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Unread 06-18-2011, 01:19 PM
 
25,040 posts, read 16,553,629 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seeniorita View Post
Braunwyn,

As I've shared with you in the past, I lost my brother too and I can't tell you how many times (even 5 years later) I still hear this comment. Depending on how I'm feeling, it can get on my nerves or flash back to the very moment of pain I was feeling and grasping for any means of comfort to make sense of his death.

The truth is none of us really know if there is a "better place" as we have not experienced death firsthand. However, I have faith such a place exists because surely all the suffering in this world has to be compensated for. It's same faith that has brought me through the loss of many loved ones and keeps me going until my time comes. Until I get to the other side, I will never know for sure.

Take the girl's comments as an expression of her faith. It should comfort you and compliment him that over a year after his death, he is still thought of. I don't think anyone who is self-serving and uses these terms as chiche's or cop-outs would've bothered to post.


FWIW, I do hate the "they look good" comment when talking about a dead person laying in a casket. But, it's just one of those things you have to deal with.
I lost a brother, also, five years ago. There's a special suckiness about losing a sibling, isn't there?

I have a friend who, when his mother died, replied to people who came up to him at the funeral parlor and said they were sorry, "Why? Did you have something to do with this?"

Re the "he looks good" comment, I said that once to the mother of a friend when her husband died. He was in his 80's, but he had been a handsome man. We were standing in front of his casket, and I made the inane comment "he looks good" out of politeness. She replied, "Yes, doesn't he? He was always so good-looking." Then she gestured toward the dead guy in the casket and said, "You can see why I said 'yes' when he asked me to marry him all those years ago, can't you?" I was wondering how to reply to that, "oh, yeah, I'd like to jump on him right now..."

 
Unread 06-19-2011, 07:20 AM
 
Location: In my skin
7,735 posts, read 7,975,235 times
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Maybe it also means that he is no longer in a place of suffering. Death causes a lot of mixed emotions. So, it is normal to feel some frustration.

However, I really don't see why people pick these things apart so much. Really. If I say "I'm sorry" to someone who lost a loved one, I am truly sorry for them. If someone said something stupid like, "Why, is it your fault he's dead?", I'd be pretty put off. THAT is offensive. I don't see why people have to turn what is often a sincere gesture of kindness into an act of complete selfishness or mock it. It is an uncomfortable situation for a lot of people. Yes, there is a benefit in saying and doing these things. The same goes for wishing people well, charity work and having children. Chances are if people don't have the sense to not say certain things, they don't have the sense to be quiet either. Outside of being purposely hurtful, it's safe to say the intentions are good and that is what really matters. Bless their pea pickin' lil' hearts.
 
Unread 06-19-2011, 03:42 PM
 
18,252 posts, read 10,102,242 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coolhand68 View Post
Often people will say that because they are at a loss for words to express their condolences. Perhaps they truly believe it, or it's just a way to avoid dealing with their own mortality. Regardless, you can't let it anger you. No one gets through life undefeated, and we all have our own coping mechanism.

There are those individuals who I felt were trying too hard to console me or in some cases relate to my grief at times. I once had a supervisor who told me that he was going through the same thing I was because at the same time my 17 year old son died, he's telling me about his 93 year old grandmother who just died. Now I don't doubt he was grieving, but I was really angry at the time that he would compare the death of an elderly grandmother who lived a full life to the death of a mere child. He used to do this often, always trying to counter whatever I was going through with what I felt were his own trivial circumstances. He was one of those guys who always tries to "one-up" everyone, and it finally got to me when it hit close to home. In hindsight I shouldn't have been angry, but no one hands you a life skills coping manual early on in life so you can react to every tragedy in the most effective manner.

One thing I do know, when you suffer a tragic loss it changes you. A part of you dies with them and you're never the same. Ultimately it is up to us to decide how much of ourselves are going to die with them and how much will live on. You never fully accept it though, you learn to live with it, but some part of you will always wish you had one more hour or even ten more minutes to be alone with them. One day, this girl will suffer some painful losses, and she'll find her own way to cope the same way the rest of us have. For now, it's just the well-meaning words of a very young adult who still might see the world through a more idealistic and optimistic set of eyes. No harm, no foul.
Big hugs to you, Coolhand. I cannot imagine. And I guess that what life experience eaches us, we really can't imagine what another goes through. Like beachmel, your words hit me hard. It does change you.
Quote:
Originally Posted by 20yrsinBranson View Post
I figure that people mean well when they say that. Even though, in my opinion it is stupid. Even if I was religious (which I am not) I wouldn't assume that everyone was "saved" and going to "heaven". After all, according to religious people, HELL is not a better place. LOL

When I respond with condolences, I just say... "I'm sorry for your loss" or "my condolences to your family". Because I personally do not believe they are in a better place. Although, if someone is suffering, being dead is marginally better, I guess.

