What to Say (and Not to Say) to the Bereaved

One of the most uncomfortable situations we will all come across at some time in our lives is interacting with a friend or relative who has had a friend or loved one die. The challenge that most of us face during this time of bereavement is what to say to the bereaved. I just came across a well-written article in the Huffington Post by Carole Brody Fleet: 15 Things You Should Never Say to the Bereaved http://tinyurl.com/9fwm86d. Having experienced bereavement on a personal basis, I think Carole’s advise is solid and worth reading.

She approaches the subject from a point of empathy, giving the reader not only things you should never say, but also including what the bereaved is probably thinking if you say it. Don’t worry, however. At the end of the article, she gives the reader suggestions of what to say. My favorite suggestion in this part is, “You might not be ready to talk about it today, but when you’re ready, I’m here to listen.” I have written much on the topic of listening. Being a good listener and offering a comforting heart is most welcomed in the case of comforting the bereaved.

A time when we most want to be heard is when we are hurting. So offer your heart, your ear and your love…and just listen.

Live Theater – An Unexpected Love Story

I don’t remember my parents taking me and my brothers to live theater growing up. We went to plenty of movies and loved it, but no live theater. It still baffles me how, after soooo many years, I have fallen in love with live theater. How did this come about? Here’s a synopsis of the love story:

I mentioned to my business coach about seven years ago that after nine years on the Board of Directors of a wonderful non-profit organization here in Austin, I was ready for a change. Her eyes lit up as she said, “You have to come to a ZACH party!” I learned not to question the advice of this business coach, so I did just that…I went to a ZACH party. She was right!

The Zachary Scott Theatre (ZACH) http://www.zachtheatre.org/ in Austin is the oldest continuously operating theatre in the State of Texas. “So what?” you say (as did I back then). I was not interested in theatre and certainly knew little about it. But like so many things in life, it’s not the building, business, or idea that’s important, it’s the people! I quickly discovered that the people associated with ZACH were not only smart and caring, but also fun folks to be with. And while that is an important ingredient in my decision to get involved, that alone wasn’t enough to cause me to fall in love with it.

My love of theater began with the first play I saw at ZACH. I saw their production of Tennessee Williams’ Streetcar Named Desire. I saw the Marlon Brando movie and liked it, but it’s a very different experience when it is performed live…and with professional actors. Part of ZACH’s mission is to “create intimate theatre”. To me that means that you leave the experience of your day behind when you are in the theatre and are taken to the time and place where the play is living. And at ZACH, you feel like you can almost touch the actors. I actually feel that I am a different person in a different place when experiencing live theater. That’s probably why I love live theater so much. It’s an escape from the “outside world” for a brief period of time…and yet it seems like it lasts for countless hours.

Many of you might be thinking, “Sure, Mike. There is live theater, and then there is LIVE THEATER!” If you have never experienced the joys of the escape that I am describing, come to a play at ZACH. Thanks largely to the expertise and professional talents of the Artistic Director at ZACH, Dave Steakley, you will not be disappointed! And if you’re not careful, you might fall in love, too!