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  • Lesson 2: The Dynamics of Loss

    The death of a loved one is something for which no family can ever completely prepare. In the hours and days following, each member of the family will experience several stages of grief. Since each person goes through these stages at their own pace, as a sympathy consultant it is important to have an understanding of each stage because you may be dealing with family members during any stage of the grieving process.

    The Stages of Grief

    1. Denial
    Death becomes an overwhelming fact. Family members find themselves in shock, and will often be unable to cope with decision making. As a floral consultant dealing with family members in the denial stage, you will be required to give strong support and guidance during the sympathy consultation.

    2. Anger
    Anger may be directed at a specific incident or individual, or simply an overall "angry" demeanor. Often the emotion of anger is accompanied by feelings of guilt. If a family member is in the anger stage, they may lash out during the sympathy consultation. Understand that these feelings are about death and loss, not about you personally.

    3. Bargaining
    In this stage, survivors try to "strike a deal" with a higher power to bring back their loved one if they act in a particular way, or if they accomplish a particular task. It's important during the sympathy consultation to be a good listener. Be supportive and sympathetic, but also be careful to avoid telling family members that you know how they feel. Each person's grief is unique, so allow them to have their own feelings.

    4. Depression
    Depression is often the longest stage of the grieving process. A feeling of hopelessness and an inability to cope with living often prevails. As you conduct the sympathy consultation, be gentle, compassionate and patient as you lead the client through the decision making process.

    5. Acceptance
    The final stage of grief is acceptance. At this stage, family members are able to acknowledge the death and recognize that they have entered a new stage of their lives. During the consultation, even if family members are displaying signs of acceptance, you still need to be encouraging and supportive. Even in the stage of acceptance, family members may show signs of the other stages of grief.

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