When someone dies, we often hear ourselves promising to visit or call a person in mourning in the days or weeks following the death and funeral. Sometimes our own promise fosters in us feelings of panic. What do we say? What do we do?
We can give immense comfort simply through our compassionate presence and our unconditional listening.
Relax. I’ll tell you a secret. There is an art to bringing comfort to those who are in mourning. That art lies in our ability to listen attentively and compassionately to what they want to say. In other words, when in doubt about what to say, switch from talking to listening. Chances are good that a person who lost a loved one recently needs the gift of unconditional listening more than anything else. Continue reading
I heard someone the other day chide that, in case we forgot, this day is Memorial Day, it is not National Barbeque Day.
We give thanks today for those who have served our country in the cause of freedom.
That’s true in the same way that Christmas is not Santa Claus Day and Easter is not about a bunny, Thanksgiving is not about Football, Independence Day is not about fireworks and Labor Day is not about marking the end of summer. Continue reading
I’ve been to a lot of funerals and visitations in the past few years, not as one who has come to pay respects, but as part of the bereaved family. As such, I’ve been on the receiving end of a lot of statements of support. I’ve also watched some people struggle to know what to say.
Comforting words come from the heart to speak honestly about the death that has occurred and the feelings of the bereaved.
When it’s our turn to pay our respects at a visitation or funeral, we want our words to bring comfort. We want to be known as someone who understands.
Choosing the right words to say is a good first step. Knowing we have the right words gives us the courage to speak with compassion. When we pair those two things, our genuine concern for the person we’re speaking to shines through, and our words give comfort and we are remembered for it. Continue reading