Grieving – Coming Alongside
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TAKE2 TRANSCRIPT Grieving – Coming Alongside
Mary Lou Ng:
I know that some people even have a hard time with the question, “How are you?” If you’ve just lost your husband and someone comes up to you and says, “How are you?”, my first reaction was, “Well how do you think I am? My husband just died.” So it’s kind of that anger that’s the first reaction to that.
Other questions that I found difficult were, “How did he die?” and “How old was he?” But the general principle behind the questions seemed to be curiosity. So if you’re coming from a place of compassion it’s so much better than a place of curiosity. So people who could say, “I’m going to be here for you.” That was much more helpful than to try and answer all your questions. So I think it’s really helpful to let a person talk and not pry into there.
And someone said, “It’s possible to not be in a place to have earned the right to ask the question.” And some people ask questions where they’re not really in the place and haven’t earned the right to ask the questions. And those were the most difficult kind of questions I had to face.
Would it be appropriate to say something like, “Tell me about your husband or your son? What were they? Who were they?”
Mary Lou Ng:
Yeah, those more gentle questions where we have the opportunity to share as much or as little as we want to… and if we don’t decide to share… the question about “How old was he?”…it’s almost as though, “Well, he was 70; of course he should have died.” You know, that whole thing. So there’s some justification for them. So yeah, just let the person tell the story in whatever words and whatever shape that looks like. So open-ended questions like that are much better.
In contrast, was there anything that people would have said that would have been really helpful?
Mary Lou Ng:
What I found was it’s the heart attitude that’s so helpful. “I know this is difficult. Let’s pray together.” Those kinds of things were showing me a heart of service and a heart of compassion and just willingness to go through the difficult part with me and those were very, very helpful.
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TRAINER: Panel of Specialists
SOURCE: Volunteer Training – EDM
POSTED: Nov 2018
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