Wednesday, May 31, 2017

what not to say

A friend wrote in about the comments that people make at a time of death.

Please don't ever say these things.... I have heard them all, and many more.
"I know how you feel"
"It was their time"
"you are young, you should remarry"
"don't cry"

What we should say at a time of death or at a visitation is, "I love you" or "I am sorry."  Probably both, but that is enough.  I am sorry and I love you.

Now having said these things, let me get back to what my friend wrote to me about.  She is a very bright and a very strong person.  She told me that she does not understand why people feel defensive when their friends say some of what I listed above.  She said that any comment from a friend, even if it is one of the above, is a sign of their love, and their attempt to comfort me.

I see what she is saying, and I marvel at her stable view of such situations.  Maybe we can learn from this and do both.... don't say the wrong things, and don't be defensive if others say them to you.

I love you.  I am sorry.

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.


Joanne Priester said...

or even JUST a warm quiet hug helped me

Anonymous said...

And - don't ask the grieving person "to call me if you need anything" .... if you truly want to be helpful - just do something kind. 10 years later when others have forgotten, the loss is still real. Show up and mow, shovel the drive, send a plumber, electrician, handyman if you can't do any of the above yourself. People who are alone really like to have the help - life alone is a lot - everyday.

Anonymous said...

Meaningful post, Jeff! (all your posts are filling with meaning, really). I am reading "Option B" by Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook. She says that we are all living some version of Option B. (Her husband died during a workout while they were on vacation.) Anyhow, she says that when we try to comfort someone after a tragedy (death, cancer, tragedy, etc.) to NOT say, "If there is anything I can do, please let me know." Do figure out what you can do and then say, "I am making an apple pie for you and will drop it off Monday at 2:00." or "I would like to pick up your car and wash and wax it for you." A person who is grieving, many times, cannot think of what you might do to help them, so figure it out and then do it.

Kara McBurney said...

Absolutely anything at all that starts with the words "At least...."