Just "checking in" has never been more critical. The world is grappling with a pandemic that is creating confusion, displacement, and loss. Some people have experienced illness from the virus. Others have been affected indirectly, perhaps losing their job. The pandemic has affected many people's mental health. Frontline workers are especially susceptible to stress. Additionally, the need to practice social distancing can lead to loneliness.
The good news is that the simple act of just "checking in" can make a world of difference to someone dealing with stress or experiencing isolation or loss. Let's explore why showing support is so important when we can't physically connect. This isn't a time to let personal and professional contacts wither!
We Aren't Meant for Isolation
Research makes it clear that isolation has profound effects on both the mind and body. The simple fact is that humans aren't made for isolation. Here's a look at what happens when humans cope with isolation:
Feelings of depression.
Difficulty with making decisions.
Difficulty dealing with stressful situations.
A reduced immune system.
Increased susceptibility to illness.
Sleep disturbances or insomnia.
Hallucinations stemming from lack of social interaction.
Yes, the data on isolation paints a bleak picture. However, tough circumstances don't have to have the final word about how the world keeps in touch. There are many ways to stay connected during the COVID-19 quarantine period. This is where the concept of just "checking in" becomes so important!
Why Reaching Out During COVID-19 Matters
Silence says a lot. Unfortunately, failing to make an effort to connect to people within your network while they're suffering from isolation or loss during the COVID-19 pandemic can have a permanent impact on relationships. It's important to let people within your network know that you're thinking of them during this challenging period. What's more, reaching out might brighten someone's day in a big way.
OurSympathy® - A Simple Way To Show Support
COVID-19 may have profoundly impacted people within your list of contacts. However, you may not be aware of what's going on because you don't have any way to monitor your contact list. This is precisely why we created OurSympathy® platform. You can utilize a simple way to stay informed and connected when a loss occurs in the life of someone you know. You'll easily import your contacts or list of names to initiate automatic monitoring. You can also set reminders for event alerts or memorial information. This puts you in the position to offer support immediately if anyone in your contact list if affected by a loss.
OurSympathy® is not only an online obituary monitoring and notification service — we go one step further by helping you show support through personalized gifts. Do you have a neighbor, friend, or family member who is a frontline worker? Shower them with encouragement and say "thanks" with a fruit gift basket. Perhaps an employee lost someone they love due to COVID. Show your support with a personalized sympathy card.
Be someone who is there for others when it counts the most. Yes, it is challenging to stay connected during a time of social distancing. Fortunately, OurSympathy® enables you to be there for others in a caring, thoughtful, and respectful way. Don't keep your distance from compassion just because you have to practice social distancing!
Posted on 2020-05-25 20:10:34 by OurSympathy
Contents of a Sympathy Note
There is nothing more painful than losing a loved one. One moment, you are talking and laughing and creating memories, and then, all too suddenly, that person is no longer there. It seems to be impossible to take in that you will never see them again. All that we have left is to hold the memories that we created with our loved one close to our heart. It is those memories that keep us going.
People can easily get depressed when they lose a loved one. In one instance, a woman wanted to be buried with her grown son who died shortly after completing his degree. It was such a painful experience for her knowing that after investing so much love and care in seeing him through college, his life was cut so tragically short and his future contribution to the world would no longer be there. It was such a traumatic experience for everyone involved, and we could barely begin to imagine the emotions that his mother endured. She is not alone in her experiences of death and grief – it is an experience suffered by millions in every corner of the world every single day.
How can we best help friends who are grieving? How can we reassure them that we care and that we are there for them when they need us most? How do we let them know that they are constantly in our thoughts? How do we show them that even though we can’t help bring their loved one back, we empathise and feel their pain, and will be there for them when they are most in need? We can do this by simply sending our condolences and a sympathy note.
A sympathy note, as the name implies, is a note to the loved ones of the deceased, expressing your sorrow and your support should they need anything. The act of sending a sympathy note is a simple act of kindness that will enable your support to any of your family, friends and acquaintances, when they need it most.
If you are unable to attend the funeral, a sympathy note will go a long way to show that you care. While it is preferable to send a sympathy note in good time, it is not inappropriate to send one that may be late. It is still a message of sympathy, acknowledgement, respect and care.
Contents of a Sympathy Note
The sympathy note is not a time or place for you to show how well you have been doing in your career or a vehicle to tell the family of the bereaved that things are going well with your family; your husband’s business is booming, your sick sister is well and your first child is in college now. The family of the deceased, in their moment of grief, will not care. They are mourning, and your good fortune and happy news is not appropriate for them in these moments. While it is exciting that things are going so well for you, it is not a good time to remind them of the successes of others. If they are mourning their first child, it is not the right time to be telling them just how well your first child is doing in life! Content such as this should never be found on your sympathy note. Empathy alone is the only appropriate approach at such a time in their lives.
If your sympathy note is late, then begin with an apology. Give a brief reason why your message has taken some time. Show your sympathy and respect and perhaps remind them that the loved one that they have lost, and your eldest child were in school together; but do not dwell too long on things. Encourage the bereaved by telling them that they are in your thoughts and that you are there for them and available whenever they should need you. Make it short, warm, loving and caring.
We have attached three examples of a late sympathy note to serve as a guide when you are writing yours.
