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Old 10-07-2018, 09:57 PM
 
11,605 posts, read 5,449,768 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harry chickpea View Post
The article is pretty accurate, IMO. I'll paraphrase it more plainly:

When someone is telling you about their loss, and in the midst of grief, it is unconscionably self-centered and rude to use phrases like I know, I completely understand, I went through what you are and I...
To me, the continuation of I went through this too and I and I is the bad part there. But just saying 'I understand how you feel' or I know how you feel, and stopping is different. To me anyway.

Like my friend who still wasn't past her Dad dying when my Mom died. I knew she did know how I felt.

I remember saying to my Dad 'I just want Mom'. He said 'me too'. I misunderstood. Did he mean that he still wanted his Mom too? He meant he was agreeing with me. He wanted my Mom to be alive too. Even though they were divorced, I had to realize this was happening to him too.

I have a friend that does the I and I and I thing, but I am not sure if that is self-centered or she just can't 'sit with someone' in their pain, their problem, etc. and has to deflect, but the 'motive' isn't deflecting to self, just away from the painful thing.

I think she buries her own, so how can she 'go there' for someone else's?

She is more of a 'hands-on' helper with problems, not a 'tea and sympathy' type. As my Uncle called it. My Uncle could switch when there was nothing he could do about something. Do you just want tea and sympathy? YES! LOL and he would give his time and his ear.
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Old 10-14-2018, 11:43 AM
 
18,761 posts, read 6,129,215 times
Reputation: 12658
Quote:
Originally Posted by nobodysbusiness View Post
"I know how you feel" is inaccurate and impossible - no one can ever know how anyone else feels.

I think saying "They're in a better place" is much safer - this world sucks, so wherever they are, it would have to better better than here. And if you really care about them, that would be a comfort. If your grief is more about you and "missing them," then it would not be a comfort.
To me, they are in a better place, is the last thing I would say. This world does not suck, a lot of the world is not where I would want to be, but the world does not suck, IMO.
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Old 10-14-2018, 12:01 PM
 
4,932 posts, read 2,562,297 times
Reputation: 21904
I am not fond of the "I'm sorry". Sorry about what? They didn't do anything to them.

I prefer to tell them something I liked/admired about the person. A story of a good time I had with them.

I stay away from all the --he is in a better place, I am sorry, etc lines.
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Old 10-15-2018, 10:33 AM
 
3,700 posts, read 3,025,705 times
Reputation: 10007
After my wife of thirty years died, many people were calling and coming to the house to offer condolences, it brought back memories of the times I was offering someone those same "words of wisdom" we have been taught to speak when we just can't find words of our own. But it wasn't the words spoken that bothered me so much. It was the fact that no one has that same sense of loss as those who've lost their long time partner. It makes you realize that your love for your spouse was a very unique one, for many of us they were the person you knew and lived with for the longest time, more than family, or friends.

The unimaginable sense of loss I felt was obviously not shared by friends or family, and that was something I had not prepared myself for. People wanted to tell me of their parents dying and their response to that, or other tales of their own grief and how they "handled it," a truly unwelcome attempt to align their grief with mine. If I've learned anything from my wife's passing it is this:

No one can ever be fully in the others shoes, and not all people have a sense of what's appropriate in terms of the other's grief, and further, stating that "I don't know what to say," is entirely appropriate, as is just being there for those who grieve. Be a true friend and try to set aside some time to get together for a meal, a drink, a walk, anything that can be of comfort to those who feel the world has darkened and need to be in the light of another's caring...
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Old 10-15-2018, 02:22 PM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
16,839 posts, read 51,286,023 times
Reputation: 27642
Quote:
Originally Posted by GiGi603 View Post
I am not fond of the "I'm sorry". Sorry about what? They didn't do anything to them.

I prefer to tell them something I liked/admired about the person. A story of a good time I had with them.

I stay away from all the --he is in a better place, I am sorry, etc lines.
You appear stuck on the first definition of the word "sorry." The second, and more applicable definition is the one of "sad, mournful." https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sorry "I'm sorry" is perfectly fine, and if you prefer not to use it, that is fine as well.

Being stuck on a definition happens to all of us. Whenever I see the word "worst" in the thread title, it makes me wonder if some kind of contest was intended, with the winner being something like "Your mother was a hamster and your father smelled of elderberries." I then quickly revert internally to redefining the title as "what are some hurtful or inappropriate comments to avoid, when talking with a grieving person," which is what I hope was the intent.

