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What Wasn't Said That You Wanted To Hear?

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I thought this might be an interesting topic for members of any type of loss to participate in. Since so many of us have had the unfortunate experience of being on the receiving end of ill-educated, tactless and sometimes downright cruel and insensitive comments made to us when we lost a loved one, I thought it might be useful if we could list what we would have liked those who know us to say to us during our grief ( or even later on! ). Since some of us have never had those around us say what we really wanted to hear, maybe it would help everyone if we first got clear on that ourselves, with an eye towards letting others know what we need, either now or with future losses. I think, too, this might serve double-duty as a handy 'guide' to those coming here wondering how to talk to someone who is grieving. I'd like to avoid going over the comments that weren't helpful, but would rather focus on what would have been more productive for us to hear.

Here's my own kickstart to the topic:

  • A simple "I'm so very sorry."
  • Would you like to talk about what happened? ( If so )....tell me ALL about it.
  • How did he/she die?
  • How was it for you?
  • Is there anything you need or want that I might be able to help you with?
  • Tell me about your loved one.
  • What did their life with you teach you?
  • I'll call you and we can talk if you'd like.
  • I'll be here for you for as long as it takes because I care about you/love you.
  • Let me tell you about what I remember about your furbaby/Mother/brother...
  • I/we brought dinner over for you.
  • How is it going with you and the rest of your family?
  • You just keep talking, and I'll keep listening!
  • Do you need to tell your story again?.....go ahead....I'm listening.


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That is an interesting topic Maylissa, I never thought about it in the way you put it, I focused on what people said that didn't help me. As I can't think of other things I wished people said to me I can think of a few things that were said and how they helped me

* Anytime you need some time for yourself bring your son over and we will take care of him for the night.

* Is there anything we can do to help provide for your son's future.

* Let me help you with the projects around your house.

The most important to me!

* We wil lbe praying for you and your family.

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Yes, I think we all focused on the poorer things that were said to us....that's why it's taken me so long to come up with this flip-side of the coin! <_< Thanks for posting some of the helpful comments you received...whether they're things you wished for or things that were actually said that were helpful, that still falls under the focus I'd wanted for this thread. And you had a few really thoughtful things said to you to help you along, so I appreciate you adding them here.

Just wondering.....have you actually taken anyone up on any of their offers yet? ....cuz that would be another lesson to folks as to what actually IS helpful to offer a grieving person. I feel those of us who have gone the 'extra mile' and made the effort to educate ourselves about grief as well as reach out for help as we ought to for our own good, can serve as examples of how to do it 'righter' to others who may be ignorant of the facts. ( this is part of my reason for starting this thread, btw )


.......and 'thanks' so much to the spammer who buried this thread by posting some junk about CARS overtop of it!! :angry2::lol: Just another example for us of how totally insensitive the world at large is to grieving people..... :glare:

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Yes actually I have, and people have come through for me on what they said they would do. One that I forgot was one person at work ordered food from a place that makes ready to cook meals. So I had a weeks worth of meals for Carson and I which was great for in the begining when I didn't feel like preparing anything. All I had to do was pop it in the oven.

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In responding to someone I got to thinking aboout something I forgot.

What was most helpful was when someone offered to do something specific rather than just asking if there was somethnig they could do for me. When you are in just the first week or two, you are so out of it mentally, you can't think of something for someone. When they offer somethng specific, it is easier to take them up on their offer.

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Hi Derek,

Thanks for your input so far....and glad to see you've been thinking about this topic! You're very fortunate to have had some choice individuals around who were so compassionate and giving during the earliest times after losing your wife...and I hope they're still there for you, too, as we all know (now) that our support needs don't end for an awfully long time!

You're right about others needing to be more specific ( as per all the recommendations, too, from various grief books and articles ) in their offers of assistance. Mind you, unlike many, I could have produced a 'list' of specific requests ( many of the very ones I listed above ) even during the first week had anyone bothered to ask, but for me, no one did, even though I was dropping quite blatant 'hints' all over the place! :glare: If not for my husband and the care I still had to provide our fur-girl, I would have suicided w/i the first month otherwise. Unfortunately, this is something I still remain very angry and resentful about..but that's another topic! :P

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Derek and Mayliss...I would like to add that the offers should be sincere...I have had people say stuff to me only to say it so I would feel better. These people do more harm than good. I was happy to hear it, but when I went to take the offer, that person had forgotten or was busy. Mostly my family did not talk to me after my mom died and they still don't really. That is the worst. I would have loved to hear what you posted coming from the lips of my family and have it mean something. I get the feeling that they sort of are upset that they did not belive me when I said she had a problem. At any rate, I will be sure to use these handy phrases and actually mean it when someone I know loses someone; as I know exactly how it feels.

Thanks for your insight and always working to make people feel better.

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