We're supporting the theme of this year’s national Dying Matters Awareness Week by asking us all if we are ready to listen if our loved ones wish to talk about death, dying and bereavement.
The current coronavirus pandemic has raised awareness of death, dying and bereavement but many of us are still uncomfortable talking about it. Dying Matters Awareness Week, which runs from 11-17 May, is a national campaign to encourage people to talk more openly about their views and feelings surrounding death, dying and bereavement and this year’s theme is ‘Dying to be heard’.
In the course of the care they provide, our nurses and Family Support team aim to support patients and families to open conversations about death and dying so that families know and understand their loved one’s wishes and much of the support they give to bereaved people involves listening.
Debbie Playford, Senior Family Support Therapist at Rennie Grove Hospice Care shares her advice about supporting someone who has recently lost a loved one:
“Often the most helpful thing we can do when someone we know is bereaved is to simply listen. In this time of social distancing when it’s harder to show your care and concern in more practical ways, staying in touch is invaluable. Don’t be afraid to speak the name of the person who’s died; people often want to talk about them, to reminisce, or maybe even to rant! Especially at this strange time when things are so difficult – there is lots that people may feel angry about.”
She continues: “Offering platitudes rarely helps so try to resist trying to make them feel better. Sometimes we don’t know what to say and it gets in the way of us making that phone call, but sending cards, emails or short texts to let people know that you’re thinking of them, all these things can help.”
As well as offering support to the families we care for, we host a space on our website where anyone can receive free bereavement counselling. GriefChat is a safe and confidential way to talk to someone online who will listen to you. Find out more at www.renniegrove.org/griefchat.
Join the conversation this week on social media using #DyingToBeHeard and follow Rennie Grove on Twitter @renniegrove or like them on Facebook @renniegrovehospicecare.