To think this is what not to say to someone who has recently lost a loved one?

(92 Posts)
imwithspud Sun 14-Jun-15 00:14:43

"These things happen"

No shit sherlock hmm

Saw a friend a few days ago, she asked how things had been since losing a close family member. I told her and this was her reply. AIBU to think that it's the sort of thing you just don't say to someone who's grieving and that it shows a complete lack of empathy? Death is a part of life, everyone knows that. But comments like that aren't in the least bit helpful.

Teacup246 Sun 14-Jun-15 00:17:01

Someone said chin up to me after my father died

frozen70 Sun 14-Jun-15 00:19:15

Sorry for your loss. I think many people just don't know what to say when you lose a loved one. My dh actually asked me what was sad on the computer as I was crying on the day of my mums funeral staring blankly at a computer screen.

PoppyBlossom Sun 14-Jun-15 00:20:18

Hm it is a bit clumsy. Was it a parent/grandparent? If so I think it's more of an observation that it will come to us all, she's probably kicking herself that it came across badly. I think people just splutter and don't know what to say.

If it was a spouse or a young relation they it is a bit of a blunder.

flowers sorry for your loss op.

Fatmomma99 Sun 14-Jun-15 00:20:57

YNBU, but as a society we do not know how to deal with death
So people just hope and expect that those suffering loss will be 'ok'

It's crap.

TRUST ME - what is worse is those around you who just pointedly ignore it, and wait for you to (deep breath) 'get over it'.

It is likely you will find someone or someones you can talk to.

The one's who are being crap - it's not their fault... they don't know how else to behave. But they are crap, aren't they! Use the ones who can deal. Forgive (but don't forget) the ones who can't.

Do better yourself with others.

I'm sorry for your loss flowers

(and sorry there's so much of 'my' stuff in this post!)

missingmumxox Sun 14-Jun-15 00:21:20

So what would be helpful?
Have you always spoken to people who have lost a love one in a manner that definitely help?
Did you even talk to them?
You are upset and quite rightly but really, you are fixating on the wrong thing.

Sorry for your loss

Which ^^ having written it is actually a meaningless platitude ....
But it is actually sincerely meant

WinterOfOurDiscountTents15 Sun 14-Jun-15 00:25:16

No comments are helpful though. Comments don't help.

People don't know what to say, and sometimes say daft things. There is no malice in it. I can't say I really gave a shit after a death what anyone said.

GiddyOnZackHunt Sun 14-Jun-15 00:26:27

Oh that's a crap response. If you'd left the butter out it would be fine but for a loss? No. I know we've all put our foot in it occasionally but that's especially useless. "It must be very hard for you" is adequate. A squeeze of a hand or even a simple "Oh dear" is better.
Is she normally a good friend? If so put it down to a moment of madness.

imwithspud Sun 14-Jun-15 00:32:03

It was my granddad who passed away recently. Some of you make a good point, comments don't really help. I guess I feel that some comments are more thoughtful than others. I can't imagine telling someone who is grieving that 'these things happen', I would feel like I was minimising their loss and making it seem less important.

Sometimes people just lack tact and don't know what to say. I think I'm just feeling especially emotional and sensitive tonight and I'm over thinking as a result.

imwithspud Sun 14-Jun-15 00:35:25

It was a good friend, someone I've known for years but we're not really as close as we used to be. Ever since I've known them they've always been somewhat lacking in the empathy department so I guess I should have expected it.

SolidGoldBrass Sun 14-Jun-15 00:39:28

That's actually quite inoffensive, really, in most cases. It's not brilliant, but neither is it hugely inappropriate. Unless you know different, then it was almost certainly meant sympathetically.

When you're recently bereaved, it's not unusual to hate everyone and everything anyone says, because they're all doing it absolutely wrong and saying all the wrong things - because all you want is the person you loved to be not dead.

Mermaidhair Sun 14-Jun-15 00:40:23

I hate the comments "I don't know how you do it, or I would never be able to cope in your situation". All after loosing my dh. I don't have a fucking choice! flowers to you. People don't think.

Topseyt Sun 14-Jun-15 00:45:18

People don't know what to say. Often they realise that nothing they actually say can really help, but mostly they don't want to ignore you and so still feel that they should say something at least.

