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07 June 2017

Three Ways To Support Bereaved Employees

It’s difficult to know what to say to someone who’s lost a loved one, especially if the loss was unexpected or the result of a terrible accident or attack. So many of us are afraid to approach a person who has been bereaved. We don’t know what to say, so avoid talking to them or act like nothing’s happened, without realising how distressing this can be to the bereaved person. When Sheryl Sandbury, LeanIn author and COO of Facebook, curled up for a nap and woke up to find her 47 year-old husband had unexpectedly died, her loss made global headlines. But it was the response of her colleagues when she returned to work 10 days later that really shocked her: “We sit at open desks and we share openly. It’s part of who we are,” she says, “But everyone looked at me like I was a ghost. No one would talk to me.” It turned out they wanted to, they just didn’t know what to say. So what should you say to someone suffering the pain of having lost a loved one and how can you support someone experiencing grief, instead of making them feel isolated?

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