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Listening to the dying

  • Create a helping environment by finding a quiet, private place to talk. As you chat, project warmth, interest and respect.

  • When you speak of the person who has died, use the past tense, use his or her name, and do not be afraid of such words as “death, died, dead.”

  • You can begin your first encounter with the bereaved by asking him/her to tell you about the death. What happened that day or night?

  • Ask about funeral plans or memorial services.

  • Ask what has been happening since the death. How have things been with family/friends? Does he/she seem able to talk openly about the deceased?

These are topics that I first began to discuss

when I was facilitating Virtual Funerals and Life Celebrations. My job was to help these people with whatever emerged emotional around their loved ones deaths.

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