Part of my job as a tarot reader is to help people deal with loss. We read for people who have lost loved ones through death or divorce. Our clients are going through huge life transitions, and it's our jobs to help them get through them. Regardless of how much experience we have, it can be difficult to navigate these readings, so I've compiled a little list of things that help me deal with them.
1. Say "I'm sorry." No matter how distant you like to keep in your readings, say you're sorry for their loss. Even if the death was years ago and is still affecting them. Even if the breakup was a godsend. Say you're sorry, because they're still bleeding. Speaking of which...
2. No judging. I had a client who should have broken up with a girl for years. Years. She came to see me after they finally broke up, and she was just devastated. The teeny part of me that wanted to celebrate this decision was immediately quelled by the look on her face and the grief in her eyes.
3. Take time to talk about healing. We have this weird culture that pushes people to move on after tragedy, not leaving space for that grace to come in. You, as reader, can help them slow down if they're feeling rushed.
4. Don't make it too personal. I think that we need to open up a bit because we're human, but if we turn every reading about loss into a commiseration, we're going to be swimming around in our own sad memories after every reading. It's not good for you.
5. I think this is something that needs to be taught, and found an amazing article by Susan Silk and Barry Goldman about it. Basically, draw a spiral. The person who is closest to the tragedy is in the center of the spiral - they can say/do/behave however they want. The next circle is the next closest person/relative, and friends are the circle after that. You can offer comfort to those in smaller circles, and complain to larger circles. That's it. Basically, stay in your lane. If your client lost their husband - you didn't. You're several lanes over on the Grief Highway, and you're not allowed to lay your grief on your client. You can only comfort. Those are the rules. After the reading and your client leaves, you're allowed to revisit your loss with someone further out, but not until then.
I went to a funeral where a friend started loudly complaining about the work they were missing and the time it was taking to get through the day. I pointed out the widow to my friend. "That woman? She just lost her husband. That kid? His dad just died. You? You're going to be late back to the office. Shut up."
When you read for someone who has experienced loss, imagine a spiral around your client. Find your lane, and stay in it. Help your client see where they are in the spiral. Say you're sorry. At the end of the day, that's really all that any of us can do.