We can never prepare enough for the passing of our loved one. Because each family member grieves differently, communication is crucial during this challenging time.  Being sensitive to how you are communicating with each other will help with planning the funeral service and may even strengthen and deepen family ties.

Ways to Build Communication with Loved Ones during Bereavement

Speak with Empathy

Be open to the different emotions that your family members may be feeling. Be sensitive to the fact that some relatives may find it very painful even to just hear your dearly departed’s name. Be sensitive and choose your words when speaking of your deceased loved one.

Define each family member’s role

If you are part of the immediate family and no one has stepped up to the plate, then take the initiative to spearhead planning the wake and funeral service. Call for a family meeting as soon as possible and go through the steps of planning the service. You may want to read our previous blog post about “Planning a Funeral Service”. Once you have agreed on what needs to be done, assign each family member their specific role or roles as needed. Ensure that everyone has agreed, is aligned and on the same page with respective roles by clearly defining each one to the corresponding family members.

Use non-verbal communication to offer comfort

Where words can fall short, non-verbal communication may be more effective than speaking. Our touch, our embrace, and the way we look at each other can provide soothing comfort. Sometimes the simple warmth of your presence is enough to communicate love and care. Gestures such as cooking special meals for the bereaved or taking certain responsibilities for the funeral service are also samples of non-verbal ways of communicating that you care. Non-verbal communication can also soften intense feelings surrounding the grieving family and may make way for verbal connections.

Surround yourself with love

May Cardenas, Forest Lake Binan’s Funeral Director offers some advice. She says that in the event of death, be it sudden or something you have been preparing for, surrounding yourself with closest family members and friends will be helpful, particularly with decision making. May says, “These are people who know your loved one well enough so they can help you pick out the casket design or color, what clothes to be worn, what photo to have enlarged. They should also know you well enough to advise you if your budget is going astray.”

May adds, “In my experience, there is always one family member or friend who takes on the responsibility of decision making when the immediate family is not up to the task. It is a huge responsibility since they stand to take the blame for everything if they decide on something the rest of the family doesn’t agree with. Surprisingly, every family seems to have that kind of relative or friend, and more often than not, they do help make things easier.”

Healing through communication

Grief is a journey that varies from one person to another. Communicating how you feel with your loved ones is one way of coping with the loss. This is because your family acts as a support group so that each one of you need not face this journey alone. Counseling with a professional grief coach is another option you can explore. As one of the leading memorial parks in the Philippines, Forest Lake aims to be “A Better Place” by offering the Good Grief Workshop Program with grief coach Cathy Babao as a support system for their clients coping with loss.   

If you are a Forest Lake client and would like to inquire about the Good Grief Workshops, please contact Meara at 09777234034.