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Posted By:bianca on: 1/21/2008 12:02:34 AM

Author: Thread: a great client, an unfortunate event
Posts: 1

need some advice
Posted: Monday, January 21, 2008 12:02:34 AM

i have this client who is so wonderful. she is probably my only REGULAR regular coming in every four to six weeks. we always have the liveliest conversations and i really enjoy that hour that she's in my chair.  however, i have been aware that her husband has cancer and has a brain tumor. she's a very strong woman who can talk about this freely and openly and still compose herself. he is so sick that he can't even recognize her anymore or talk or move really.  i couldn't even imagine how that is for her but then again i know she doesn't want anyones pity and i am so glad for her being so tough.  i saw her the other day, she brought in her sister and mom for me to do their cuts and color. which i did, it was great. everything seemed normal we talked and laughed.  she left. the next day i did her cousin, another one of my geat clients.  she had informed me that the husband had passed away last week.  i was shocked and had told her that she hadn't told me when she was in the day before.  now, she is due for an appointment in two weeks and i don't know if i should bring it up or let her tell me or just ignore that all together.  i usually start our visit with "how's the husband?"  i wonder if it would be awkward if i ask, like would she know i know. and then i wonder if it would be even more awkward if she knew i knew and i didn't say anything.  ugh, i dont know i just dont want to make her uncomfortable. but we are close you know?  i'm thinking just saying "so how are you how have you been" what do you think?


Posts: 1174
Platinum Member

Posted: Monday, January 21, 2008 7:23:46 AM
You simply say "my deepest condolences for your loss", and let her take the lead. It doesn't matter where you heard it now because it will have been printed in a newspaper by the time she comes back in.

Don't be afraid of death. It is the dark border around life that gives each life a purpose an defines it.

You can't tread on eggshells everytime someone dies, you can't not offend people. Just be sincere and direct

Posts: 198
Bronze Member

Posted: Monday, January 21, 2008 9:04:16 AM

Russ gave you some good advice. But I had a situation in the last year that was similar so I wanted to share my experience.

I have a regular 4 week cut and color client who's husband died suddenly and she didn't tell me for six months. She comes to me to feel good, and she didn't feel like having that conversation again. She wanted her hair appointment to be her escape from what was going on in her life.

It's a different thing for you, since you already know. Just don't be suprised if she steers the conversation away from the topic, or even if she gets upset. She won't be upset with you, she will probably just be sad.

Often when somebody is very strong for a sick family member they are fighting, the person will lose the strength when the loved one passes. Another thing that can happen is the person feels a weird sense of relief coupled with guilt for feeling relieved. It's really deep stuff, and not what someone wants to think about while they get their hair done.

Just be what she needs you to be. Some clients don't really want you to be their friend. For others, being their friend is the most important thing in the world! Just be sensitive to her needs and you will be fine.

I would avoid talking about it in terms of death or loss. Out of respect you might want to say something about it since you know, but don't feel you have to. You didn't mention names, but for the sake of explanation I'll call the cousin Mary and the husband Bill. What I would say is "Mary was in last week and she told me about Bill, I'm really sorry. Is there anything I can do?". Then let her take control of the conversation. She might drop the topic, or she might cry. Don't get freaked out either way.

Or you could avoid it and let her tell you (or not) by starting the conversation with "How are you today?". Let her take the lead. If she starts to talk about it, then you can tell her about the conversation with the cousin. If not, drop it.

Whatever you decide to do, just do what feels right and be natural about it. It will be ok. There is no perfect way to handle a situation like this.

Posts: 2566
Platinum Member

Posted: Thursday, January 24, 2008 11:50:52 AM

Dear bianca

Welcome to the BTC Talk Back Boards!  Please take a few moments to read over the board rules in the green box above.  You have been offered some wonderful advice.  This just happened to me last week when I asked how is your husband doing and my clients started bawling and said He Died!   I said I was so sorry and just gave her a big hug to let her know I cared.  I let her carry the conversation from there.  You will figure it out.  Nice to have you with us.

Cindy Farr Hester  Asst Moderator