20yrsinBranson
Yea, I've actually tried to think of that IRT my brother since he suffered so much during life. But, then his death was just horrific. He died a few time before, but was brought back. The first time he had recall and he said it was nice. He was in so much pain and then all of the sudden the pain was gone. He still had consciousness, so it was before he flat lined. Either way, he enjoyed the relief. Clearly, I can speak for him, but what I saw was labor and him trying to hang on vs the peaceful 'letting go'.

Quote:
Originally Posted by beachmel View Post
Truer words were never spoken. Yes... and for the record, I lost a child who was 5 1/2 months old and it can NEVER be the same as someone who loses an older child or even a spouse. The loss of a loved one, in fact, can never be truly compared to anyone elses. You can only say what you HOPE will help someone with that loss. There really is nothing you can say or do to "make" things better...you can only try.

And Coolhand...yes, it DOES change you...that statement hit me to the very core. I have said it a thousand times....yes, it changes you, you simply have to rein yourself in and decide exactly HOW it is going to change you...for better?...or worse?
Big hugs to you, too.
Quote:
Originally Posted by max's mama View Post
I understand how you feel Braunwyn. Sometimes when you are in a process of grieving, no matter what is said, it may cause a frustration. At the same time, I think it helps to understand that imperfect people may not know what to say or how to react and any thoughtful word regardless of whether you agree with it or not is usually a good thing. This young girl still thinks about your brother and I think her words and intentions are genuine. There is no cop-out. She is not talking to you and trying to come up with words, she is reaching out on her own and posting out of her own faith.
I said as much to her in my fb response. I told her he would love the idea that she's still thinking of him. As I previously said, I love that as well.
 
Unread 06-19-2011, 03:46 PM
 
18,252 posts, read 10,102,242 times
Reputation: 12117
Quote:
Originally Posted by seeniorita View Post
Braunwyn,

As I've shared with you in the past, I lost my brother too and I can't tell you how many times (even 5 years later) I still hear this comment. Depending on how I'm feeling, it can get on my nerves or flash back to the very moment of pain I was feeling and grasping for any means of comfort to make sense of his death.

The truth is none of us really know if there is a "better place" as we have not experienced death firsthand. However, I have faith such a place exists because surely all the suffering in this world has to be compensated for. It's same faith that has brought me through the loss of many loved ones and keeps me going until my time comes. Until I get to the other side, I will never know for sure.

Take the girl's comments as an expression of her faith. It should comfort you and compliment him that over a year after his death, he is still thought of. I don't think anyone who is self-serving and uses these terms as chiche's or cop-outs would've bothered to post.
I know you know. I recall your story. This reminds me of a comment made last year at a dinner at the in-laws. My MIL's sister said folk always forget the siblings and we shouldn't. It's their loss, too. That struck me as odd because I didn't know that folk did, but then I realize sibling relationships can be hit or miss.

Quote:
FWIW, I do hate the "they look good" comment when talking about a dead person laying in a casket. But, it's just one of those things you have to deal with.
The woman that made him up for the casket said that. But, I believe she was speaking of her work, which is also odd from my perspective or any grieving person's perspective.
 
Unread 06-19-2011, 03:49 PM
 
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I don't see how that phrase alludes to a God at all.

That said, people often do say insensitive things while meaning well during times of illness or death. In those situations, I just listen to the intent and not the actual words.
 
Unread 06-19-2011, 03:55 PM
 
18,252 posts, read 10,102,242 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beachmel View Post
Do most people really know what to say? I mean, if she's posting, clearly she does mean well. Given that he suffered a majority of the time for the past 20 years, wouldn't you, as an atheist agree that "nothingness" is better than suffering?

I lost an infant daughter many years ago. If I hadn't believed that she had gone to a "better place", rather than into just nothingness, I probably couldn't have survived the situation. We all have our own beliefs and way of grieving and coping with death. I'd rather have someone say something like that than "He/she is better off dead."
I just caught this one and hmmm, just back off, beachmel. You're not privy to a damn thing as it concerns my twin, our beliefs or lack thereof, and the hell we went through. So, however you want to deal with your loss is your business. Don't expect all to follow suit with your approach.
 
Unread 06-19-2011, 04:39 PM
 
Location: Guangzhou, China
7,502 posts, read 5,032,426 times
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My ex's mom died somewhat unexpectedly when we were 22 and in the process of a break-up. Her mom and I didn't get along up until maybe the last couple years before she passed away (we'd known eachother and dated off-and-on since we were 15); she was snarky, haughty, confrontational, condescending, but she was a good and caring person at her core. For my part, I was a snarky, obstinate, and argumentative young man who had a really hard time putting up with what her family tolerated as "quirks."

She would roast me and basically everyone else whether you were or weren't there. She was always more than happy to level condescention at you. She was, generally, not an easy woman to be around.