I discard the element of judgment, because it is simply not useful when someone is sincerely hoping to say something that can help or be appropriate and happens to mis-step. The intent precedes the words, and the intent is what matters more to people who see deeper than the surface. If what is stated is perfectly polished, so much the better, but saying nothing because of pursuit of perfection is counterproductive.
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Old 10-16-2018, 12:23 AM
 
11,605 posts, read 5,449,768 times
Reputation: 10975
Quote:
Originally Posted by jertheber View Post
After my wife of thirty years died, many people were calling and coming to the house to offer condolences, it brought back memories of the times I was offering someone those same "words of wisdom" we have been taught to speak when we just can't find words of our own. But it wasn't the words spoken that bothered me so much. It was the fact that no one has that same sense of loss as those who've lost their long time partner. It makes you realize that your love for your spouse was a very unique one, for many of us they were the person you knew and lived with for the longest time, more than family, or friends.

The unimaginable sense of loss I felt was obviously not shared by friends or family, and that was something I had not prepared myself for. People wanted to tell me of their parents dying and their response to that, or other tales of their own grief and how they "handled it," a truly unwelcome attempt to align their grief with mine. If I've learned anything from my wife's passing it is this:

No one can ever be fully in the others shoes, and not all people have a sense of what's appropriate in terms of the other's grief, and further, stating that "I don't know what to say," is entirely appropriate, as is just being there for those who grieve. Be a true friend and try to set aside some time to get together for a meal, a drink, a walk, anything that can be of comfort to those who feel the world has darkened and need to be in the light of another's caring...
Excellent post. Of course so many things depend on who the person is. When I was notifying people of my mother's passing, her long-time hairdresser, who would have worried if she just suddenly never saw her again, told me how awesome my mother was, which I knew, but enjoyed hearing someone else's take on that.

My mother touched everyone she encountered. She had a magical sense of inner beauty and purity of heart. It shined like a beacon. But before her death I did not know how many people she had touched until they told me, and it was really wonderful to hear.
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Old 10-16-2018, 10:33 AM
 
3,700 posts, read 3,025,705 times
Reputation: 10007
Quote:
Originally Posted by harry chickpea View Post
You appear stuck on the first definition of the word "sorry." The second, and more applicable definition is the one of "sad, mournful." https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sorry "I'm sorry" is perfectly fine, and if you prefer not to use it, that is fine as well.

Being stuck on a definition happens to all of us. Whenever I see the word "worst" in the thread title, it makes me wonder if some kind of contest was intended, with the winner being something like "Your mother was a hamster and your father smelled of elderberries." I then quickly revert internally to redefining the title as "what are some hurtful or inappropriate comments to avoid, when talking with a grieving person," which is what I hope was the intent.

I discard the element of judgment, because it is simply not useful when someone is sincerely hoping to say something that can help or be appropriate and happens to mis-step. The intent precedes the words, and the intent is what matters more to people who see deeper than the surface. If what is stated is perfectly polished, so much the better, but saying nothing because of pursuit of perfection is counterproductive.
Thanks for that thoughtful post.. Looking back, the way I felt is hard to articulate just because my own state of mind at the time of my wife's death was a mixture of anger, sadness, and bewilderment. I don't really recall too many of the spoken condolences at that time, but I do remember those who were sincere in their offers of help getting through the paperwork and final arrangements. Saying "I'm sorry" seems appropriate for most people, it has become a standard greeting at funerals when meeting the family of the deceased.

I'll add the not so obvious element in all of our grieving, and that is the fact that the longer one spends with another person (sharing their entire adult lives together in some cases) the grief will be much greater. First you grieve for the dead, then for yourself and the loss of a way of life, and lastly you come to the realization that your loved one was loved by many. I try to remember my own predicament when greeting a family in mourning, and I try to keep it short and sincere.
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Old 10-16-2018, 02:12 PM
 
722 posts, read 254,956 times
Reputation: 1037
Worst thing to say...………………….You'll get over it .
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Old 10-16-2018, 03:19 PM
Status: "JOBS NOT MOBS!" (set 8 days ago)
 
2,898 posts, read 485,817 times
Reputation: 1502
The Worst Thing to Say To A Grieving Person

Time heals all wounds....................no it doesn't.
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Old 10-16-2018, 04:36 PM
 
Location: SWFL
21,429 posts, read 18,139,040 times
Reputation: 18797
Quote:
Originally Posted by ben young View Post
Worst thing to say....You'll get over it .
Definitely.
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