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Old 08-30-2016, 04:13 AM
 
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I agree that people seem to parrot platitudes because they don't know what to say. However, I put the "let me know if there is anything I can do to help" or "I'm here for you" in the same category. I doubt someone is really going to drop everything to rush over and hold me while I cry, not that I would expect or even want them to. Nor am I going to ask someone to cook me a meal because I don't have the will to do to.

At this point in life I just appreciate whatever sentiment someone feels comfortable offering and I know it comes from the right place.
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Old 08-30-2016, 07:50 AM
 
12,842 posts, read 24,478,691 times
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It has been my observation that people are often too weak to just accept that there is horror or pain or suffering, so after an initial (brief) moment of empathy, immediately try to find a reason why X happened to you or yours, and "why it won't happen to me." Hence, stupid questions about melanoma deaths and sun tanning, or rape and what she was wearing, etc.

I work in a psychiatric hospital and quite often, if someone is injured by a patient (a rarity, thankfully) rather quickly people want to blame the staff member's interaction or demeanor, more proof that "it won't happen to me."

I wish people could be more self-aware of this reflex and just not say anything when it rises up within them. It certainly isn't helpful and is often quite hurtful.
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Old 08-31-2016, 06:27 PM
 
Location: Billings, MT
8,990 posts, read 7,083,311 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluemonday View Post
I suspect your loved ones will be able to put the grief behind them VERY VERY QUICKLY when you die...
I certainly hope so! I can think of nothing more wasteful than to have people sitting around bemoaning the fact that I am dead!
I hope my wife, kids, grandkids, and great grandkids will have many more productive, fruitful, and happy years ahead of them after I am gone.
They won't have those happy years if they curl up in a fetal position crying about the fact that I am dead!
But then, I really won't care, because I will be DEAD!
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Old 08-31-2016, 07:32 PM
 
635 posts, read 395,560 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Redraven View Post
Let's turn that around: Who are YOU, to tell ME (or anybody else) how to grieve?
Personally, I have always been able to put the grief behind me and get on with living!
IF one is able to do that, I highly recommend it.
Of course, many people find that they can not do that.
I find that I am unable to help them cope.
If that makes me "insensitive", so be it. I am not, and do not pretend to be, a grief counselor!
To paraphrase a well known cartoon character, "I am what I am, and that is all that I am!"
If me being me offends you, that is YOUR problem, not mine!
You're very lucky that you haven't lost your spouse or a child. Of course it's sad losing a grandparent or a friend but it's a lot easier to move on from that type of loss than if you lost your life partner or a child. I don't know anyone that has never gotten over the loss of a co-worker or a great aunt but no one ever really ever gets over losing their true love or their child. All losses are not the same. Yes, you go on living but you never really put the grief behind you.

I lost my husband and I hope you never have to experience this type of pain because it's a whole different level of grief that doesn't even begin to compare to the grief I felt when I had other losses in my life (and I'm no stranger to death either.)
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Old 08-31-2016, 09:42 PM
 
3,964 posts, read 5,249,971 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Redraven View Post
My maternal grandparents had 9 children.They are all dead now. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, mother, many cousins, all dead. Add to that step-grandparents, stepfather, and many of the people I went to school with, and some time in Vietnam in 1966, and, yes, I CERTAINLY HAVE dealt with death!
This is the list you gave, Redraven, of the people you have lost. Yes, there are a lot of them. As we get older, we tend to accumulate a lot of losses. But I notice that you have not lost a spouse or a child, and as melovecookies has said, "All losses are not the same." I have also lost my grandparents, my parents, my husband's parents, all my aunts and uncles except one, many children who were patients of mine, close friends, etc. All of these had were sad for me, too, but none of these could remotely compare to the loss of my spouse. It is a world apart from these other losses because that person is in your life every day and night, knows you intimately and (hopefully) loves you, has bound his or her life to yours. It is different. I have not lost a child, but I believe that this is also in the special category of losses that hit very hard. I am glad that you have been able to get past all the losses in your life, but it looks like you have been spared the worst.
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Old 08-31-2016, 10:47 PM
 
