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zrs70
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What NOT To Say To A Grieving Parent

Mon Jul 07, 2014 4:22 pm

Such great advice here. It's unthinkable when tragedy strikes a family in the death of a child. Attached here is a great reminder of how we can best support those families - and not fall I to the habbit of saying something wrong (like "she's in a better place now")

http://meyerweb.com/eric/thoughts/20...news.publishes&fb_ref=pub-standard
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ImperialEagle
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RE: What NOT To Say To A Grieving Parent

Mon Jul 07, 2014 7:35 pm

Say nothing that in any way detracts from their grief.
NOTHING will get better over time. NOTHING will EVER heal the wound.
"If everything seems under control, you're just not going fast enough!"
 
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Dreadnought
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RE: What NOT To Say To A Grieving Parent

Mon Jul 07, 2014 7:58 pm

Quoting ImperialEagle (Reply 1):
Say nothing that in any way detracts from their grief.
NOTHING will get better over time. NOTHING will EVER heal the wound.

As someone who lost a child, now 15 years ago, I can attest to this. You learn to live with it. But nothing is the same again.
Democrats haven't been this angry since we took away their slaves.
 
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Tugger
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RE: What NOT To Say To A Grieving Parent

Mon Jul 07, 2014 8:53 pm

Quoting ImperialEagle (Reply 1):
Say nothing that in any way detracts from their grief.

I had a friend who had just lost her wife after a year long battle with stomach cancer. It was bad, very bad (both were good friends). About a week after the death when I saw her at church, we just stood there and shared a long sad look with each other, she came over and hugged, I said nothing, just quietly held her. When we parted she said "thank you" and left, I managed a sad smile. My daughter then asked me why I didn't say anything, so I explained to her that there was nothing to say, nothing I could say, and most importantly nothing that needed to be said. Be there for the person in pain.

Some people need to talk, some don't, and for me, as others have noted, there are no words for what they are going through. Let them lead you as much as possible.

One of the major offending phrases they left out is" "It's alright/It's going to be alright" (and it's variations like "You'll be alright", "Things will be alright", etc.). It's NOT alright, things are not right, you have no idea how things will turn out, it is one of the stupidest things you can say to someone grieving.

I liked the side note in the article on "the ring theory". Simple and smart.

Tugg
I don’t know that I am unafraid to be myself, but it is hard to be somebody else. - W. Shatner
There are many kinds of sentences that we think state facts about the world but that are really just expressions of our attitudes. - F. Ramsey
 
ImperialEagle
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RE: What NOT To Say To A Grieving Parent

Mon Jul 07, 2014 10:02 pm

Quoting Tugger (Reply 3):
there was nothing to say, nothing I could say, and most importantly nothing that needed to be said. Be there for the person in pain.

Exactly.

I have spent over 45 years in Funeral Service and I have found that acts of care and comfort speak volumes. Simple things that show love and understanding.
"If everything seems under control, you're just not going fast enough!"
 
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einsteinboricua
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RE: What NOT To Say To A Grieving Parent

Mon Jul 07, 2014 10:47 pm

A coworker lost his mother and shortly after another coworker lost her husband (obviously, both were sudden deaths, one was of age and the other was a heart attack). When they came back to work, I wanted to tell them something...but how can you console a person if you haven't experienced that same loss?

Both are in happy mood again, but you can see it in their faces that something is not the same again.

I don't like saying "they're in a better place" or "life goes on" because it's simply a cruel statement. I think a hug and "My condolences" is all that needs to happen.
"You haven't seen a tree until you've seen its shadow from the sky."
 
bunumuring
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RE: What NOT To Say To A Grieving Parent

Tue Jul 08, 2014 12:01 pm

Mix it up a bit. Mix up the scenario presented above a bit and talk about grieving and support in general...

Try telling your 10 year old and 7 year old that you, their father, has six weeks to live and that the surgery you have to have the next day will more than likely kill you.
Been there.
Done that.
Survived.

And survived a similar experience three months later.

And then another 12 months after that.

My parents went through an ongoing living trauma, but nothing compared to what my kids had to live through. Four times my family had to prepare for my imminent death, but I survived each time.

There was nothing people could say to comfort my parents or kids during that time. I ended up supporting everyone around me due to the trauma, and slipped into my usual light-hearted, laid back mode that shocked most and scared some who thought I wasn't coping with what was happening.

Every death of a loved one is different. Every reaction is different. People came to say goodbye to me. People talked to me to say goodbye while was in a coma and I heard and remembered every word that was said and could repeat them to them. I heard the doctors telling my family once that I wouldn't survive the night - even though I was comatose.

When dealing with death, people have to be authentic in their feelings of sympathy and compassion . THAT is the most important thing. React how YOU feel is appropriate to your relationship to the one you are talking to, supporting, loving. Don't react in a way that you think you should. At a time of grief, of mourning, sincerity speaks volumes. It's better to be awkward than fake. And if still in doubt, like a poster said above, just hold the person, hug them, look them in the eye. Actions can speak louder than words.

Bunumuring.

[Edited 2014-07-08 05:05:12]
I just wanna live while I'm alive!
 
Kiwirob
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RE: What NOT To Say To A Grieving Parent

Tue Jul 08, 2014 12:12 pm

Quoting bunumuring (Reply 6):
Four times my family had to prepare for my imminent death, but I survived each time.