I was shocked to hear about your daughter’s passing. I only recently heard about it when I got back from volunteering in Africa, and I am so sorry to hear such news. I understand how hard this must be for you and the family. Emily was such a breath of fresh air and a constant source of positive energy for all those she knew; she was so lively and caring. I will forever cherish the time she spent in my home visiting Amanda. I so hope that you find the strength to carry on. Do let me know when it is convenient to visit, though I understand if you need some space at the present time. I want you to know that you are in our thoughts and we are always there for you.
I only recently heard that you lost your husband two months ago. I visited the gym today, and I was told of the distressing incident. The love you and Samuel shared taught me what true love looks likes. I am so sorry for your loss; I can only imagine how you guys are getting through at this trying time. I would love to come around if you’re ready for company. Please give me a call whenever you feel ready. I am praying for you.
I am deeply sorry to learn about the death of your wife. Sadly, I was away, and had no chance to attend the funeral; that’s why I am sending this message now. Oh, how you two loved each other. I want to let you know that you will get through this. We are all praying for you and the kids. May you find the fortitude to bear the loss. I would like to meet up, but I can understand if you are not ready yet. Do send me an email when you feel ready to do so.
Posted on 2020-02-12 21:58:10 by OurSympathy
Helping A Child Grieve A Parent’s Death
No matter how old a person is, the death of a parent is difficult and overwhelming. It can feel insurmountable at any age. The loss of a mother or father can be particularly hard for children to process. If you are the caregiver or another trusted adult of a child who has lost a parent, know that your support is vital when it comes to helping them process their grief and move forward. Here, we’ll share some important tips on what you can do to lovingly support a child after a parent has died.
How The Death Of A Parent Affects A Child
Young children rely on their parents to provide them with a sense of safety. When a parent dies, that sense of safety is ripped away from the child. If the child is old enough to understand what happened, the death will create an intense emotional upheaval.
Preschoolers’ completely depend on others for everything they need. They rely on their parents’ and other adults to feed them, hold them, and take care of them. This helps them feel secure in the world.
How To Help
When a parent dies, they may have difficulty understanding that death isn’t temporary. They may believe that the parent will return or is just sleeping. Preschoolers need other adults to do what the parent used to — feed them, give them presents, and hold them.
The surviving parent, guardians, or other family members must step in and ensure that the child feels well cared for and secure. It is important that the child is not left alone or ignored. This will help maintain their sense of well-being during this difficult time. In time, they will understand that the parent isn’t coming back and will accept the love and care of another adult.
Children ages 6 and up start to recognize that people exist separately from themselves. At this age, children are much clearer about death. By around age 10, children understand that everyone dies and this is something that cannot be avoided. They know that death equals with separation and with that awareness comes sadness. It is common for school-aged children to ask what happened to their mother or father. They might wonder if their parent is coming back and wonder what happens to a person’s body after death.
Emotionally, school-aged children may experience a range of feelings when a parent dies. They may feel sad, angry, and anxious. They might worry about their own death. It is not uncommon for school-aged children to exhibit behavioral problems when a parent dies— especially if they have trouble expressing their emotions. They may be anxious about other loved ones dying, and worry about who will take care of them if that happens. This might cause them to become clingy or whiny. Tantrums, especially when faced with separation of a caregiver, are not uncommon.
How To Help
Although you might be tempted to try to shelter the child from pain by saying that the parent “went to sleep,” resist the urge to use this kind of language. This is just confusing for the child and will create more anxiety. Children may interrupt euphemisms very differently than adults. They might fear going to sleep and never waking up. Be clear and help them understand what happened. They need to hear that their parent has died. However, it’s not necessary to tell them everything. Use language that is gentle and appropriate for their developmental level. You can say that it was not mommy or daddy’s choice to die. It’s also okay to say that the parent was sick and the doctors’ could not help them.
Children this age still need caregivers to take care of them and see to their needs. Like preschoolers, they should not be left alone to deal with their grief. They should feel loved and well taken care of. Maintaining consistent routines will also be important for school-aged children. This helps them know what to expect and reduces anxiety.
Make sure that the child understands that they are not at fault for their parent’s death. Remind them that the person loved them. Teach them how to honor their deceased parent through memory books, photographs, and other ways.
Teenagers are already dealing with a ton of issues — hormonal shifts, increasing independence, and physical changes. So, when a parent dies, it can be a life-shattering experience for teens.
Finding a way to process through grief in the months and years following the loss of a parent can help teens and young adults make sense of their emotions, reach a higher level of self-awareness, and learn how to cope with future stressors.
How To Help
Teens need some time by themselves to process grief. But, they also need to know that there are caring adults who they can turn to when they want to talk about their pain. Let them know that it is okay to experience a multitude of emotions when someone dies. Never tell them to “be strong for their siblings.” This can discourage them from talking about how they feel. Encourage them to express their feelings in their own way. That could be writing about their feelings or creating a memory book.
Just like younger children, teens are still dependent on their parents. They rely on adults for emotional support, housing, and transportation. Teens still need these things when a parent dies. They need to have other adults to provide stability and security during this difficult time.
Some teens may use drugs, alcohol or food to cope with emotional pain. Caregivers and other adults should keep an eye on the teen for things like erratic sleep patterns, dramatic weight fluctuations, and isolation from family and friends. These could indicate drug use, depression, or other issues. If you notice any of the above, it is important to seek help from a therapist trained in grief counseling.
With patience, understanding, and love, adults and caregivers can support children and teens as they navigate through the grief of losing a parent.