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Old 11-08-2012, 07:54 PM
Location: Florida Gulf Coast
4,083 posts, read 5,496,975 times
Reputation: 6407


I just wanted to know if any of you experienced anything like this when you lost a loved one:

My Mom died in Feb. I'm an only child but have a ton of cousins. One cousin lives cross-country, but she was always very solicitous of my Mom, even coming to stay with her for a week when she was sick and I couldn't be there, sending her flowers occasionally, etc. However....I did not hear one word from her when my Mom died. When I posted on FB that my Mom was gravely ill, she commented "Nooooo!". After that, I heard nothing. No call, no sympathy card, not even a FB message....nothing. I thought maybe she was just in denial, so despite not hearing from her, I sent her the "funeral packet" (obituary, Mass booklet, holy card, eulogy). No acknowledgement. Weird, huh?

I have a friend whom I don't see much anymore, but we usually send each other birthday cards and catch up by phone maybe once a year or so. I texted her when my Mom died. No response. A few months later, I sent her a birthday card and mentioned that my Mom had died -- nothing. I know she knows, because she told another friend, who promptly sent me a sympathy card. Am I right to feel offended? I'm thinking no more birthday cards for her, if she can't even acknowledge the death of my mother.

I am the type of person who calls, visits, attends funerals, sends cards, etc. I can't imagine why these two have not contacted me at all, other than perhaps they have a really hard time dealing with death. However, it still ticks me off. Anyone else have this type of experience?
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Old 11-08-2012, 10:22 PM
Location: State of Being
35,885 posts, read 65,242,129 times
Reputation: 22270
I have experienced this and I have also been guilty of putting off sending condolences to people. I wanted to get a special card or write something special and then put it off and eventually, it seemed too late, untimely, awkward. I know it was something I should not have put off, but it was not that I wasn't interested or didn't care.

I think it is a big mistake to keep score on who does and doesn't send condolences or acknowledge someone's death. There are those who will be present only b/c they are always attracted to the drama of the moment - and I would think it would be very self-deceptive to score those folks high on the "caring" list and others low on that same list - when the first group has little or no real interest in you or your circumstances - they just love being in the middle of a crisis.

This week, my mother went into a long story that happened 52 years ago when her mother died. She is still holding a grudge against a lady in the neighborhood b/c of the way she expressed herself in re: to my grandmother's death. Now mind you, the lady had gone to the trouble to show up at the funeral home for the wake the night before the funeral. But b/c she started talking about how SHE felt when her father died, my mother was offended b/c the lady made it about herself and her situation and not about my mother's. I was aghast at how my mother had clung to this anger - and for the first time, I realized why I had grown up hearing my mother demonize this lady (who was a nice person). I had always wondered why my mother was so mean about that woman. 52 years of harboring ill feelings about this lady . . . and all b/c most likely, the lady was nervous, didn't know what to say (most folks do not know what to say to comfort someone else) . . . and so she tried to relate to my mother's feelings of loss by talking about how she had felt when her own father died.

I think we can get very wrapped up into how we think people should respond to us and to our expectations of how they should behave at times of personal loss. We are raw and hurting and many of us expect some sort of acknowlegement from others to show they care about us. If they don't come through as we feel they should have, we feel that proves they really didn't care as much as we thought they did.

It is like we create a secret test and score everyone on how responsive they were or weren't . . . but sadly, the person being judged doesn't realize they were taking a test.

Many things can interfere with someone else's timely response when they hear of a someone's death. Not to be dismissed is that the person may have trouble with facing the loss themselves . . . they may feel awkward with trying to relay their feelings . . . they may want to do something more personal than call or send a card . . . they may put it off b/c it is painful or they feel inadequate . . . there are many, many reasons why time can pass and no acknowledgement is made.

