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Old 02-22-2017, 07:18 PM
 
Location: The house I built
308 posts, read 131,809 times
Reputation: 741

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Only widow's and widower's truly understand what we are experiencing. The words are there so they can show they care about us and wish they could do something more for us. And we can acknowledge that they have their hearts in the right place. Its not their fault they struggle for the words to say. There just aren't any that we haven't heard and there aren't any that will relieve any of the inner despair we are feeling.
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Old 02-22-2017, 07:53 PM
 
Location: Wonderland
40,885 posts, read 32,642,286 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevie60 View Post
Only widow's and widower's truly understand what we are experiencing. The words are there so they can show they care about us and wish they could do something more for us. And we can acknowledge that they have their hearts in the right place. Its not their fault they struggle for the words to say. There just aren't any that we haven't heard and there aren't any that will relieve any of the inner despair we are feeling.
That's very true.
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Old 02-23-2017, 03:18 AM
 
11,686 posts, read 13,074,643 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mightyqueen801 View Post
I don't like those meaningless phrases. They are dismissive of the mourner's feelings and serve only to make the people saying them feel comfortable about themselves.
There is a major problem with condolences, and that is that people tend to immediately go into a realm of automatic assumptions.

I think we need to stop, look and listen.

I have lost both parents, a most beloved aunt and a couple of friends who were like brothers (I had no siblings.)

Upon their deaths my feelings varied considerably depending upon my emotional connection to the person. I felt emotionally raped when my father died - mainly because he was an emotional iceberg as a parent. I was grieving for his very painful death, but just as much for a relationship that he never allowed to exist, for the father who never was and now never would be. When my mother died, I said, "Oh." And that was the extent of my reaction and feelings. On the other hand, my aunt had given me the affection and interest all her life that one gets from a very good parent, so her death was a profound loss that went to the root of my being.

Unless we are very intimate with the bereaved, I think that it is safest to say something generally supportive to the person, but not to dive into I-know-how-you-feel territory.

Last edited by kevxu; 02-23-2017 at 03:27 AM..
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Old 02-23-2017, 06:11 AM
 
Location: Wonderland
40,885 posts, read 32,642,286 times
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Absolutely the most comforting thing to me is when someone shares a touching memory of the person who has passed away. "I never will forget when..." It can be something small, something funny, something profound - doesn't matter.

The most actual HELP for the few days before my dad died while he was in the hospital was when people came by the hospital FOR A FEW MINUTES and perhaps (if they knew family well enough) brought a magazine or texted first and said "I'm on the way - if you want we can go get something to eat," or "I'll pick up something for you." Texting was much better than calling.

Oh and another thing that was really sweet was the comments people left on FB believe it or not, because I could read those to other family members, including my dad.

The only actual calls I would take during that incredibly stressful time were from immediate family. Everyone else faded far into the background and I didn't want calls from casual acquaintances or "lite" friends.

I think people tend to forget that at a time of crisis, the family is super busy making a series of phone calls every day to update people who need to hear things in person (basically immediate family - in my dad's case, I have two siblings, a mother, a husband and four adult kids - so that's a lot of phone calls each day). And anyone who knew us also knew that we were up at the hospital - where it's difficult to take a call. So messages in other modes were much more helpful and less intrusive.

And hospital visits need to be SHORT.

I saw something interesting yesterday. Our church sends out prayer requests via email - people file the prayer requests online and an email is sent out. One from yesterday involved a man who had some very serious surgery and whose health is precarious. The family specifically requested that NO ONE come up to the hospital at this time because the patient - and family - needed rest. Apparently they'd been as inundated as I was by well meaning busy bodies in the past.

Last edited by KathrynAragon; 02-23-2017 at 06:19 AM..
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Old 02-23-2017, 07:54 AM
 
3,266 posts, read 2,335,410 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mightyqueen801 View Post
I don't like those meaningless phrases. They are dismissive of the mourner's feelings and serve only to make the people saying them feel comfortable about themselves.
I don't even remember what people said to me. I never thought anyone was trying to do anything for themselves, just reaching out to me during my time of loss. Just connecting, sometimes no words, just hugs. I don't know what I've said to grieving people over the decades, I hope no one took it wrong.
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Old 02-23-2017, 08:01 AM
 
3,266 posts, read 2,335,410 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KathrynAragon View Post
And hospital visits need to be SHORT.

