Thank you for joining us on our Virtual Book Tour.
Today we welcome Robbie Miller Kaplan, Author of How to Say It® When You Don’t Know What to Say. Robbie’s interview offers many insights and practical suggestions on how to express your sympathy to a grieving loved one.
Please feel free to comment or share your own experiences on how your friends and family have assisted you in restoring balance in your life after the loss of a loved one in the comment section below.
1. What inspired you to write the book How to Say It® When You Don’t Know What to Say?
I faced a number of difficult experiences and some folks said some insensitive things that were hurtful. I realized over time that people didn’t mean to say inappropriate things; they just were at a loss for words and didn’t know what to say. I decided to write a book to demonstrate how you can be supportive by saying and doing things that would be helpful and healing, not hurtful.
2. Is there any one thing that your family or friends did for you that assisted you through the grieving process? (i.e. a special card someone sent you, a favorite place they took you, listened when you needed support, etc.)
When you’ve experienced a loss, you need to tell your story over and over again to make sense of it. This can be really hard for many people to do; the tendency is to say, “You’ve already told me that.” Several friends and family members gave me the gift of listening. They allowed me to vent and they listened to the same stories and frustrations. It was their support that helped me through the toughest times.
3. Our website focuses on providing tips to friends and family members on how to support a loved one through the grieving process. What would be your top three suggestions on how to positively support a loved one that is grieving?
a. Keep in touch by phone, cards, notes, and e-mail. Even if you get no response, keep sending notes and e-mails. Grief is so debilitating the bereaved may not be able to respond, but your care and kindness will mean so much to them.
b. Ask, “What can I do to help?” But only do so if you are willing to do whatever is asked.
c. When they’re comfortable and willing to talk, listen and be fully present. No interruptions, no personal stories or comments. Focus your attention solely on the bereaved.
4. What is one thing you would like your readers to take away from your books?
You don’t need to make grand gestures to make a difference. Decide on one or two things that you’re comfortable doing and do them for everyone. For example, ask if you can do an errand at the pharmacy along with your own or pick up a rotisserie chicken and a bag of salad when you do your grocery shopping. Simple, helpful gestures mean a lot to the bereaved.
5. What do you want our readers to know about you and your books?
I know first-hand how difficult it is to deal with a family member’s difficult illness or the death of a loved one. I feel very passionate about the importance of helping and supporting not just family members and friends but colleagues, neighbors, and community members. It can be intimidating to reach out to someone dealing with a terrible loss. My writing focuses on the importance of doing a kindness, but also on simple suggestions that are easy to implement. My philosophy is one kind and thoughtful deed can make a world of difference to someone experiencing loss. Wouldn’t you want to be that person that makes a difference?
6. Do you plan to write any additional books in the future?
If there was a topic I felt needed to be addressed, I would consider it.
Robbie has had a long and extremely interesting road to becoming a successful author. When she started out writing career and job search books, she had no idea she would eventually write about loss and grief. It’s Robbie’s personal experience and her desire to make a difference in the lives of those grieving a loss that motivated her to write How to Say It® When You Don’t Know What to Say. Her book is now available in print volumes for Illness & Death, Suicide, Miscarriage, and e-books for Death of a Child, Death of a Stillborn or Newborn Baby, Pet Loss, Caregiver Responsibilities, and Divorce. All are available for the Amazon Kindle.