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The rare power of an honest conversation about grief

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Two women sit side-by-side on a brown sofa, with heads bowed. Women on left has her hands clasped in her lap, women on right has her left hand covering her face.
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Though each person's grief at the loss of loved one is unique, we can be supportive of ourselves and of each other in processing it.

Rebecca Soffer thinks American culture doesn't do a very good job when it comes to handling grief.

"We have been raised to not have a normal conversation about grief," says the author of "The Modern Loss Handbook: An Interactive Guide to Move Through Grief and Building Your Resilience." She notes that we tend to fall back on platitudes or saying nothing at all.

What is important is that people who have suffered the tremendous loss of someone close need to have their grief recognized.

For that, Soffer encourages you to reach out even if it's simply to acknowledge that you don't know what to say. "It's okay to admit that you don't have the magic answer or the fix, but it is as important to say 'but I'm here for you.'"

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When I host Up To Date each morning at 9 a.m., my aim is to engage the community in conversations about the Kansas City area’s challenges, hopes and opportunities. I try to ask the questions that listeners want answered about the day’s most pressing issues and provide a place for residents to engage directly with newsmakers. My email is steve@kcur.org.
As senior producer of Up To Date, I want our listeners to hear familiar and new voices that shine light on the issues and challenges facing the myriad communities KCUR serves, and to expose our audiences to the wonderful and the creative in the Kansas City area. Just as important to me is an obligation to mentor the next generation of producers to ensure that the important conversations continue. Reach me at alexanderdk@kcur.org.