Friday, March 30, 2018

Presentation on Death and Grief

I gave a presentation on death and grief in Chicago yesterday, and I heard many personal stories of resilience and courage.
My thoughts were specifically geared toward helping people become more trauma and grief informed in the way in which we interact with others who have experienced loss, specifically the death of family and friends, but other attendees brought up trauma due to divorce, unemployment, violence, and abuse.
Whatever the case, my thoughts centered on deeply validating pain and loss, and avoiding the tendency to interject competing sympathies in such discussions ("Oh, your mom died? My mom died last year, so I know how you feel.")
The reality is that we really don't know how people feel, even though we might suggest that we do. Each person's experience is so unique, and it is impossible to know the depths of their experiences. All we can do is to sit with others in their discomfort and pain and validate their stories.
I created this listening activity for English students to become aware of possible language they can use in such situations:

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