Serving all faiths and those with no faith
When a Chaplain arrives with an officer normally to assist the police to notify family of a death here are a few items to keep in mind.
Verify the identity of the person that has died and make sure you have a match with the family and that address is the correct address. The police department will normally have done this.
When you arrive, verify that the person you are speaking with is indeed the proper person, then ask to enter the home and gather all the family into one room and ask that they sit down
The reason that we have everyone sit down is to avoid anyone getting hurt because when the news of the death is given often people will fall to the floor with shock and grief.
We keep the notification direct and to the point by stating that their loved one or family member has died. “We are sorry to inform you that your son has died in a car accident.”
The person or people will do what they need to do at this moment, allow the news to sink in, it is perfectly fine that they cry and at times some people will even moan or scream. We do not tell people not to cry. It is very important to be there with them no matter what happens. Just holding their hand can be very helpful. Let them know you are there for them.
You can offer to pray with them if that is what they would like.
If the officer has to leave he or she will leave the chaplain at the home to make sure that the person or the family has a good support system with them.
The Chaplain normally offers to contact the religious leaders of the family whether it be a Priest, Bishop, Rabbi or other leader.
With UPD we often respond with a victim advocate and when the time is right we present them with a bereavement packet. The information in the packet goes over the steps they will need to follow to prepare for the funeral and other items that need to be done and in what order.
We leave this packet with the family member that seems most capable at the moment.
Chaplains have experience giving basic counseling services and Chaplains know how to find additional assistance when needed..
I will leave my information with the person and make sure they have a good support system before I leave the home.