There’s nothing as painful as losing a loved one. In particular, the hardest part comes when you are faced with the obligation of breaking the news of the death to other people. Crucially, the words you utter at that moment are most likely to remain in the recipient’s mind for as long as they will live. This reveals why you must be extra careful on how you will deliver this heartbreaking news.
Whether you will be talking to the deceased’s casual acquaintance, carer, friend, relative or workmate, you must appreciate the sense of loss they are going to develop considering how attached they were to the deceased. Please read on to know how to break the news after the death of a loved one:
Acknowledge the loss
You have to know that apart from the heavy task of reporting the news of loss to the contact person, friend, or relative of the diseased, you also bear the additional burden of ensuring that they have the necessary support systems that will make them sail through this trying moment. In comparison, if the situation involves delivering the bad news to a stranger you have never interacted with, you will only be faced with the obligation of delivering the news, taking a few minutes to reestablish yourself, and then moving on with whatever you were engaged in before breaking the news of death.
Remember, the situation will be different when you are dealing with a friend. You will have to present the news, acknowledge that they will be passing through a tough moment, and present them with kind words until they absorb the news.
Where to break the news
Well, this will depend on the nature of the person you will be dealing with when breaking the news of death. While some people will remain appreciative if they are presented with such heartbreaking news when both of you are sitting down, others will prefer that you break the news over the phone.
In this case, the bottom line remains to decide on the most effective action plan. It is always a great idea to deal with the hardest conversation first. Remember, most of these engagements will be very draining and you must be well prepared to give your best.
Be keen to avoid any interruptions when delivering the news. Ensure that your radio is turned off, our phone is adjusted to a silent mode, and find space away from other people. In essence, breaking the news in a place that assures them of safety and confidentiality will grant them the freedom they will need to react without limitations and self-consciousness.
What to say
It is never easy to prepare somebody any moment you want to break the news about the death of a loved one. You only have to take your time and deliver the message in the best way possible. Here’s how to go about when choosing what to say anytime you break the news after the death of a loved one:
- Use simple and plain words- Inform them that their loved one has died. This will clear any doubt. Be sure to repeat yourself in a bid to make the information clear.
- Refrain from using euphemisms-Be keen not to use phrases like “he is in a better place now” or “he passed on”. Such statements may leave the recipient confused. While telling the truth could be difficult in this scenario, it is very essential. In particular, this is true when delivering the information among children considering the fact that they are most likely to take the statements literary.
- Be keen not to make promises you won’t be able to keep. While they will eel joyful, the situation is only short-lived. Similarly, the situation will damage the trust you had initially established with the contact person.
- Ensure that you don’t present unrelated matters or skirt the information when breaking the news.
At times, it is difficult to start the ‘death’ topic. Even though you may feel uncomfortable, you must develop the courage you will need to address the issue at hand. Be keen not to postpone telling the concerned agencies this information even if the situation makes you uneasy. Remember, there’s no ideal time to break the news. Do it even if it will spoil their good mood.
What you need to do
What next after delivering the heartbreaking news? Well, it is of great essence to get a small chunk of your busy schedule and be there with the bereaved. This matters a lot. Also, be keen to appreciate their cues. At times, they may require some time alone to get everything processed. On the other hand, others may want a hug at that moment to develop a feeling of belongingness.
Be sure not to swamp them. Don’t tell them how they are feeling. Instead, be patient and wait for their response as you encourage them to be free when expressing their feelings. Remember, they will have developed high levels of trust in you and will expect you to retaliate by treating their information in a confidential manner.
It is true that the conversation you had with the contact person could still be playing all over your mind. Truly speaking, it is always easy to feel a little depressed after telling somebody that the person they loved is no more. Just in case you develop a feeling of uneasiness, it is a great idea to seek support by calling a grief support helpline or call a friend and share the experience.
Don’t put a lot of pressure on yourself. In essence, one of your greatest worries during this moment would be to ensure that the information you deliver does not stir up your emotions. It is okay to get upset any moment the unimaginable happens. Ask your friend or partner to be there with you and grant you the support you will want during this moment. It is never a bad idea to get another family member to act on your behalf when delivering the information to other people.