Loved ones may display a number of reactions to receiving a death notification. Some reactions include shock, disbelief, denial, anger, numbness, and sorrow. Some loved ones may not react at all.
Intense reactions are normal but they are difficult to deal with and to witness. It is not uncommon for the Next of Kin to scream, sob uncontrollably, or become angry at you, the messenger. Some may become behaviorally frozen and immobilized. They may simply stare wide-eyed, incapable of doing or saying anything. Some people will react with a primitive fight or flight response. Those whose basic reaction to stress is to become aggressive may curse, blame the messenger, or hit something or someone. Those whose basic reaction to stress is to flee may retreat to another room, run outside or faint. Some may immediately begin to cry, moan, or wail. All of these reactions are a normal response to hearing this shocking news.
Monitor the Next of Kin for these reactions. Sometimes being a physical presence is all that is needed. Other times, the reactions manifest into a physical response and medical assistance may be needed. The Death Notification Team should be prepared for any and all of these reactions. Loved ones should not be judged by their reactions. They are merely having a normal reaction to an abnormal event.
Loved ones may display a number of reactions to receiving a death notification. They are having a normal reaction to an abnormal event.
- Reactions vary
- Shock, disbelief, denial
- Fear, anger, confusion
- Fight or flight