I had to tell a Mom that her son died. He was a grown young man, victim of a freak accident, out of the blue.
From what I could glean, Mom was essentially all alone. It was, or had been, a positive time in their lives. Her son was soon to be married, and they had been enjoying the pre-wedding whirl.
She knew, as they all do when we place the family in the ‘Chapel,’ that it was bad.
I tried to do all the things we are taught about communicating bad news to families – get down on eye level, use unmistakeable words and simple sentences, hold a hand, give her time.
Her sobs, though inaudible, were heartwrenching.
I told her that I don’t think he felt any pain, or even knew what happened. It was true this time, although sometimes I say it even when I’m not sure. It’s the only comfort I can offer.