced. Some may experience this type of grief if they initially are involved with all the immediate tasks that need to be taken care of or they are supporting others with the loss. The grief tends to hit them at a later date, sometimes brought on unexpectedly.

 

Disenfranchised Grief
This type of grief happens when society or the community does not acknowledge or recognize the loss. The death may be stigmatized (suicide), considered insignificant, or the relationship is not acknowledged by society.

 

Exaggerated Grief
Those who experience overwhelming and intensified “normal” grief reactions that may worsen over time. These reactions may include nightmares, drug abuse, thoughts of suicide, abnormal fears, and the development of psychiatric disorders.

 

“Normal” Grief
There is no “normal” grief as everyone experiences grief for a different period of time and at varying degrees of intensity. For lack of a better description, normal just means there is a movement towards acceptance of the loss and a gradual lessening of symptoms.

 

Traumatic Grief – Grief that is combined with a distressing event is considered traumatic grief. This occurs as a result of a loved one dying in a frightening, unexpected, or traumatic way.

 

Regardless of the type of grief you are experiencing, it is important to seek out the help of family and friends, support organizations or professionals.

 

Historical Figures Salute
Jackie Robinson

January 31, 1919 – October 24, 1972

 

Jackie Robinson began his ten-year baseball career by breaking the sport’s color barrier in 1947 when he joined the starting lineup of the Brooklyn Dodgers.

 

As the first African American to play in the majors, Robinson’s illustrious career included being named Rookie of the Year, playing in six consecutive All-Star Games, winning a World Series title and being inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962.  Later, he became the first black television analyst in Major League Baseball.

 

His legacy is celebrated every April 15, when all players on MLB teams wear his retired number 42 in his honor.