To think people dont know how to deal with grief?

(43 Posts)
ProfessorSkullyMental Sun 09-Mar-14 22:13:52

my dads very ill... unless someone grants us a miracle, he's only got a couple of days left. he's been ill for some time, so a lot of people ask how he's doing.

tbh, other than one of my closest friends, since i told people he's at the end, i haven't seen them for dust.

one keeps texting dh to ask how i am, but won't text me, no-one else has so much as dropped me a text or an fb message.

other than my online friends (who've been fantastic) its like no-one wants to talk to me...

Cleartheclutter Sun 09-Mar-14 22:21:09

thanks sorry that your dad is so poorly

This is quite common unfortunnately. Lots of people just don't know what to say so they think the answer is to ignore it sad

StrawberryCheese Sun 09-Mar-14 22:25:15

I'm sorry to hear about your dad flowers

IME people feel a bit awkward and are unsure of how to behave. Most people think you might want to be left alone and so keep their distance but by getting in touch with your DH, they are still showing that they are there for you if you need them.

My dad passed away two years ago and I experienced the same thing.

FreudiansSlipper Sun 09-Mar-14 22:25:16

sorry to hear you are going through such a difficult time

it is common, people just do not know what to say and fear saying the wrong thing I doubt it is they do not want to talk to you

you could send a text saying hey could really do with a little chat

Annunziata Sun 09-Mar-14 22:28:12

They are scared of upsetting you, maybe it is better looking at it that way?

I am so sorry about your dad. I hope he is as comfortable as possible.

nameuschangeus Sun 09-Mar-14 22:31:12

It's definitely true that people are frightened of upsetting you. I'm in a situation at the moment where I'm one if those people who doesn't know what to say. It's not that I don't care - far from it. It's because I don't want to upset the person and break their fragile pretence of being alright.

itsbetterthanabox Sun 09-Mar-14 22:35:15

So surprised by this. When people close to me have been bereaved it makes want to be closer to them. I offer to chat, see how they are and do nice things or helpful things with them if they feel up to it. I don't want intrude so always give them the option to say no but I would feel so guilty abandoning someone at their time of need.
Now that I think of when my friend died 2 years ago. My friends who were not friends with him too were useless. It hurt at the time that I felt so alone but I've kind of tried to block it out sad

itsbetterthanabox Sun 09-Mar-14 22:35:44

I hope you are ok op thanks

PatFenis Sun 09-Mar-14 22:36:11

People tend to shy away from situations that make them feel uncomfortable, perhaps because they don't know what to say or just feel awkward.

Like Freudian said, maybe send a text letting them know that you could do with some company and a chat about how you are feeling. It will certainly help break the barrier and make the subject more broachable.

I'm sorry to hear about your dad, I hope he is comfortable and his passing is peaceful. x

tunnocksteacake Sun 09-Mar-14 22:41:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

justmyview Sun 09-Mar-14 22:43:48

In that scenario, I'd be more than willing to talk about death & loss, but I would worry in case it was presumptuous to call towards the end of his life, as if I was thinking I was part of the "inner circle" when I might not be. I understand why you feel your friends should reach out to you, not the other way round, but if you contact them, I hope they might rise to the occasion

rockybalboa Sun 09-Mar-14 22:46:17

Normal. After my sister died in the 80's my mum used to see people she knew deliberately crossing the road to avoid talking to her. People don't know what to say and are afraid of saying 'the wrong thing' so they say nothing at all. I had recurrent miscarriages and whilst it's not the same thing at all, I lost at least one close friend as she just couldn't/wouldn't see what I was dealing with. Poor you, I hope your dad has a dignified and peaceful end thanks

mymiraclebubba Sun 09-Mar-14 22:53:16

Ime people just don't know what to say unless they have been through it. Although saying that my best friend's hubby lost his mum in Thursday and I have been texting her to see how he is etc as he is crap with his phone but also I have no idea how he is feeling and wouldn't want to upset him if he is dealing ok or make it worse if he doesn't

thesecowsaresmallthosearefaraw Sun 09-Mar-14 22:56:02

Tunnocks has it spot on, unfortunately.

flowers for you and for your dad.

"I didn't know what to say so I said nothing" is very typical.

I made it a personal promise after my mum died that I would always say something.

I hope your dad has a peaceful end and that you have some good memories to call on while you mourn.

