“ARE you okay?” may be a question you may want to avoid asking family members at a funeral.
“A loved one just died, how would one feel okay? So why do people ask that? Because they feel that silence is uncomfortable. But that is the one time that your silence means more than words.
“Just being there to show support is more important than empty words. Just a touch of a hand or a nod would be more meaningful than opening your mouth to say something meaningless, ” said Taylor’s University psychology programme director Assoc Prof Dr Anasuya Jegathevi Jegathesan.
What to say or not say at a funeral is one of the things she will address at Star Empowerment: Healing Hearts 2020, a forum on grief management.
“There are some things that could be considered ‘wrong’ during funerals. Some questions do hurt and put more pressure on family members.”
She suggested that instead of asking “Are you okay?”, it would be more appropriate to say, “I am sorry for your loss.”
“Don’t ask vague questions, but specific ones like ‘When was the last time you ate?”
The talk is open to everyone, namely those in the grief and loss industry, someone who is dealing with the loss of a loved one or anyone interested in learning more about grief management.
“The forum is not just for people who are grieving. For practitioners, it is to understand the process.
“For those facing death, it is to look at death from a different perspective, ” said Anasuya, adding that she welcomes questions from the audience.
At the forum, she will be sharing some case studies, debunking some myths and misconceptions, and talk about the different customs and cultures when dealing with death.
She hopes that people can learn to get over the idea that grief is taboo or something negative.
“Learn about death and how to manage the grieving process.
“Grief does not lead to depression. Yes, you feel sad for the passing of someone you care for but it does not mean you have depression.
“You are not sick, you are not depressed, you are just missing someone you have lost and honouring the memory of a loved one, ” she said.
Star Empowerment: Healing Hearts 2020 will be held on March 31 from 9am to 5pm, at Menara Star, Petaling Jaya. Taylor’s University is the educational partner.
Tickets are priced at RM80 per pax, subject to 6% SST.
For details or to register, email email@example.com or call 03-7967 1388 ext 1857.