As a Medium I am in close contact with the Spirits of the Dead and the Families that deeply miss them. One of the common things families talk about is the awkwardness Death creates around them. People do not know how to approach them. It’s like death creates a bubble around the people who are Mourning, a space in which no one wants to approach. Family and friends often stay away, or act as if nothing has happened at all. This is particularly true if there is any controversy over the Death; such as suicide, drug addiction, violent death or untimely passing.
So how do we change this? How do we approach Death with respect and reverence?
Honesty & compassion are my go to thoughts when approaching awkward moments in life including death. I try to put myself in the shoes of the people most effected by the situation; the family and loved ones. I also strongly believe that pretending something isn’t there or didn’t happen is in many ways ruder then looking at it and speaking of it. When we say nothing, it is often interpreted as not caring.
When I was a girl I once got my butt spanked over asking a color blind girl what color my dress was. The girl was my friend who lived up the road from my grandparents house, the spanking was due to ill timing. My mother happened to be standing in the doorway of my grandparents house when I asked my question. She misinterpreted my actions and thought I was being rude. I was not being rude, but simply wanted to know what my dress looked like to my friend. It was a question asked with kindness and true interest in the answer. Here’s the truth folks-my friend was thankful, because most people pretend as if nothing is different; while they act odd and avoid looking at the obvious…creating an awkward situation.
I think about my color blind friend every time I ask questions about noticeable things that others refrain from talking about….including Death. If I know someone has experienced a loss, I will ask them “How are you holding up?” It is such an easy question, yet most people avoid it. Most people don’t want to be rude, or bring up uncomfortable subjects. But the reality is we feel worse when our friends and family members start avoiding us and acting weird around us. I know Death is uncomfortable, but it happens to us all & it is perfectly natural.
How do we let people know what we need when dealing with Death?
Communication folks. It all comes down to communication. I know it’s easy to say “I shouldn’t have to ask for support”, but here is the simple truth. Most people do not know what to do. They do not know if you want/need space, need to talk or can even handle talking about your loved one. My suggestion….utilize Social Media. A simple post of your facebook page, or an email sent out to family and friends stating your needs. “I am open and welcoming of conversations about my loved one”, or “Please be gentle with me, I will be in Mourning until further notice”. I also suggest going back to the simple black armband. Most people will suspect the band means something, and it will lead them to be cautious & respectful. Some will even ask, giving you the opportunity to share. When you have reached a point in your mourning where you want to reconnect with people, I suggest you have a B