Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Death Notification Class

Last week I participated in the MADD Death Notification Class held in Montgomery County, PA. The class was open for all first responders-police and EMT's and was very well attended. The executive director of PA MADD spoke and requested input from those of us who had lost loved ones. Three MADD volunteers talked about their particular losses and the specifics of the notification to them that their loved one had died. Practical pointers were provided , including suggestions of what to say and what not to say. I provided input concerning my "notification." I remember that night and what was said to me and how it was said vividly and will remember those details for the rest of my life. The doctors who told me that Casey had not survived surgery are now part of my "new story." I reminded those in attendance to remember that each of them, when they notify of a loved one's death, will also become part of that family's new story and that they can provide and incredible gift by starting the family's journey with kindness and compassion and understanding. The lessons I learned from my own experience as well as those learned from the class will help me as I try to comfort others, including my clients who have lost loved ones.