Hugh Elliot wrote, "Death can sneak up on you like a silent kitten, surprising you with its touch and you have a right to act surprised. Other times death stomps in the front door unwanted and unannounced, and makes its noisy way to your seat on the sofa."
The experience is different for everyone, to be honest.
We may discover great lessons about dealing with the deaths of both others and our own who are faced with terminal illness. We may learn about humility, acceptance and the power of compassion to heal emotional scars. We may find value in posthumously caring for others through organ and tissue donation.
At Serenity Funeral Homes LLC, we can guide you through sorting out who to notify first in the event when a loved one passes away. We can also help you figure out the right way to share this sad news with family and friends. If you have any questions or would like to schedule a free consultation, please contact us.
How to Tell Family Members When a Loved One Moves On
When a death is unexpected, the news is always a shock. You need to expect that others will have a similar reaction when you tell them. Even when a death is expected, such as in situations where a loved one was dealing with a long illness or was in hospice care, the news may be difficult to deliver.
Ask yourself what you want the experience to be like for your family. We are confident you'd want your family to remember this time as one of loving compassion. The news of their loved one's death should be delivered with kindness and understanding.
Avoid internet channels of communication during the first hours after a loved one dies. Social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter should not be the first place where this information is broadcast. Connect with your family members on a personal level.
You probably have an idea of how many of your family members will react. Consider the time of day when calling them. Are they at work or school? Only you will know when it would be most appropriate to deliver the unfortunate news. It's preferable to deliver the news in person, but when that's not possible, a phone call will have to do.
Here are some suggestions:
Protect them by asking them to sit down. Oftentimes people become weak and their knees buckle upon hearing such news.
Choose your words carefully. If phrases like "passed on," "passed away," or "gone to a better place" make sense, use them. If you think they would rather the directness and clarity of hearing a loved one "has died," then that word is appropriate.
Give them as many details involved in the death that you feel they need to hear at that time.
Ask them if there's anything else they'd like to know and answer any questions to the best of your abilities.
Let them know they can continue to ask questions during the days ahead, and they can openly express any emotions they are feeling now and in the future. These include fear, guilt, sadness, depression or anger.
After the call or the sharing of news, keep the lines of communication open. Help your family members in the days to come to the best of your own abilities. Your own needs and grief should always be taken into consideration as well.
Work through your emotions together through encouragement and reassurance. Family members should support one another. Don't neglect to turn to them for your own support.
No matter the circumstances, death is hard for us to handle. The best thing you can do for anyone when informing them of a death is to deliver the news thoughtfully. Let them know you're there for them and that you love them.