The Power of Presence

Following a death or difficult circumstances, how often have we wanted to offer condolences but are at a loss for what to say? How often do we say, “I know how you feel” without really understanding how that other person has been impacted by their loss? Can we ever really walk in someone’s shoes? Sometimes just being there is the “right thing to say.” An article in the Journal of Palliative Medicine, Vol. 13, No. 3, 2010, “The Power of Presence,” by Jefri Ann Franks, M.S. very effectively illustrates just that.

Being present means being comfortable with silence and not having the need to “fix” it with words. It creates a sense of sharing in the moment. It can be the most profound intervention we can employ to help people in their grief or through life’s transitions.

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