Author Dana Lacy Amarisa talks about the Be a Bridge project and how it started
What I Did
But Wait, There’s More!
Surviving the loss of my daughter, then my dad, and then my son in a 20-month period caused me to quickly develop a very personal relationship with just about every version of the worst thing we can say to a grieving friend.
Before these losses changed my life, I was the person saying many of those same hurtful condolences! During my losses, grief transported me to the other side of a giant but invisible canyon from my friends and family, and none of us knew how to bridge the gap.
In an Aha! moment, I realized that as a marketing writer I could write the little book I so desperately wanted to give my friends and family that would explain what I needed when I couldn’t explain a thing.
So after about 4 years, I began to write. In between despairing that I wasn’t up to the job, I listened to stories about the scary, often hurtful world of condolences from grievers, their friends, people standing in line at the bank and sitting beside me in airplanes. I conducted formal interviews as well. I sought feedback from psychologists, hospice and grief counselors, palliative care providers, social workers, nurses, editors and more.
On and off over the course of 15 years I took in a multitude of suggestions, ideas and insights, all while learning to soften my hurt and guarded heart enough so I could speak with clarity and kindness about something that once had caused me so much pain. And that’s how I came to write, Condolences Pocket Guide, What to Say and Not to Say to Grievers.
The biggest surprise that’s come from writing Condolences Pocket Guide has been that, in studying how best to explain condolences to others, my own heart has healed. Why I’m surprised, I don’t know, because the whole premise of my book is that when we drop our guard and speak from our heart to someone in pain, we all get healed in the process.
Finishing my book made it clear that it was just the beginning of a larger vision I have about helping ease conversations with grievers. So I started the Be a Bridge Condolences Project to encourage and educate family and friends about meaningful consolation, by…
… offering Consolation Coaching to hospital staff and civic groups,
… and offering the Let’s Talk Forum to everyone!
Together, we can learn to offer Be a Bridge style condolences to a grieving friend, and make a real difference in their life.
To help ease conversations with grievers by encouraging and educating their family and friends about consolation