Sharing the News of a Sudden Loss
It can be a challenging experience to share news of a sudden loss
Our last article addressed the specific challenges around coping after a sudden loss of a loved one. In this article we turn the tables to focus on the challenges associated with being the one to share the terrible news of a sudden loss.
Telling others about a sudden loss can be very stressful and overwhelming. You might feel like you’re on autopilot. If you were with your loved one when they died, or you’ve just found out the news of this sudden loss, you are likely to be in a state of shock yourself.
Hopefully, these tips will help in the immediate aftermath.
It’s vital to reach out to loved ones and let them know what has happened. Here are some tips on how to tell others:
Create a list: Write down the names of family and friends who need to know immediately. Think about who you would not want to find out on social media, for example. Think about who might be able to help you tell others outside of the close list and call them first. Remember, you are likely to be asked questions and you will be dealing with the shock of others when they receive the news.
Take care of yourself: Before telling others, make sure you are in a place where you feel physically and emotionally safe. Take time to rest, eat, and drink water to help regulate your emotions.
Choose the right time and place: Consider the best time and place to share the news, taking into account the people you are sharing it with and their current circumstances. Can you talk over the phone, or do you need to deliver the news in person?
Prepare what you want to say: It may be helpful to write down what you want to say in advance, so you don’t forget anything important and so that you have a clear and concise message to share.
Be direct and honest: Be straightforward about what has happened and provide accurate information about the loss. People are often better able to cope with difficult news if they have clear and accurate information.
Seek support: Reach out to friends and family for support, or consider speaking with a grief specialist who can help you cope with the emotional impact of sharing the news.
Keep in mind that listening is an act of compassion and kindness that will help you in making others feel heard during their most difficult moments. Being a good listener involves being present, attentive, and non-judgmental when a person is expressing their grief.
Our free guide to supporting and talking to others about grief begins with some helpful tips for listening skills that will help you.
Everyone reacts to loss differently and it can be a challenging experience to share news of a sudden loss. With support, self-care, and patience, it is possible to get through this difficult time.
To speak to a grief specialist, you can view a directory of our grief specialists here.