I think my fear about helping people who had been recently bereaved when I started, was doubting my inability to say or do the right thing. I soon learned though, that provided I was natural, there is no need to rehearse what to say, the main thing is to be sincere and to be brief. When I found it hard to pick up the phone and make initial contact, I reminded myself that one day I could be bereaved too.
I learned that it helps the bereaved person to talk about their loved one, even if they are upset by doing so. They must never feel bad or embarrassed about being unable to control their emotions. Guilt, protest, yearning, anger and fear may be involved as part of the grieving process and need to be acknowledged and expressed; sometimes over and over.
It feels a privilege to form relationships with people when they are at their most vulnerable. Few conversations seem as meaningful, trusting and authentic.
I am reminded of how Christ’s disciples must have felt at the imminent death of Jesus and how He too experienced and overcame grief and death itself.