On October 27th a number of Buzzy’s Bees volunteers participated in a webinar, “Becoming Grief Informed,” through the Dougy Center. It was presented by Monique B. Mitchell, PhD, FT, who is Director of Training and Translational Research at the center. She guided us through why, what, and how to become grief informed.
Buzzy’s founder and president, Amanda Drews, set up the opportunity to participate because Buzzy’s Bees volunteers find themselves more and more in direct contact with families. She stated, “During our Give Grief a Voice sessions we engage in narrative storytelling of the families story of loss, when speaking to families about financial gifts we are often hearing a detailed account of their lives and hardship in relation to child loss, and within DUBS our peer support groups engage in heavy conversations.”
Several of our Buzzy’s attendees reflected that a highlight from the webinar was when Monique shared “What to Say, and Not Say,” included on this Dougy Center tip sheet. Even though many of us feel seasoned in working with grieving families, several of these phrases were very helpful and we’ve already started adjusting our language. An example: Rather than “I know what you’re going through” try “Grief is so unique for each person. What is it like for you?” In this way you can let someone know we get it without closing the door on their unique experience and connection with the person who died.
Julie Schneider, Buzzy’s board member, shared, “The webinar provided several nuggets that I’ll take with me in the work we do to support bereaved families. The statement about grief being complex, and that people are having a normal response to a complex situation, stood out in particular. The resources that The Dougy Center has built and shares are such a gift. I’m so glad to have participated.”
We are so fortunate to have Dougy Center, the National Grief Center for Children and Families, right in our backyard. We are thankful for the many resources Dougy Center makes available and look forward to working with them again.
From Amanda, “Being educated is important. Becoming grief informed will help the Buzzy’s team be more sensitive in our actions and more eloquent with our words.”