So how can we more effectively listen and be present in a conversation with the bereaved who have lost their loved ones? This is a question which seems to stump quite a few persons. Based on our experience and that of professionals, they indicate in this article some of the steps to follow…
• *Being silent is the best way that you can listen to the bereaved. In fact sometimes, this is can be one of the most critical forms of communicating your support. In other words – be present and listen… This can also save you from saying the most inappropriate words.
• *Make a date to visit in person or chat with the bereaved on the telephone. Remember – there may also be quite a few persons wanting to visit or call on the family. Therefore exercising some patience is important, and understand that setting an appointment should also allow for a bit of flexibility.
• Begin the conversation with…“I’ve been thinking of you, and wanted to see how you were doing…” This is just one example of putting the thoughts of the grieving family member ahead of your own. Now is the important time to be a bit “self-less”
• Make and keep eye contact through out the conversation. Not only does this continue to build trust, but can also help the individual through the grieving process. Many family members after the process of grieving state that this left a positive impression and gave significant support during the crisis. This does not mean though, that there is a battle of the stares during the visit, but a reference point of building the unspoken connection.
• *Bear in mind that listening is the best gift you can give the bereaved. This speaks for itself…. However, be not distracted by technology devices and if used in conjunction with the previous point of maintaining eye contact – nodding can be effective as well.
• *Let them know you will be there for them if they need to talk again. As suggested you may be the go-to person in this event. Having built up possibly more confidence and trust with the grieving family member, than anyone else then be prepared to wash and rinse and repeat.
The more you listen, the easier it becomes. Always exercise sincerity in this process, as anyone can see through persons with other motives. Feel free to reach Fern’s Funeral Services, and our team of qualified resource persons which includes Priests, Chaplains and Counselors.