Unfortunately, we have all dealt with a death of a loved one. My grandmother's (from which Southern Hospitality came to be) death was one of the hardest times for myself and my family. She was one of the most important people in my life and was the bond that held our family together. Sitting at the funeral home with eyes swollen from days of uncontrollable crying, and a fog that sat on top of me, I could not name those in attendance but one thing I can remember, are the kind words and beautiful stories; those acts of kindness have become an important part of her memory.
Last Sunday was a difficult day for many with the loss of icon basketball star Kobe Bryant and daughter Gigi. In the last few days social media has been taken over by inspiring images and memes of Kobe and Gigi, it gives us something positive to hold on to. It's important to remember and celebrate those who have inspired us to be who we are, but not without respect for family members who are left with broken hearts, and questions.
I would encourage you to be thoughtful when posting on social media. Remember that words written can not be erased in this day of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Those words, which may come from a place of sadness and anger can often cut others. I wanted to share some etiquettes on how to handle yourself during time of grief.
1. Be sensitive to family members who are experiencing loss when posting on social media. We live in a time where every post can be seen, retweeted thousands of times and the likely hood of it getting in front of those most affected is great.
2. If you don't agree with someone's post, simply move on. Nothing can be accomplished by arguing back and forth through social media.
3. If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all. Just because you may not have liked or respected the person doesn't mean everyone shares your opinion. Always remember, that someone was a son, a daughter, a sibling, a friend, and possibly a spouse or parent.
4. Do something kind for the family. My husband asks why I always take food to someone who has experienced a loss and I only know this....I was raised that when someone is in a crisis you stand next that friend (sometimes even hold them) by taking a meal so that it may ease the burden in their time of grief.
5. When a funeral procession is on the road...PULL OVER! There is no reason you can not give a family a few moments to show respect for the person they are mourning.
6. If the family has opted for a visitation book, please sign it. Be sure to print your name and address clearly to allow an easier time for family writing thank you notes.
7. Don't feel the need to send expensive flowers. Instead, a nice note or card with a heartfelt message is as meaningful, if not more.
8. Offer to help with reception. After a funeral, most families will host a reception where people spend time sharing stories with family and friends. This typically takes place at the church, the loved ones home, or even a family members. Offer to go before to help set up food tables, wash dishes or even take out trash.
These posts are not the easiest but I do hope to make it a little easier the next time you are faced with a loss.