Today's post marks the third and final in the series by our Guest Blogger, Isa Catto, who has, sadly, become rather expert on the topic of condolence, bereavement, and the etiquette--or woeful lack thereof--in this realm. Her previous posts covered do's and don'ts; today she tackles tips for the bereaved.
Say Thank You.
- Always return your condolence correspondence with a grateful response on good stationery.
- Thank those who helped in other ways, like running errands, providing food and other help. Thank you notes are an onerous task, but an important one. Those who reached out to you deserve to be acknowledged, and recognizing the outpouring of support you received can help in the grieving process. Writing those notes helps you catalog all the people you have in your life who are in your corner, and that is affirming.
- Send a thank you note for any donation in the bereaved’s honor.
- Acknowledging grace with more grace is a good thing for the universe at large. It is fine if it takes six months or more.
- You don't have to write more than one note per person. For example, if your neighbor sent you a lovely condolence note, made a memorial donation, delivered lasagna to your house and picked up your kids at school for a week, that can all be rolled into one very, very sincere note of thanks.
- Don’t forget to thank your nearest and dearest. Your kids and your spouse have been right there with you. Don’t take them for granted.
Socialize when you are ready, not before.
Avoid social settings until you are ready. There is no rush, and it is awkward for everyone when you cannot contain your emotion. And, you're likely to have a miserable time. Choose events that are not emotionally stressful or overly demanding. If you recently lost a loved one to cancer, avoid the American Cancer Society's Gala or a screening of Terms of Endearment at the local retro theatre.
Back to Grace...Big thanks to Isa for sharing her wisdom and wit on a difficult subject. Next up on thesocialgrace.com: More on "You Don't Say." This topic is never fully covered, alas.