May 2010 IssueVol 1, Issue 11


I Did Not Know 

What To Say  



WELCOME EVERYONE!  Our online community is growing and we are honored to have you be a part of the journey.


How do you plan to spend your Memorial Weekend?  I was talking to my grandmother the other day and she was busy trying to get her potted flowers together to take to the cemetery on Memorial Weekend.  For many years now my grandmother has brought together many family and friends on this special weekend to pay tribute to our loved ones that have passed away.  This pilgrimage has become a tradition that she truly cherishes each year.


Being a good listener is truly a gift.  This month I will share with you Ten Tips I have learned over the years on how to improve your listening skills.  Listening is such a wonderful skill to develop but we spend so little time in school learning the proper techniques.  For over ten years, I worked with student leaders at The George Washington University teaching them the fundamental skills of listening.  Our students were always amazed at how little they knew about being a good listening.  I hope that these tips will help you improve your listening capabilities.

Your input is very important to us!  This month we ask that you take part in two surveys.  First, we ask you to give us your feedback on how we can improve our website.  Second, Lexie Brockway Potamkin is researching the topic What is Death and she would like to hear about your beliefs and experiences.  Please see the survey details below. 

Each month our newsletter will feature a new article giving you a different perspective on how to assist your friends and family through the grieving process. Please feel free to pass our newsletter on to anyone that may benefit from our articles and inspirational messages.
Have a suggestion or a story you would like to share? We would love to hear from you.

With Love & Gratitude,
"The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing ~ not healing~ not curing~ that is a friend who cares."
 ~ Henri Nouwen
In This Issue
Featured Article
Discussion Topics
Thoughtful Sympathy Gifts
Events & Interviews
About Us
Quick Links
Pass It On 
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Featured Article of the Month
The Gift of Listening

After the loss of loved one, there is nothing more important you can do for a friend than being a good listener.  Listen to their grief, their fears, their stories, their joy and all the emotions that come with grieving over the loss of a loved one.
But what does it take to be a good listener?
To truly master the art of listening one must approach each situation with an open heart and mind.  Each relationship and situation is unique and requires us to find that place within our hearts to open up and allow another person to fully express themselves.
Often we are in a hurry to get to the next appointment, anxious to speak our own view point or have too many "other' things on our mind that we fail to pay attention to the person right in front of us.  We must overcome our natural desire to be the one talking and just allow the other person to freely express their emotions without interruption.  Sounds easy enough... so why is it so difficult?
Why is listening so hard?
  • When it comes to grief, it may be difficult to hear the deep sadness your loved one is going through
  • You may be drawn to try to "fix" their grief instead of allowing them the space to naturally go through the normal stages of healing
  • It is often difficult to give up our own beliefs and opinions on how "grief" should be expressed
  • Life can be hectic and it is difficult at times to focus our attention on one person
  • Sometimes we are just too tired to listen
10 Tips on becoming a better listener...
  1. Focus your attention on the person - not on the million other things that you could be doing.  And yes, turn off your cell phone!
  2. Allow the person to express their feelings without interruption
  3. Be willing to make a connection with an open heart
  4. Body language - observe facial expressions, tone of voice, eye contact, and hand gestures - is their body language congruent with what they are saying
  5. Listen to both the Facts and the Feelings in what the person is saying
  6. Use open-ended questions that allow the person to express their feelings rather than questions that lead to a yes or no answer. "How does that make you feel? 
  7.  Listen to how things are being said and what is not being said
  8. Own and express your personal feelings by using "I" statements
  9.  Listen to your intuition.  What is your inner voice telling you?
  10.  Be honest.  If you are not in a place that you feel you can listen, let your friend know that you love them but at that moment you are not able to fully be there for them.  Try to make plans to meet with them at another time when you feel you are able to make a connection and are free from other distractions.
Allowing a loved one the space to freely express their feelings at a time of great loss can be very therapeutic and can assist them in restoring balance in their life.
Never underestimate the value of being a good listener.
"One often hears the remark "He talks too much." But when did anyone last hear the criticism "He listens too much?"
~ Norman Augustine
© 2010 Lori Pederson

WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it:  Lori Pederson, Founder of I Did Not Know What To Say, a website built to inspire and to provide you with tools to assist a love one through the grieving process.  If you would like our free newsletter on how to assist your friends and family members through the journey of restoring balance in their life after the death of a love one, please visit our website at
This Month's Inspiration -
If you are in need of a little inspiration this month, be sure to take a few minutes to log on to for inspirational stories, quotes and tips to brighten your day.
Be sure to also check out Laurie Sue Brockway's, The Inspiration Report for News and Stories to Make You Smile on  Laurie Sue has been a great supporter of our website and we are so grateful for her encouragement.
Surveys & Discussion Topics
Help Us Improve Our Website - 
 Take Our Survey Today!
"What is Death" by Lexie Brockway Potamkin
Please complete the Survey by May 29th
We have all lost loved ones. We have all felt the pangs of loss when we hear about huge calamities or when a beloved famous person dies. Ever wonder what death is really like? Does it mean gently slipping gently out of your body and into heaven as if slipping into another room...could it be we leave our bodies but our hearts and souls live on... do we meet our loved ones... are we escorted by we see God... is it a beautiful peaceful journey or is it a tragedy to be feared... do we still have a regrets and/or sense of humor when we get to the "other side"?
Please share what you know in your heart and share any experiences you have had that have helped you answer the question, "What is death?" 
We invite you to join our on-going discussions on our Facebook page.  Not on Facebook?  We have also posted our discussion topics on our Blog.  Current topics include: 
Thoughtful Sympathy Gift Ideas
good grief care packageVisit our Thoughtful Sympathy Gifts page for sympathy gifts ideas for your loved ones. 
We hope the thoughtful gifts listed on our website inspire you to give warmth and joy to your friends and family in their time of need.
Visit our website for special discounts from our Thoughtful Sympathy Gift vendors.
Events & Interviews
May 25, 26, 27, 2010 - Let - Love - Live - 3-Part Teleseminar Series 
Louise Rouse - Americas Grief Coach
Viritual Interviews 
Posted on November 8, 2009 - Author, Jean Reagan - Always My Brother 
Posted on December 1, 2009 - Author, Marcy Kelly - From Sorrow to Dancing
If you are an author or an expert in the grief recovery field and would like to be interviewed, please contact us at

To order these books and preview other inspirational books, be sure to visit our Helpful Books page.
About I Did Not Know What To & Lori Pederson
LoriLori Pederson created I Did Not Know What To Say in April 2009 as a platform to inspire and provide resources to people that wanted to help their friends and family through the grieving process. 
Lori's expertise comes from those experiences that only life can provide.  Over the past twenty years, Lori has lost many family members, including her mother to ovarian cancer, as well as many friends, colleagues and pets.  She is no stranger to loss and the grieving process.
Throughout her life she has been blessed with many friends and relatives that were there for her as she experienced these great losses. She understands that although people want to help, they often don't know where to start.  I Did Not Know What To was created out of Lori's desire to assist people find the words when they don't know what to say or do.
You can learn more about Lori and her organization by visiting, reading her personal Blog or contacting her at:
Lori Pederson
Each week we will be adding new inspirational stories and resources to our website and Blog.   Help us reach our goal of providing inspiration and insight to the world by sharing your story or resource with our online community.  We would love to hear from you! 
Please email us your inspirational stories, letters/cards that have reached your heart, a favorite quote, an unforgettable adventure, a thoughtful gift idea, a book that touched your life, or a suggestion for our website or newsletter to
If you are an author or expert in the field of grief recovery, we would love to interview you for our Blog and/or one of our upcoming newsletters.

If you have a website, Blog or newsletter, we ask that you consider including our information on your site.  Here is the link:
I Did Not Know What To Say is a website designed to inspire and provide you with tools to assist a love one through the grieving process.
With Love & Gratitude, 
Founder, I Did Not Know What To Say
Copyright 2010' I Didn't Know What To Say(TM) Newsletter.  All Rights Reserved.