Teaming with the best, to level up our expertise in grief

Published on May 10, 2021

When we embarked on our journey to help families dealing with loss, we knew from the outset how careful we needed to be with our users’ emotions and states of mind. Even when we were assisting them with practical and administrative tasks, we still had to lead with compassion, delivering a warm, sensitive, and mindful experience throughout.

Understanding how complex and challenging a goal this was, we needed to make sure that our approach was grounded in how people really experience grief, and informed by established methods for coaching those suffering from loss. That’s why we reached out to David Kessler, the world-renowned grief expert, who has shaped how our generation thinks about and addresses grief. David literally wrote the book on grief—several of them—as well as training hundreds of professionals in grief counseling, and personally supporting thousands of people through loss. 

David told us that over the years, as he worked with people in grief, they were always bringing up the practical difficulties, the paperwork, the detailed tasks both large and small, and how it all compounded their emotional burden. He said that these administrative steps were challenging for so many of those he spoke to, and he never really knew what to tell them, as there were few if any tools available to help families with these details. 

It is an issue that David had also experienced firsthand when he lost his son several years ago. His son had a bank account that now needed to be closed. David called, visited the bank branch in person, and asked several members of the staff for help, but he was unable to find a way to access the account. Eventually he gave up. The few hundred dollars just weren’t worth prolonging his emotional pain. 

David Kessler

It was clear that if he, a famous thinker and speaker on the subject of grief, had a hard time dealing with this seemingly small detail, similar difficulties must plague many of the millions of Americans who lose a loved one every year, adding to their stress and hurt at such an emotionally difficult time. The need for a service like Empathy’s was evident. As a demonstration of what we could do, David was finally, over four years later, able to close his son’s account with the assistance of the Empathy app and our Helpline. 

And now we are proud to be able to announce that David has joined our team as Chief Empathy Officer. We are honored to have David Kessler with us on this mission; together we will be able to help more families with our unique combination of technology and human-centered support, to put the control in their hands as they navigate the red tape, complexity, and emotional pitfalls that follow loss, and to do so with compassion, transparency, sensitivity, and integrity.

David’s expertise informed the audio episodes in the app that guide the user through the trials and twists of grief, and his influence is felt throughout Empathy, where we treat each practical task with the compassion and care that every family deserves.

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