It is easy to shift the grieving process from sadness at the loss to anger at how others did or didn't respond. Best to give yourself and everyone else a break - and just assume that something interfered with other people acknowledging your loss but that doesn't necessarily mean they don't care about you or your feelings. It would be sad, indeed, to compound your immediate loss of a loved one by then deciding that others aren't worthy of a relationship with you, as well.
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Old 11-08-2012, 11:14 PM
Location: SWFL
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Another most excellent post, ani.
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Old 11-08-2012, 11:25 PM
Location: SWFL
21,429 posts, read 18,139,040 times
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Nah, I don't keep score. My grandmother used to. My mother didn't and neither do I.
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Old 11-09-2012, 12:27 AM
659 posts, read 1,333,289 times
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Originally Posted by tamiznluv View Post
Another most excellent post, ani.
I agree - very sage wisdom indeed! I too have been on both ends of the spectrum and for the same reasons. Can't rep you again, ani..

My condolences for your loss, Avalon08.
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Old 11-09-2012, 12:54 AM
Location: 900 miles from my home in 80814
4,669 posts, read 6,737,637 times
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Until Avalon's post, it never crossed my mind to think about who did or did not express condolences, attended the memorial service or sent cards. Not with my parents (I didn't know their friends, so I wouldn't have noticed if someone hadn't responded) and not with my husband. With my parents, I didn't expect people I knew, other than relatives, to send me a card or acknowledge their passing. I don't know why, but I just didn't. And when my husband died, I was actually shocked at how many people showed up for his Celebration of Life. We (the kids and I) thought maybe 20 - 30 people, and in actuality, it was more like 300. So, if someone didn't send me a card, call or come to the service, I didn't notice until much later when it hit me that so-and-so never sent a card or called. By that time (months later), I had more of a "Huh, that's weird..." reaction.

I also agree with Ani, many people put off sending a card or meant to but forgot, and at some point, they figure it's too late, so they never acknowledge the passing. I am guilty of having done that many times, especially for out of town or state people. There are also times when I haven't learned of someone's parents or spouse passing until months later, and by then, I figure it's too late to send something, so I don't.

I wouldn't hold a grudge or be hurt or miffed that someone didn't acknowledge your mom's death. There are many reasons why they might not have sent a card or expressed condolences, and they're not malicious at all, probably more absentmindness or awkwardness than anything else.
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Old 11-09-2012, 07:29 AM
3,893 posts, read 9,360,820 times
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I've written about this several times. Sadly, it's very common. While it can certainly be hurtful, it's no indicator of how the person feels about you or the person who died. It's usually a case of their inability to cope well with death and grief. It's a shame how many people are uncomfortable with all things death-related. It renders them awkward, afraid, and funeral-phobic.

In other words, it's not you, it's them. It sounds like your cousin loved your mom and treated her very well when she was alive. Let that be the focus, not her silence afterward.

May the holidays be filled with wonderful memories as you get through these "firsts". It will be hard at times, but it can also be very comforting to remember what a loving mom you had. What a blessing!
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Old 11-09-2012, 01:58 PM
Location: SWFL
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Avalon, I remember that before my Mom died, I would avoid at all costs, people who had lost a loved one. I did not know how a person must feel, had not a clue, so I avoided. Then Mom passed and I knew. After that I would not avoid others and even "counciled" them on their grief. (at work) I now like to support others in their grief. It helps me too but there are others who might do the opposite. Maybe reaching out causes them too much pain so they avoid.
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Old 11-09-2012, 03:38 PM
Location: Wisconsin
16,471 posts, read 15,905,878 times
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Please don't hold it against someone if they do not send a card. I have had a few times when I should have sent a card or flowers and didn't. When the mom of a close co-worker died I had just gone into the hospital for surgery and it wasn't until several weeks later that I felt well enough to get back into my regular routine. By then it seems almost too late to send a card (although I probably should have). I did express my condolences in person when I got back to work.

In another case I didn't find out about a death until several months later.

It is always possible that a card was sent to an incorrect address or lost in the mail.
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Old 11-10-2012, 10:35 AM
Location: SWFL
21,429 posts, read 18,139,040 times
Reputation: 18811
There's also the possibility that something has happened to that woman also, unless you know for a fact that she is fine and dandy.
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