Reflection Paper Example on a Life Event in My Family Using the Systems Theory

Published: 2022-07-27
Reflection Paper Example on a Life Event in My Family Using the Systems Theory
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories: Reflection Family Personal experience
Pages: 6
Wordcount: 1483 words
13 min read

A life event to have recently taken place in my family was the demise of my beloved sister. A chronic case of pneumonia culminated in her hospitalization where she was bed ridden for a few weeks before succumbing to the illness. The shocking news of my sister's death were received differently by my family members. My nuclear family members consisting of my mother, father, myself, and my small brother were devastated by the loss of my sister. I must say, however, that my mother was the most affected by the news of her death as the grief on her face was clearly visible. My father was the calmest of all of us although deep down we knew his heart had been crushed by the loss of his first born daughter. Members of my extended family including our uncles, aunties, and cousins thronged our home to offer condolences and moral support in our moment of emotional need. This remains to be one of the most terrible experiences in my life and in our family's history.

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Various members of both our nuclear and extended families displayed instances of strength during the grieving period occasioned by the unexpected death of my sister. Although my mother was the most affected by this loss, we made good use of her social networks to call in the relevant people who would help with organizing for the memorial service and funeral. My dad was also strong for us during this period of mourning because he knew everyone looked up to him and he could not afford to exhibit any weakness. He also anchored us by offsetting the immediate financial obligations that were necessary for us to host the organizing team as well as other guests and family members. My uncles were at hand to offer him emotional support as they consulted on other issues pertaining the burial. I chipped in by taking care of the communication which involved spreading the information on what had happened to our family and the subsequent way forward. I remain forever grateful to my cousins who helped me out with reaching out to as many as our family friends as possible.

There are certain cultural influences that affected the experience that our family went through during this somber event. The most conspicuous was the gender roles that each of us was expected to play in the family during the loss of my sister because my sister and our female cousins were expected to play host to all the guests that were thronging our house on a daily basis. This was also the case when it came to my small brother and our male cousins who were the errand boys tasked with ensuring that the house was well equipped with supplies from the shopping malls or the market place. Our mother and aunties were the ones who mourned as a band and offered emotional support to each other throughout the grieving period. As for my father and our uncles, they were seen as the rock of support to everyone else since they were strategically sat at the porch as they deliberated various issues. They feigned as much strength as they could gather to show everyone else that they were strong and serve as an assurance that all would be well. The other cultural aspect that affected as during this period was the underlying belief by our extended family, neighbors, and close family friends that the loss of our sister was a community affair so they had the right to flock our house to condole with us. I found this perturbing as I was of the opinion that our family would need as much privacy as possible to grieve in peace.

The failure by my sister to seek early medical intervention for her bout with pneumonia was the greatest risk factor that accelerated the likelihood of my family experience her loss (Knudsen & Vogd, 2014). She should have taken the initiative to visit a health care facility in good time so that the condition would be detected and if possible, prevented. Her neighboring best friend should also have informed us as her family members to intervene and ensure she received early hospitalization and treatment before the pneumonia advanced to its chronic stages. However, the key protective factor that influenced our family's ability to respond to this negative experience was our father's financial savings that cushioned us against the uncleared medical bills at the hospital and the funeral expenses that accompanied the loss of my sister. At hand to help our father were our uncles who boosted our father's ability to foot the majority of the costs that we incurred due to this sudden outcome of events.

Oppression cannot be said to be a factor in our family that led to the loss of our dear sister. This is because there are other factors with which we have been raised that were more pronounced than oppression. One such factor is the freedom to be autonomous in the sense that our parents encouraged us to be independent and free thinkers. This has helped us to grow in the belief that we can tackle any challenge that comes our way. In the strict sense of this experience, the freedom that our parents afforded us was in stark contrast to any oppressive upbringing. On the downside, however, it is this aspect of being autonomous that contributed to our sister isolating herself from the rest of the family and making the independent decision to withhold her medical situation to us. It was not until it was very late that she let us in on what was happening, hence the late hospitalization when her medical situation was deteriorating.

The systems revolving around our family may have been empowered in various ways through this life event. The onus was on the hospital where my late sister was admitted to furnish our family with her medical history and explain what could have been done to save her life. Also concerning was the medical insurance provider who could have ensured that our sister was comprehensively insured to cater for my sister's in-patient and outpatient medical services. These two institutions ought to have played a bigger role in the prevention of this painful experience that brought about the event. Our parents also ought to have been empowered to realize that raising their children in an environment of independence was not enough as regular visitations and checking up on their children are essential in ensuring their welfare. This is also true of the home environment in which my sister grew since as her siblings, we failed her for failing to constantly keep tabs on her general welfare, medical or otherwise. There is also her friend who ought to have been involved much more in informing our family of the health condition of our sister.

The relevant systems involved in responding to this traumatic experience include our parents, the extended family, the community, and our friends. Our parents, especially my father, was instrumental in funding the immediate financial obligations which arose as a result of the loss of our sister. Our extended family was also crucial in not only offering moral and emotional support to our grief stricken family, but they also assisted our parents in decision-making, organizing the burial proceedings, and financial contributions that made it simpler to go through the event. The community also played its part with our neighbors not left behind in condoling and consoling with our family at the demise of our sister. This cannot be taken for granted as some of these members of the community have surrounded our family since we were young children. Our family friends also gave their unwavering support whether they were my mother's friends, my father's workmates, or my school friends.

The systems theory conceptualizes that the actions and thoughts of an individual are influenced by various factors within a system that include the home environment, parents, socio-economic class, friends, the school, etc. (Teater, 2014). My late sister had a strong connection with her friends some of whom doubled up as her neighbors. She did not frequently visit home and was detached from her siblings and parents, although she was close to some of our cousins and aunts. She was not a big fan of health care facilities and had a negative attitude towards health insurance. Other than that, her school, our friends, my father's work colleagues, and our home neighbors were the last thing on her mind as these are systems that she least interacted with.


Clarke, A. (2013). The sociology of healthcare. Routledge.

Healy, K. (2014). Social work theories in context: Creating frameworks for practice. Hampshire, New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Knudsen, M. & Vogd, W. (2014). Systems theory and the sociology of health and illness: Observing healthcare. Routledge.

Teater, B. (2014). An introduction to applying social work theories and methods. Maidenhead: Open University Press.

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