Sunday, July 17, 2011
Post One Hundred and Thirty Five: At First Glance.
For a while I avoided eye contact as much as possible with my client families after my inital hello. This wasn't purposeful, but I felt like I owed them this courtesy. And I was afraid. I assumed that by averting my eyes when their tears fell I was doing them a favour by holding together an invisible web of dignity. I was so wrong to assume this, yet I was just doing what was easy for me to make it through the interaction.
Working with grieving people is a challenge. Working with the general public is hard enough, but when people are grieving it adds a completely new dimension. Folks handle the loss of their (usually) loved one very differently, but most of the time the look on their face when they first view the deceased is distinct. Their eyes widen and inhale the image, then quickly snap shut as is if to reject the realities of the coffin and inhabitant in front of them. It's truly awful, and only now am I beginning to understand how I can make the meeting between dead person and live lover more comfortable.
That's all I can do.