Well, when she died, I was more composed than anyone else in the family. I ended up flying from LA back to Boston and due to delays, went straight from the airport to the funeral home to pick up her ashes, which were still warm. I remember walking out into a Massacusetts midsummer's night, standing there in my jeans and my Pumas and a Deftones tee under a surplus German navy shirt holding her ashes, alone with her. "Well, B_____, let's get you home," I said and walked to my parents' car, where I buckled her into the passenger's seat. Then, fearing that I'd have to jam on the brakes in Boston traffic and send her ashes all over the footwell of my parents' Town Car, I took off the navy shirt and a tracksuit top from my backpack and padded it around her so it'd be a bit more stable.

Ironically, the only other time I can recall having ever actually been alone with her in a car was in the middle of a blizzard after midnight, when my then-fiance had abruptly left in a fit because she hadn't been taking her meds and had lapsed back into her troubles. We drove around in her car for hours, barely saying anything, both terrified.

I drove down Memorial Drive in Cambridge and across the BU bridge to Storrow Drive along the Boston waterfront, along the Charles River which she always haughtily said was the most beautiful and historically-significant river in America. Past the half-shell at the Esplenade where she'd watch her beloved Boston Symphony Orchestra, past Sculler's where we always had to go to listen to horrific freeform jazz bands on birthdays and high holidays, through the city that she adamantly maintained was the best place on Earth - which is why she never left it for more than a few months.

At the funeral the next day, I delivered the eulogy. It was a roast. I noted that it was the first time that I hadn't heard NPR morning, noon, and night when visiting. How when she borrowed my car the last time she visited us in LA, she refused to listen to my directions for the clutch on the grounds that she "drove around Europe in a Volkswagen" - in the early 70's. As my ex and I walked back and she drove the other relatives home, she did a rolling burnout halfway up the block on Main St. in Santa Monica before stalling it out, but made sure to floor it out of there before I could manage to run up and re-explain it to her. How it was the first time that I'd been back where my stumbling over a word hadn't resulted in her repeating what I'd said with an incredulous snort - she loved talking about spoonerisms, and how men made them more often than women because we lacked finer cognitive abilities. Everyone was laughing warmly, a few people were even laughing hysterically as I pantomimed her reactions and mimicked her tone and mannerisms.

And then, I talked about how we drove around together in that blizzard looking for my fiance, her daughter. How despite her thinking that I was generally boorish and of a lesser ilk, she would listen to me, rivted, as I described the injustices of growing up in a poor part of Washington State, at the fears of your father being called up to fight a war, at the situations where people attempted to dehumanize me and my family. She was a social worker, and devoted her life to helping people - many of them were there, at the funeral, remembering the first or only woman who ever openly cared about them. I recalled the time that she regretfully asked if I could accompany her to go pick up one of her "clients," because she was afraid that her boyfriend would get physical unless there was a big guy with a scowl there, and how more than once, dinners were interrupted as we rushed to pick up a teenaged girl who had run away from a halfway house a few days before to get back to her 20-something drug-dealing boyfriend, only to call her from a corner with a black eye and no shoes in the driving rain.

And the last thing that I said before I stepped down and let others speak, was that it was that this was the first time, ever, where she didn't get a word in edgewise. And that was how we knew she was gone.

It was a good few minutes before anyone else gained the composure to speak. Even her family members who really didn't like me much at all told me later that it was the best eulogy they'd ever heard, and that she would have loved it had she been there to hear it. I'll never know whether that was the case, or whether she would have simply told me how wrong I was and admonished me for it, but I have a strong feeling it was the former. I don't believe that she heard it; I don't believe that she was there, with us, right then... but I wanted to present it in such a way that were she to have been there, she would have felt comfortable lounging on a chaise, sipping a good red, and giving me a haughty brow. I know for a fact that she would have liked all that a hell of a lot more than reading from the Torah and talking about "god's will."
 
Unread 06-19-2011, 08:02 PM
 
3,978 posts, read 3,373,934 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robee70 View Post
I think they are words intended to comfort the living and intended to mean that this person no longer suffers. Even as an aethiest, you should look at it symbolically and for it's intent and not whether or not you feel they (the words) have any basis in fact, from your POV.

Yes.

to Braunwyn: I'm sorry for your loss
 
Unread 06-19-2011, 08:55 PM
 
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OP, I can guarantee I have said some pretty dumb things. The people who I have kept in my life have been people with your attitude. I say something dumb, they get annoyed for a bit, then they welcome me back. I guess I should say that they kept me in their life so that makes me a lucky person.

I have become much better about learning from my mistakes, one of which is to stay quiet when I feel the need to say something.
 
Unread 06-19-2011, 09:18 PM
 
1,249 posts, read 882,974 times
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I think if the person is just trying to express their state of mind at the time or feelings, then it is fine even if it is a cliche or perhaps even bizarre, depending on your point-of-view. In general, it is a rather passively-aggressive mean thing to tell someone in a bad situation that the bad situation exists, but in this case I thin it is benign(I was really tempted to say venial).
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