MorrisZapp Sun 09-Mar-14 23:00:59

I'm so sorry you're going through this. I'm sure your friends want to be there for you, but would rather take the lead from you.

I know myself that often, when faced with a friend or colleague dealing with loss, I don't know what to say. I've seen many threads on here where people are angry and upset that people have said the wrong things to them. But there's not set script is there, what's wrong to one person may be kind and comforting to another.

If you have the time or energy, send a text or do a FB update or something which lets people know that even in this hardest time, you still want company and to chat. I bet they'd love to be in contact, but just don't know what you want.

LucyBabs Sun 09-Mar-14 23:02:31

I'm not sure I buy the don't know what to say thing.

I lost my parents within four months of each other people who I thought were true friends avoided me ignored my texts phonecalls etc..

All it takes is "I'm here for you, if ever you need a shoulder or an ear" honestly how could this upset a bereaved person?!

I think some people are just selfish and don't want to upset their happy lives and don't want to support someone going through an awful time in their lives.

I'm actually more angry about this than I realised oops!

Op I hope you'll be ok. Its a long tough road, try surround yourself with people who love you and care about you.

A couple of points. Firstly, I'm so sorry you are in this position.

In fairness to your friends, it may be that they are thinking you are at your Dad's bedside, possibly in a hospital setting. In that case, it's possible that they may not wish to phone you. When my dad died, he was in the HDU which was very definitely a no-phone area, and we only texted sporadically when we were getting coffee, going to the loo etc. outside the ward. As a result, I wouldn't dream of phoning someone in a similar position, I would simply text them to let them know I was there/thinking of them, because I'd simply expect their phones to be switched off or on silent.

Secondly, it might sound slightly odd, but your dad is still alive, so for a lot of people, cards/messages etc. would happen once he has died (sorry for putting it in those stark terms). Terminal illness is awkward for many people as they are not sure how/whether to raise it in conversation. I found this when my dear friend was terminally ill and now my cousin is, and they have both discussed this with me. It really is the elephant (with the scythe) in the room.

Please lean on those friends who have come forward, and I really hope you and your dad are able to share some precious moments in the next few days. thanks

thesecowsaresmallthosearefaraw Sun 09-Mar-14 23:15:57

Morris is right, I got flamed under a previous name for suggesting "sorry for your loss." Another MNer hated it as she'd heard it too often from medical professionals and felt it had no value. And some people dislike being prayed for, while others would find it comforting.

"Thinking of you" would surely be OK for a text?

I think maybe the Victorians were onto something with their strict etiquette about mourning and grief - you would know you were saying something socially acceptable.

ProfessorSkullyMental Sun 09-Mar-14 23:17:47

thanks.

i'm lost.. i'm struggling to get through, i dont know how to manage my own grief and support my family too.

There are lots of good memories, but no more to be made, he's slipped into a coma, and unless he can rally they will begin to withdraw care and let him slip away peacefully.

It isnt terminal, its sepsis related to kidney failure.. we were promised a future with him albeit around dialysis, and now its been taken away and i am not ready to lose him.... i feel robbed.

itsbetterthanabox Sun 09-Mar-14 23:17:51

Lucybabs has hit it on the head. People don't want the burden of supporting a grieving person and they don't want to think about sad things. It is selfishness 100%.

ProfessorSkullyMental Sun 09-Mar-14 23:20:03

sorry, i meant it wasnt a 'terminal illness' as such..

HadABadDay2014 Sun 09-Mar-14 23:22:46

If a friend was going through this I would back off and give them and their family some privacy and time alone with their loves one.

Once the devastating news has happened I will support them until they decide that they don't need it.

justmyview Sun 09-Mar-14 23:23:03

That's extra tough to get your head round that, when it's unexpected. Huge sympathies x

CailinDana Sun 09-Mar-14 23:25:39

What a terrible situation. So sad.

Have you got any support op? It's ok not to be ok.

almondcake Sun 09-Mar-14 23:29:54

One of my family members died of cancer recently. People didn't contact me, and I assume that they thought I was at the bedside, with family and then making funeral arrangements (which I was). But if I ever needed to talk to someone, I could start talking (and it was like a torrent) and people were comforting. So I think people can talk about grief if you initiate and they can then work out what kind of conversation you need.

Hope you are okay, op.

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