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.
On Hearing Of The Loss
This is by no means exhaustive in how we act or react at the time of grief. It must be kept in mind that the main purpose of having a funeral or memorial service is to express your love and respect to the deceased and their family. It also means that there some closure or maybe healing or such-like during this process.
So you’ve heard about the loss of someone…
Should you visit the bereaved?
As mentioned in other places – sometimes we just don’t know what to do when we hear of the death of someone. However, it is polite and simply common courtesy to call-on the bereaved to offer your sympathy and maybe even offer to assist. Be mindful that other persons may be likely to do the same thing and this is where simply offering your availability should an extra hand or listening ear can work. In fact if on visiting the family member and they are overwhelmed either with grief or with visitors – then – make your visit short.
What do you do while visiting?
If you are close to the family and know them well, them it is okay to assist in handling the telephone or the visiting guests who may come by to offer a hand. It is okay to take over the tea or coffee making and setting as comfortable atmosphere and understanding for both visitor and grieving family.
I don’t know what to say…
This is where the human empathy comes into play. The words from the last motivational book or class which we took is not going to make the grade, to offer to the grief stricken person. Genuine words and thoughts from the heart are in fact much more appreciated. Okay, so we may not be most eloquent, but it may be as much to say, or jot down a few thoughts on paper and offer a good memory of the deceased. Sometimes, you don’t have to say anything as the loved ones may be the ones to do the talking and expressing their thoughts. You can let them lead the conversation as well, since this is also a way to deal with the loss, and you may not necessarily need to respond.
Should we email our thoughts?
If emailing thoughts it may be recommended to do this only if you are not a close relative or family friend. Generally – do not send an email…A hand written note or card says a whole lot more. Failing this – it may be best to be in contact with the funeral home, and include your email with the rest of tributes being offered.
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