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 snuck into place while I studied how best to help others say helpful condolences, was that my own heart has healed. I don’t know why I’m surprised, because the whole premise of my book is about how 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 the tip of the iceberg in satisfying a larger urgent and unmet need for help in offering heart-felt consolation to friends, co-workers and employees. So I started the Be a Bridge Condolences Project to encourage and educate all who want to learn that, yes they can make a positive difference in a grieving person’s life. Here’s how we help:
… offering Condolences Coaching to improve staff retention and patient satisfaction at hospitals, civic groups and end-of-life 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 positive difference in their life.
To help ease conversations with grievers by encouraging and educating family, friends and professional organizations about consolation.