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Communicating Your Loss to Others

Communicating Your Loss
Who should you tell about your loss? And how should you tell them? Here are a few helpful tips that can make communicating your loss to others a little easier.

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It’s amazing how many people we interact with on a regular basis who aren’t a part of our family or personal day-to-day lives. When we lose someone close to us, one of the most trying aspects is having to let others who are outside of our inner circle know about the loss. But at some point, the information has to be relayed to others.

Who should you tell about your loss? And how should you tell them? 

It would be great if someone could handle this part of the process for you, but it’s a necessity that has to be handled personally. Here are a few helpful tips that can make communicating your loss to others a little easier. 

How to Communicate Your Loss to Your Boss

If you are employed there’s a good chance you’ll need time off for the funeral services as well as time to grieve. For that reason, your boss should be one of the first people you contact. Usually making the first contact by email is perfectly acceptable. 

  • It’s best to let your employer know right away since grief makes it difficult to work, even from home.
  • Base how much detail you provide on your relationship with your boss. 
  • At a minimum you’ll need to let your boss know the basics. Essentially, that you lost someone who you were close to and how much time you need off. 
  • Let your boss know the status of any open projects. 
  • Tell them what you need help with in terms of managing projects and covering tasks.

This is also a good time to inquire about the company bereavement policy. Most bereavement plans provide three paid days of leave in the event an immediate family member passes away and one day for the death of more distant relatives and friends.

How to Communicate Your Loss to Teachers and Professors

School is another part of life that has to be dealt with when you lose a loved one. If you’re currently enrolled in college or a professional course it’s best to reach out to the instructor immediately. It should be fine to reach out by email to give them the basic details. It’s completely fine to ask for an extension on deadlines if they are needed. You’ll also need to ask about how tests can be made up if one is scheduled. 

If you have school-aged children you’ll need to let their teachers know about the situation, especially if they are taking the loss hard. Teachers are very accommodating and can keep an eye out for behavior changes in class while also making sure your child doesn’t fall behind.

How to Communicate Your Loss to Friends

Our network of friends and family isn’t completely intertwined. You can lose a close friend but much of your social circle could go on just like normal completely unaware. And even if your friends have met the loved one they might not know about the death until you tell them. 

Text messaging is one of the easiest ways to let friends know about a loss and that you may be out of touch for a while. Reach out first to friends you have plans with to let them know you have to cancel. If discussing what happened is difficult you can ask a friend if they can relay the message to others. 

Be upfront about the type of support you want and need. Friends are more than happy to help in any way they can, and that includes giving you some space if you need it. 

As uncomfortable as it can feel to have to tell others about your loss it’s important to let others in your life know about the situation. It’s not only a practical matter it can also be emotionally beneficial to open up to others. Ultimately, how much you share is up to you, but in most cases, people are very understanding without needing to know all the details.

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