Within the last six month I have had three friends who have lost a parent. In each of these instances I have communicated with all of the electronically/via social media about their loss. While some folks might be aghast that someone would even consider “sending an email”, about a family death, I have found it to be much appreciated and genuine. Whether or not everyone wants to accept it, some of us can communicate pretty effective in this way.
In the first instance, a friend of mine’s father past away. The funeral home had some information about the deceased on their site. I wanted to see this. I read the material and got a review of his life. I had known him well and I was moved by the words and pictures. After reading about his life, I was not sure if my schedule would allow me to attend the services. So I took time and wrote a couple of paragraphs on the funeral home’s web site adding my thoughts about his life to some of the other comments.
Fortunately I was able to attend the visitation. As I went through the receiving line, I met one of the family members whom I had never met. I introduce myself, and told her of my relationship with her father. She smiled and looked at me and said, “That was wonderful what you wrote on the website about Dad.”
Ok I am not looking for a pat on the back, but when I comment on the funeral home’s site I was truly and honestly expressing my feelings, in fear of not being able to attend the funeral. Whether or not I had met this woman, what I had to say touched her, and allowed me to share publicly how I felt about her father. Thus it was effective communication, and delivered in a respectful manner.
Two other friends, both fellow SHRM board members, each lost a parent recently. In both of these instances there were too many miles between us to practically allow me to attend the services. I shared my feelings with both of them with electronic means.
Since that time I have had a chance to speak with both of them face to face. Both were appreciative of the fact that I had reached out to share my feelings with them. There was no negative perception of the means in which I chose to communicate. Given the circumstances I feel the communication I offered was more heartfelt, real and original than a card, or flowers, or anything else an “out of towner” might do to express their feelings.
Going forward from here, I have learned that sharing your feeling with someone who has experienced the lost of a loved one is better than not sharing. I have no qualms or reservations about sharing my feelings about the loss of a loved one, regardless of the means