Remember that you're dealing with raw nerves, sadness, and anger. Your words will matter in ways you can't even imagine.
You nailed it, Ramona! People want so badly to help that they end up saying stupid....er, unhelpful....things. They also want you to stop hurting (partly for you, partly for them), so they try to offer what they think will work. It won't. There's no way out but through.
We're terrible with grief in this country. Absolutely terrible. We tend to avoid grief unless we can focus our rage around it (9/11). We've had well over 1 million Americans die from Covid yet there's nothing for them. No quilt, no twin beams, no day of mourning, nothing. It's tragic and unacceptable yet not surprising.
I know it was probably awkward but I'm glad you accidentally posted that to your regular FB feed. People need to hear these things. I hope it was received well.
Perfect comments to make to people who may think they mean well but, in fact, make things worse.
How are you doing?
Awful. Thanks for asking.
He had a good long life.
Not long enough to suit me.
You were lucky to have him so long.
Yes, and his death feels like an amputation.
You'll be together again in heaven.
I'm glad you went broad with this, Ramona. It's a difficult subject.
My Mum and Dad were joined at the hip and when he died, a friend said to me, 'How's your Mum?'
I exploded! I said 'How do you THINK?' I know I was very raw as I adored my dad, but my friendship with that woman dwindled after that.
I didn't care - that's what grief does.
All one can do is navigate it in one's own way - the way that's right for you. Take care. XXXX
Words of wisdom for sure. Having gone through this experience somewhat recently, I know that I respond very differently than I would have before Dan's death.
All those comments you mentioned are what I call ‘insensitive.’ It’s a canned response, not a thoughtful one. I can’t tell you how many people told me my parents had lived good, long lives, and that they are united with other loved ones. Like you, I don’t find that comfortable. I find it dismissive. I have done several things for those who have lost a loved one: dropped off dinner, asked them to lunch, or invited them to come have a glass of wine & watch a movie. I recently lost my last remaining link to my dad’s family, my 101 yr old uncle. NO ONE said “I’m sorry.” Rather, I heard “ oh wow, that’s old! It was his time to go.” Well, yes. But in saying that, they have foregone any kind of comfort.
Death of a loved one leaves you empty and alone. A simple kind gesture means everything.
So, my friend…I’d like to send you something comforting, since I live too far to come over with wine. I just need an address. You can email me at email@example.com.
I do hope you see your kids every now & then, and that thoughtful friends haven’t stopped calling.
Big hugs, Ramona…I mean it.
Death makes people anxious, uncomfortable, afraid and they try, sometimes, to push it away by saying what they think is comforting--when it has the opposite effect.