Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Grow Up! The Condolence Basics You Need Now. Part 1

Grow Up! 

How many times did you hear that before you were 25? Are you still hearing it in your 30's or 40's? If so, someone is trying to persuade you toward mature choices. "Grow up!" is a verbal face slap, taking you by the figurative shoulders for a shake and command: it's time to think of somebody other than yourself.  "But I do think of others!"  you protest. The Condolence Coach agrees and believes you are trying, but...

If you're stalled on the playground plateau of just playing nicely, mastering condolence skills will launch you off the swings and onto solid grown-up ground.

[Author photo]
This post reaches into the Condolence Note Coach archives to quickly deliver the basics you need now. Clicking on the post link will flesh out the concept, but if you need a 5 minute crash course, here it is.

1. Beyond 'I'm Sorry'  You can't change the circumstances facing your friend, co-worker, neighbor, cousin or client...but there is an additional way to communicate sympathy long after the loss:  a memorable condolence note.  

2. FAQ's  It is never too late to send a note. Never. The death remains a fact in your [friend or] co-worker's life and, in a year's time, the stream of sympathies has likely dried up. Your note will be a gift. Don't Rush Your Condolence Note  Waiting can enhance the note you will write…as you have opportunities to gather a little information, view photos, hear stories.

3. To Have Another Birthday is a Privilege  We are powerless over the loss and subsequent pain, but saying "I'm sorry" and applying a sincere hug or handshake is an act you DO have power over. You have the power to express that you care.

4. In A Better Place  It is never appropriate for you to offer a platitude such as "she's in a better place." But if the grieving express this to you, a lovely reply might be:  "I'm glad that is a comfort to you."

5. Death Doesn't Take a Holiday  Can sympathy be commingled with seasonal greetings during holidays and other special days? It can’t.  Should traditional messages be set aside? Yes.

6. Condolence After a Suicide  Survivors of suicide [family of the deceased] have great need of compassionate, non-judgmental words. Acknowledge a normal life, once lived: share a memory or tell a kind story.

7.  When Children Die
A good condolence acknowledges the pain and offers to listen. The note says that you are praying for comfort, but does not tell the recipient to. You pen a sweet memory and hope to hear some of theirs. Grow in awareness and sensitivity: do some reading about the grief experiences of parents.

8When a Pet Dies  DO NOT ask when they will get another pet. Period. 

9. Supporting Grieving Teens  Journaling or writing poetry is one of the most widely suggested tools for teens to process grief. Consider a “condolence gift” of a blank book or journal. Write a question on the first page, like: "How did you feel when you heard the news?"

 10.  Supporting Someone with a Terminal Illness  Remember this: until you are dead, you are alive.  Recognize the life, the day-by-day simple moments of the person you write to. Embrace the opportunity to say thank you, to ask for a story, to appreciate a sunrise, a funny pet, a song.

So, did you notice that writing condolence is about supporting survivors? The Coach invites you to read The Mourners Bill of Rights   One of the grown-up skills you are adopting is COMPASSION. Living compassionately, daily, is a standout characteristic. You will be astonished by how it changes you!

Thank you for caring!

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