Healing Conversations: What To Say When You Don'tKnow What to Say, Revised Edition
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More About This Title Healing Conversations: What To Say When You Don'tKnow What to Say, Revised Edition


Whether it's the loss of a job, a marriage, or a life, in today's 24/7 world we're increasingly faced with uncomfortable situations where we don’t know what to say yet we're called upon to quickly respond -- online or in person. We may fumble, avoid contact, or simply walk away perplexed, thinking we have done a bad job of responding to our friends, family, neighbors, clients, and co-workers. How do we pause, listen, and offer comfort in those hard moments? Filled with touching stories, this practical guide helps us step into someone else's shoes so that we can empathetically learn how to respond in times of need. The revised compact edition includes a new introduction, index and short reflections at the end of each chapter to help readers become more comfortable and effective when offering or accepting comfort in their demanding lives.


Nance Guilmartin is a four-time regional Emmy award-winning broadcast journalist, speaker, business advisor, executive coach, and community service advocate. As a Westinghouse Broadcasting executive, she helped launch national initiatives, including the Designated Driver Program and the For Kids' Sake and Time to Care campaigns. Prior to her television career, she was press secretary to the late U.S. Senator Paul Tsongas. Her listening skills developed as a young news writer at CBS radio in Boston. Today she challenges organizations and executives to achieve breakthroughs and unlock hidden opportunities.


A Preface for Changing Times.

An Invitation to Healing Conversations.

Getting Started.

Supporting others without fixing, rescuing, or judging.

1 When You Need a Friend.

Please, Don’t Ask Me How I Am, Unless . . .

Beginning a healing conversation

Using the Rule of Six.

Asking for help.

Just Listen.

After a sudden loss.

Rediscovering Empathy.

What comforts you may not comfort someone else.

It'll Be OK, Sugarplum.

Being a light at the end of the tunnel.

Mommy, Will He Be OK?

Helping children face their fears and yours.

Asking One Friend to Help Another.

When you don't have answers.

Before and After the Move.

Emotional attics and new road maps.

It’s Not What You Think.

The hidden hurts of bankruptcy.

Who Am I If I'm Not Who I Was?

After a life-changing event.

It's Over.

A relationship ends.

Anniversaries of Loss.

Special dates to remember.

Reflection: Tuning out of your head, tuning in to your heart.

2 Health Matters.

Test Results.

Getting the news or waiting to hear.

Peaceful Warrior.

When you want to help deal with a diagnosis.

Facing Surgery.

Before, during, and after.


Recovering from depression.

Is the Doctor In?

Making the most of your time as a patient or as a doctor.

What's the Difference Between a Cure and Healing?

Living with chronic pain.

What About Me?

Supporting the caregiver.

Second Sight.

When a disability becomes an ability.

After the Accident.

Fears remain.

A Cry for Help.

Responding to attempted suicide.

Reflection: How to be with someone who's in pain.

3 Transitions: Heart, Mind, Body, and Soul.

“We're Getting Divorced”.

Appreciating what you may not understand.

Be a Friend, Not a Hero.

Helping someone deal with verbal abuse.

I Don't Want to Be a Burden.

Supporting the widowed spouse.

Splinters, Mice, and Little Things.

Learning to live alone.

Broken Hearts and Burnt Offerings.

When a gift offers a reservoir of care.

Plant Closings and Pink Slips.

Taking away their jobs but not their dignity.


When someone is laid off, fired, or acquired.

What Is Enough?

Retirement as a way of life.

I Know Her Name.

Living with Alzheimer’s.

The Long Goodbye.

When death takes its time.

He Knows He's About to Die.

Visiting a friend in hospice.

Reflection: Being with their silence—and yours.

4 Lost Loves and Special Friends.

Leo the Cat.

Putting a “four-footed angel” to sleep.

When You Don't Get the Chance to Say Goodbye.

Unfinished feelings.

Best-Laid Plans.

When last wishes clash with the needs of the living.

It's a Blessing, Really.

When death brings relief.

Take a Friend to Lunch.

Writing the obituary.

Oh, Damn! Did Anybody Bring a Knife?

Scattering ashes.

When Mom Leaves.

A gift of poetry.

Honoring Paul Tsongas.

Writing a eulogy.

Notes to Keep a Memory Alive.

A letter to the children.

When a Young Child Dies.

A parent's bewilderment lingers.

Frail Submarines.

When someone chooses suicide.

When Tragedy Inspires Action.

Responding to a sudden death.

Grief Unburied.

Sorrow returns in waves.

Reflection: Sometimes there are no words.

Epilogue: In the End.

Healing Takes Time.


The Author.