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To think that people say things without thinking at funerals

(66 Posts)
recentlybereaved Wed 02-Apr-14 14:18:48

Last summer my dm died, and recently my df died. I was sad. I miss them. But they were both very elderly and frail, they had had good lives.

But following my Dad's funeral so many people came up to me and said things that were really not helpful:
"oh you've had the most awful year" - well actually I haven't, yes the death of both parents was sad but this year my grandchild was born, my dd graduated from university and got a great job, dh and I went on the holiday of a lifetime, and my work life has been really great.
"your Dad has been so lonely" - so why didn't you go and visit him if you cared so much? and actually he told me he wasn't lonely, he'd been out much more since my dm died and he was able to visit me and my dsis much more frequently and see all his grandchildren across the UK.
"it must be awful for you being back here (at the crematorium) so soon after your Mum died" - well gee, thanks for reminding me.

I understand that they are sad too, but I was trying so hard not to punch some of them.

brokenhearted55a Wed 02-Apr-14 14:22:17

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Well, apart from the comment about your dad being lonely I don't think any of the other stuff was so awful.

The year my mum died was awful, the most awful year and in my mind any positives of that year were outweighed by her illness and death.

If people didn't say anything at all, that would be worse surely?

I am sorry to hear about your parents though.

PuppyMonkey Wed 02-Apr-14 14:26:27

It's better than them saying "good riddance" isn't it? hmm People are only trying to be nice and to lose both parents within a year is quite a blow, no matter what their age imho.

AnyFucker Wed 02-Apr-14 14:27:17


RaptorInaPorkPieHat Wed 02-Apr-14 14:27:42

I think they say things to fill the awkward silence..... they come out with the standard sayings because when it comes down to it there isn't really anything to be said that can make the people left behind feel better.

We had after my mums rather short illness "oh well, it's a blessing she went so quick"

I could see what they meant but we didn't feel that way.

MorrisZapp Wed 02-Apr-14 14:32:01

I think your expectations of how well most people will know how you want to be spoken to are unrealistic, sorry.

Most people, myself included, would think it awful to lose both parents in a year.

What were you hoping they might say?

firesidechat Wed 02-Apr-14 14:32:46

Funerals are difficult for all concerned and it's hard to know quite what to say to the family sometimes. To be fair the comments made to you sound like the sort of thing that people would say at a funeral and I can't see the problem really. Certainly not worthy of punching.

tumbletumble Wed 02-Apr-14 14:38:11

From your title, I was expecting the comments to be much worse tbh!

ProfessorSkullyMental Wed 02-Apr-14 14:40:50

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Imnotmadeofeyes Wed 02-Apr-14 14:44:54

Death is hard topic, what one person finds comforting another will be offended forever more.

I've been through enough bereavements and still don't know what's best to say. If I'm close enough to someone, I just offer a hug, if not I just hope what I do choose to say won't upset them further.

I'm not religious at all, but have always found it incredibly comforting when someone says I'll be in their prayers. I can't offer that myself but I think it's a lovely way to express that someone is in your thoughts and even though they can do nothing to make it easier they wish they could. Someone else would be outraged at having religion forced on them.

Try not to overthink it and accept condolences for what they are and the sentiment behind them.

rosielee1 Wed 02-Apr-14 14:49:02

I would think it's the most awful year if my parents died, regardless of how good other events are and my parents are v elderly too.

formerbabe Wed 02-Apr-14 14:51:13

Yabvu...would it have been better if they said 'well, I know both your parents died this year, but apart from that, its been pretty fantastic year for you, hasn't it?!'

Joysmum Wed 02-Apr-14 14:55:04

Obviously you're hurting, but honestly, what do you want people to say?

Noodledoodledoo Wed 02-Apr-14 14:56:22

I put it down to the uncomfortableness people feel at funerals - I was asked at my Mums' funeral when I would be clearing her classroom out of her personal bits and pieces! This from the head who closed a large primary school (600) for the funeral so staff could attend and then announced to the children they were all welcome as well! Luckily someone warned us and we had a word with the deputy head who was a good friend!

AnyFucker Wed 02-Apr-14 14:57:27

well, that is what OP is saying, FB, so perhaps she did expect people to say exactly that smile

I find people who whine about perfectly nice people saying perfectly socially acceptable the "wrong thing" (unless it is vicious, nasty stuff of course) actually rather self absorbed and irritating

in general, people are not mindreaders and although it comes as a shock to some people the minutiae of other people's lives is not actually a priority for them

I am sorry about your parents, OP

Monmouth Wed 02-Apr-14 15:02:16


I can't see what is inappropriate about what has been said to you.

I considered it an awful year when my Dad died, regardless of what else happened and my Mum is lonely without him no matter how many friends and family visit.

MorrisZapp Wed 02-Apr-14 15:02:57

I agree with AF, and I dare say that forums like MN often give people a false sense of the level of mind reading/ sensitivity you are reasonable in expecting.

dotty2 Wed 02-Apr-14 15:03:01

I read a very wise comment on MN recently which was along the lines that when people say seemingly crass or inappropriate or insensitive things at difficult times and about difficult subjects (miscarriage, bereavement, infertility, terminal illness), you should mentally translate them to mean something like 'I'm so sorry, I want to be comforting, I'm feeling rather awkward and I don't know what to say but I'm trying not to be the idiot who crosses the street to avoid saying anything at all'. I'm sorry for your loss.

that is a good one, dotty

almondcake Wed 02-Apr-14 15:05:45

One of my family members died this year. I found it oddly comforting and reassuring that people turned up with their usual and familiar flaws, quirks and perspectives. It made me I was surrounded by people who would go on being there in my life just as they always had, even though I'd lost someone very important to me.

I don't know that there is a right thing to say.

AnyFucker Wed 02-Apr-14 15:06:21

dotty, yes that was a wise comment indeed

In my own experience of pregnancy losses, some people did say some quite daft things to me

I would rather that though than they didn't acknowledge the fact at all. I feel sympathetic to people who struggle to say the right thing, and like to help them along a bit (or at least not slag them off for at least trying)

SantanaLopez Wed 02-Apr-14 15:07:01

I really like that dotty. Wise words.

almondcake Wed 02-Apr-14 15:09:55

Yes Dotty, I agree. Things can be interpreted as, 'I meant to show I understand by telling you about my own similar experience, but somehow I've made it all about me and I'm sorry' as well, or "I meant to show that I cared by asking you these questions, but it just came out all creepy and intrusive' or 'I was trying to lighten the mood and cheer you up by making this joke and it just came out really mean.'

MorrisZapp Wed 02-Apr-14 15:11:03

Yup. So, so much better than having people cross the street when they see you coming, for fear of saying something awkward.

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