I saw something interesting yesterday. Our church sends out prayer requests via email - people file the prayer requests online and an email is sent out. One from yesterday involved a man who had some very serious surgery and whose health is precarious. The family specifically requested that NO ONE come up to the hospital at this time because the patient - and family - needed rest. Apparently they'd been as inundated as I was by well meaning busy bodies in the past.
That's smart. I have friends who have done that as well. One of my dear friends almost died from a heart attack, shocking everyone. She is a very kind gal with many many friends. We all watched on Facebook as the family raced to the hospital and her progress and then the admonition not to come to the hospital to visit.

The whole social media thing can be an issue. We never posted anything when mom had her heart attacks because we didn't know if she would even want anyone to know, she is very private. And when dad passed, we didn't post until we had the funeral arrangements and made sure we had notified all extended family. It's a different world now.
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Old 02-28-2017, 05:14 AM
Status: "Even better than okay" (set 7 days ago)
 
Location: Coastal New Jersey
51,196 posts, read 50,480,930 times
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The best worst thing said at a funeral in my family was when my brother died at the age of 51. My mother had been the mayor's representative on the library board in our town, but she resigned to care for my brother in his last months.

At the funeral, my mother was standing in front of my bro's casket and up comes the mayor--who had lost a son of her own in an accident--and she says, "I am so sorry about your son, but maybe now you'll be able to come back to the library board." I was standing there thinking, "noooo, she didn't really just say that..." My mother just shook her hand and nodded.
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Old 03-02-2017, 12:35 PM
 
Location: The house I built
308 posts, read 131,809 times
Reputation: 741
I have reached the point where I am okay most of the time. But people still bring it up, Asking how I am doing and if I am okay? Its frustrating cause I am not really able to talk about it most of the time. And when they are gone, I fall apart.

I don't want to talk about it. Not with friends or family. For me it just brings it all back and I am trying to put this whole episode in a place where it doesn't control me. They want to help, but they don't understand that reminding me is not helping.
A better way to treat a person who is grieving is to change the subject and just go about normal everyday things.
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Old 03-02-2017, 07:08 PM
 
3,962 posts, read 5,247,246 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevie60 View Post
I have reached the point where I am okay most of the time. But people still bring it up, Asking how I am doing and if I am okay? Its frustrating cause I am not really able to talk about it most of the time. And when they are gone, I fall apart.

I don't want to talk about it. Not with friends or family. For me it just brings it all back and I am trying to put this whole episode in a place where it doesn't control me. They want to help, but they don't understand that reminding me is not helping.
A better way to treat a person who is grieving is to change the subject and just go about normal everyday things.
I think your post really underscores how different we all are in our grieving. I have always appreciated people wanting to talk about my husband. I am over 2 years out at this point, but this has been pretty consistent for me. It is not that I want friends and family to dwell on it constantly, but I don't want to have people ignore him. This year was the first year I was back with a group of friends for Thanksgiving (a group my husband and I had celebrated this holiday with for years) and I specifically asked the host to NOT discourage people from remembering him. They also acknowledged him in our prayer. I am not at all opposed to going on with normal life - I do it every day. But when something reminds me or someone else of my husband, I love being free to say "remember how much he liked doing this" or "this would have made him laugh." It makes me feel that he still lives in our hearts.

I think it is totally acceptable to say "thank you for asking, but I can't really talk about it right now" or something like that. I know that early on, when some people asked how I was, I would tear up a bit, and I would get a hug, and they understood that I couldn't talk about it, and that really was a help to me.
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Old 03-03-2017, 02:38 AM
 
Location: The house I built
308 posts, read 131,809 times
Reputation: 741
Its fine that they honor her memory. Its the part where they ask how I am doing. I just lie to them and tell them I am fine. Just to get the conversation over with. They are just showing concern but I would only make it harder for them if I told them the truth. They don't really want to know and I don't want to tell them. This my own private life episode and there is no one who can say or do anything that will make any difference at all.
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