635 posts, read 395,560 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Redraven View Post
I certainly hope so! I can think of nothing more wasteful than to have people sitting around bemoaning the fact that I am dead!
I hope my wife, kids, grandkids, and great grandkids will have many more productive, fruitful, and happy years ahead of them after I am gone.
They won't have those happy years if they curl up in a fetal position crying about the fact that I am dead!
But then, I really won't care, because I will be DEAD!
I'm not trying to pick on you but your posts struck a nerve with me. I want to point out that you are almost 75 years old so if you were in fact to die tomorrow you did get to live a pretty full life. Of course your loved ones would miss you and almost everyone wants more time but 75 years is a decent run. I think we grieve differently when an older person dies as opposed to a young person that didn't get to live a full life.

When a 12 year old dies it's a tragedy but when an 85 year old dies it's sad but it's a normal part of life. In the last 15 years I've attended funerals for two babies, a 14 year old, a 32 year old mother with young kids, a 37 year old father, a 40 year old mother, a 42 year old husband and father of a toddler (my husband) and a 50 year old husband. I might have missed a few because there have been so many young people dying. To me these are tragedies. These people didn't get to live a full live and you are very fortunate that you have. You have great grandchildren so I'd say you're very lucky indeed.
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Old 09-01-2016, 07:48 AM
 
13,010 posts, read 12,445,977 times
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I've had a few thoughts upon reading through this thread. I think a lot of the issue is that people believe that "I'm sorry for your loss" is inadequate or trite. When, in reality, I don't think it is at all. If you can't think of anything else genuine to say, "I'm sorry for your loss" said with sincerity and love, is perfectly ok. If it does feel inadequate, don't fall back on things like "everything happens for a reason" - tell the person what you will miss about the deceased or what you loved about them. You can't go wrong with that.

You can't go wrong with "I'm sorry for your loss" - It is true and it is respectful and compassionate, even if it sounds trite and unimaginative. Saying stuff like "I'm here if you need me" or whatever only works if you follow up later with a call and/or an invitation to coffee.

My one friend lost her (difficult but loving) father quite suddenly, and a few months after his death, we had a long conversation about how it was tearing her up. I had only met the guy a couple of times, but I could easily see that he was completely in awe of the amazing young woman he had fathered. I told her it was obvious that he loved her very much and was so incredibly proud of her. I don't know if it made her feel better, but it was true and it was one of the things that had struck me about the guy right off. He was absolutely amazed by his daughter.

I think it's best not to offer "metaphysical" ramblings and to offer the concrete and true. And if you can't think of anything, yes, just go with "I'm sorry for your loss."

I don't like to say "thoughts and prayers" because I'm not a believer. But I will tell a friend I'm thinking of them, because it's true. Frankly, every time I speak with my own dad, I think about my friend who lost her father. There was so much about her relationship with him that was "unfinished" whereas my dad and me have been close for some time and have resolved most of our issues. My heart really aches for her. It's been a couple years now, and she still talks about it when we chat on the phone - she's still processing the loss.
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Old 09-01-2016, 10:04 AM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
16,851 posts, read 51,316,975 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JrzDefector View Post
I've had a few thoughts upon reading through this thread. I think a lot of the issue is that people believe that "I'm sorry for your loss" is inadequate or trite. When, in reality, I don't think it is at all. If you can't think of anything else genuine to say, "I'm sorry for your loss" said with sincerity and love, is perfectly ok. If it does feel inadequate, don't fall back on things like "everything happens for a reason" - tell the person what you will miss about the deceased or what you loved about them. You can't go wrong with that.

You can't go wrong with "I'm sorry for your loss" - It is true and it is respectful and compassionate, even if it sounds trite and unimaginative. Saying stuff like "I'm here if you need me" or whatever only works if you follow up later with a call and/or an invitation to coffee.