So it all comes tumbling out clumsily and comes across wrong, but I think there is rarely any malice in it.

I don't think that what your friend said would actually bother me, but we are all different, and we all react differently. Maybe it came across as though she was minimising your loss, but I doubt that she intended to. Perhaps she felt she should say something, but on the spur of the moment just couldn't get it right.

I am sorry to hear of your loss. I hope you have all the support you need to begin to cope with it.

GiddyOnZackHunt Sun 14-Jun-15 00:46:47

Just put it down to a bit crap then rather than malicious. flowers

MrsTedCrilly Sun 14-Jun-15 00:48:45

YANBU, it is especially insensitive.. Like you say it minimises your loss, makes it sound like you've just left the heating on all night or something. Grief needs to be acknowledged for the huge, devastating thing it is.. We need to cry, laugh, talk it out. One day you will be able to be philosophical about it but now is not the time!
Sorry for your loss flowers

AngryBeaver Sun 14-Jun-15 00:49:07

A dad at school pick up said "shit happens", in reference to my recently having lost my baby.
I was so shocked I just turned on my heel and walked home sobbing.
People are insensitive morons sometimes.

I'm sorry for your loss xx

Ladyfoxglove Sun 14-Jun-15 00:54:18

Sorry to hear of your loss.

Some people are just insensitive.

After my mother died, my boss said, "never mind, she was old so its not as if its a tragedy like a child dying." sad

mrstweefromtweesville Sun 14-Jun-15 00:58:16

sorry for your loss.

I remarked to someone yesterday that my mother died last year. They wrote that down, checked her dob and said 'She was eighty!' and gave me a look to suggest I'd had my money's worth out of that one...

OP, I don't think people mean to say the wrong thing. it just happens.

Maryz Sun 14-Jun-15 01:00:15

I'm not sure it's being insensitive; it's more about not knowing what to say, and also knowing that whatever you say won't make anything better.

So we all say something, anything, and more often than not it comes out wrong.

If she's a friend, and you know she is concerned for you, do her words matter? If she struggles to be empathetic she will say the wrong thing, and is probably bitterly aware she has done so sad

Strokethefurrywall Sun 14-Jun-15 01:05:15

People who don't know what to say should say "I don't know what to say" - when my brother died and friend of mine walked over, shrugged and just hugged me. I think something as dismissive as "these things happen" is very hurtful and really doesn't seek to empathise with the person going through the pain of loss.
The most helpful comment anyone made was when my brother made the choice to stop chemo. My dad gave me the heads up at work (I'm 6 hours behind GMT) and I remember sobbing to a friend that this year was going to be a really shit year. She just looked at me and said "yes it is. It's going to be horrendous. But I'm here with you" - those words gave me so much strength as there was someone who acknowledged how awful thing a were.
I wish those who don't know what to say don't say anything. A hand squeeze or a hug works better.

Strokethefurrywall Sun 14-Jun-15 01:07:54

From my own point of view I meant.
And OP, I'm sincerely sorry for your loss thanks

Imustgodowntotheseaagain Sun 14-Jun-15 08:12:39

Only you know if she was sincerely trying to offer sympathy, but chose poor words, or if she was giving you the brush off.

As a PP has said, some people see the loss of an elderly person as part of life in the way that a loss of a child isn't. Perhaps she is one of those.

Sorry for your loss flowers

MrsNippyCat Sun 14-Jun-15 08:14:51

I'm so sorry for your loss.

My wonderful gran passed away a month ago, the 2nd close loss in 5 weeks, and I have also had comments like 'well she was 98', 'chin up' (from my FIL) and 'oh that's a shame - did you hear about...'
I've also had close friends and relatives who haven't acknowledged it beyond the initial 'I'm sorry'.

It's been an education in who actually gives a shit.

MrsTedCrilly Sun 14-Jun-15 08:45:55

So true MrsNippyCat I've been surprised at close friends not acknowledging it past the initial "Sorry", and who I considered acquaintances sending me frequent messages asking how I am and if I need anyone to talk to. There's nowt as queer as folk..

madasa Sun 14-Jun-15 08:48:12

My friend's husband died from a brain tumour aged in his 50s. He had not been dead a week before someone said to her " what you need is a nice little hobby " hmm

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