Empathetic listening (is communication taboo?)

Yesterday I was meant to have my first phone session with a bereavement volunteer from Cruse but I somehow forgot about it and didn’t answer the call. She emailed me later so I apologised but straight away thought, wait a minute, do I want a stranger to demonstrate empathetic listening to me over the phone regarding how I feel about my mum’s death?

In October last year I had that online training for a live in carer position when a lady running it demonstrated empathetic listening to my comment about mum having excellent memory for everyday matters, and it made me very uncomfortable. Probably even slightly angry (‘how dare you assume how I feel; you don’t know me at all’).

So I asked the volunteer if that’s what their service is based on and she confirmed. I didn’t think to ask this question earlier; I think I somehow assumed it was rude and possibly also I was just ‘getting on’ with how things are in this country.

I think I’m not grieving anymore, if I have to be honest, but the difficult situation with my brother is playing on my mind. My mum’s deteriorating health and her death exposed issues I didn’t want to think about but those issues don’t have a solution so what’s the point.

I however now think (again): is communication about communication taboo? Why is it ok to assume that everyone needs an empathetic ear and those people who don’t, need to just get on with it?

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