My one friend lost her (difficult but loving) father quite suddenly, and a few months after his death, we had a long conversation about how it was tearing her up. I had only met the guy a couple of times, but I could easily see that he was completely in awe of the amazing young woman he had fathered. I told her it was obvious that he loved her very much and was so incredibly proud of her. I don't know if it made her feel better, but it was true and it was one of the things that had struck me about the guy right off. He was absolutely amazed by his daughter.

I think it's best not to offer "metaphysical" ramblings and to offer the concrete and true. And if you can't think of anything, yes, just go with "I'm sorry for your loss."

I don't like to say "thoughts and prayers" because I'm not a believer. But I will tell a friend I'm thinking of them, because it's true. Frankly, every time I speak with my own dad, I think about my friend who lost her father. There was so much about her relationship with him that was "unfinished" whereas my dad and me have been close for some time and have resolved most of our issues. My heart really aches for her. It's been a couple years now, and she still talks about it when we chat on the phone - she's still processing the loss.
"I think it's best not to offer "metaphysical" ramblings..."

In most cases I would agree with that, however I once stopped an employee from suicide by doing just that. I didn't know it at the time, but he came up and informed me a couple of days later. I might amend your injunction to "I think it's best not to offer "metaphysical" ramblings unless the individual either initiates or indicates strong interest in the subject."
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Old 09-01-2016, 10:30 AM
 
16,785 posts, read 19,639,274 times
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Originally Posted by melovescookies View Post
You're very lucky that you haven't lost your spouse or a child. Of course it's sad losing a grandparent or a friend but it's a lot easier to move on from that type of loss than if you lost your life partner or a child. I don't know anyone that has never gotten over the loss of a co-worker or a great aunt but no one ever really ever gets over losing their true love or their child. All losses are not the same. Yes, you go on living but you never really put the grief behind you.

I lost my husband and I hope you never have to experience this type of pain because it's a whole different level of grief that doesn't even begin to compare to the grief I felt when I had other losses in my life (and I'm no stranger to death either.)

Excellent comments. And he may very well get to experience the pain of loss of spouse, and will be singing a different tune. His losses have been in sequential order. The norm is the parents, grandparents go before.

When the spouse or a child goes first, it's a different ballgame.

I just a met a woman who is 80 who just lost her 58 year old son last month. Another son died a few years ago, so she has outlived both her children.

Many times with people who have no empathy for others don't get it, until it hits them directly.

I know of someone else who actually apologized after their spouse died to a friend who lost his wife a few years earlier, they were man enough to say "I had no idea what you went through, until it happened to me, I am so sorry".

Amazing how some people get to old age and still be so clueless.
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Old 09-01-2016, 12:10 PM
 
Location: Houston, TX
13,148 posts, read 7,393,567 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katana49 View Post
Well, in reality, everything DOES happen for a reason... it just may not be a reason that is easy to accept.

I'm not talking about God, or any kind of "destined" sequence of events, but when things happen, there IS a reason, you just don't always know what it is, and it's human nature to try to internalize external actions to apply the actions/results to ourselves.

Example, someone is coming home from work after working late and they get T-boned by a drunk driver who ran a red light, leading to the first person being killed or paralyzed for life. What is the reason they are in that state now? Was it because they were working late, which is why they were crossing that street at that moment in time instead of earlier like usual? Or is the reason external... the drunk driver chose to drink too many and get in their car? A combination of the two?

Everything DOES happen for a reason, it's just that it's a fallacy to assume that it's a reason that has anything to do with us.
How do you know? There is no evidence that everything truly happens for a reason. Just because a worn out cliche is said a billion times in a billion ways doesn't make it fact. And since you mentioned divine intervention, it's just like the whole God thing. Just because billions believe in him doesn't make him real; it just makes him popular. Popularity doesn't equal reality.
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