I think you should wear the title "LITTLE AUSSIE BATTLER" with pride mate.
 
bunumuring
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RE: What NOT To Say To A Grieving Parent

Tue Jul 08, 2014 12:37 pm

Quoting KiwiRob (Reply 7):
I think you should wear the title "LITTLE AUSSIE BATTLER" with pride mate.

Thanks mate.
I don't dwell on it, and despite daily medication to stay alive for the rest of my hopefully long life, I forget all about it.
My proudest moments are when those who supported me and my family through those times tell me that I am so normal now, so average, that they completely forget what I have been through. That's when I feel victorious. Also when I tell new acquaintances my story and they looked at me shocked, and say things like, 'But you seem and look so normal!'
I support young people, especially men, who are faced with sudden imminent unexpected death like I was. When i was told i had six weeks to live, i was in a specialist's suite in the heart of Sydney, all by myself as i had no idea of the news i was to be given. I then had to drive by myself three hours to get home to my family. There was no one I that I knew I could talk to about it, no one had been in the strange surreal situation I was in.
Some of the huge range of Specialists I have dealt with now contact me and ask me to talk to their patients. My local hospital and rehab staff use me. I have no formal training. No qualifications. I just talk to the 'patients' about what I went through. I just let them talk. They always end up crying and saying that no one understands what it's like. But I do because I have been through it and survived.
I love helping people in these situations.
I feel that I am giving back.
In a way, it helps me as much as the person I am talking to and supporting.
Cheers,
Bunumuring.
I just wanna live while I'm alive!
 
MIAspotter
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RE: What NOT To Say To A Grieving Parent

Tue Jul 08, 2014 1:50 pm

Quoting bunumuring (Reply 8):

Dude...

You are one of a kind, my respect!     

MIAspotter.
Nos vamos de Vueling?
 
bunumuring
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RE: What NOT To Say To A Grieving Parent

Wed Jul 09, 2014 12:06 am

Thanks MIASpotter!
Right back at you. I have always enjoyed your posts!
Cheers,
Bunumuring.
I just wanna live while I'm alive!
 
bristolflyer
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RE: What NOT To Say To A Grieving Parent

Wed Jul 09, 2014 3:23 am

This is a great thread, thanks for posting that link. Life lessons for sure.
Fortune favours the brave
 
Part147
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RE: What NOT To Say To A Grieving Parent

Wed Jul 09, 2014 7:02 am

What an uplifting thread!

Thanks to all above who have helped me get clarity for my own situation...

The best advice on the thread so far for me...? " It's better to be awkward than fake. ", thanks Bunumuring, I'm going to use that this very weekend!
It's better to ask a stupid question during training, rather than make a REALLY stupid mistake later on!
 
zrs70
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RE: What NOT To Say To A Grieving Parent

Wed Jul 09, 2014 9:17 am

I appreciate all the feedback on this. I often tell my community: when you comfort the mourners, it's ok to reach out and say "I have no idea what to say - but I'm thinking of you."

It's awkward being around mourners. But our presense can be paramount.

In contrast, this poem surfaced after the Newtown Massacre. I was so upset at the message:

http://connecticut.cbslocal.com/2012...ead-11-days-before-christmas-poem/

[Edited 2014-07-09 02:22:01]
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bunumuring
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RE: What NOT To Say To A Grieving Parent

Wed Jul 09, 2014 12:53 pm

Quoting bristolflyer (Reply 11):
This is a great thread, thanks for posting that link. Life lessons for sure.


Couldn't agree more. Things like this make a.net a 'community' on different levels, not just united in aviation.
Cheers,
Bunumuring.
I just wanna live while I'm alive!
 
L-188
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RE: What NOT To Say To A Grieving Parent

Wed Jul 09, 2014 9:01 pm

Well we all eat the insensitivity bullet from time to time. I bit the insensitive bullit yesterday.

One of the girls in the office had her five year old preliminarily diagnosed as a Type I diabetic. And I was asked about what I knew about it since I still won't admit I am type II.

Unfortunately I wonder if I was a bit too matter the fact with my discussion due to my history of working for medical programs and firefighter relatives. I am a bit afraid I might have dwelled on the negative too much..
OBAMA-WORST PRESIDENT EVER....Even SKOORB would be better.
 
bunumuring
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RE: What NOT To Say To A Grieving Parent

Wed Jul 09, 2014 11:39 pm

Just another thought...
When a grieving parent has another subsequent child, it is incredibly insensitive to refer to that child as a 'replacement' for the one being mourned.
One of my kids' friends was born after his parents lost a 15 year old son in an anaphylactic reaction to peanuts. The parents get very upset when people refer to the subsequent son as a 'replacement' . The boy himself has been so traumatized by people referring to him as such that he has had professional counselling to deal with it, as he feels (wrongly) that he is only alive because his brother died. A sad case.
Bunumuring.
I just wanna live while I'm alive!
 
bristolflyer
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RE: What NOT To Say To A Grieving Parent

Thu Jul 10, 2014 2:11 am

Quoting bunumuring (Reply 16):

Just another thought...

About 25 yrs ago a family friend lost a 15 yr old child. They tried for another and were unsuccessful so they tried adopting. They application to be adopters was rejected as the authorities got the impression they were looking for a 'replacement' child. Hard to take but probably the right decision.
Fortune favours the brave
 
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Tugger
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RE: What NOT To Say To A Grieving Parent

Thu Jul 10, 2014 3:09 am

Quoting bunumuring (Reply 16):
When a grieving parent has another subsequent child, it is incredibly insensitive to refer to that child as a 'replacement' for the one being mourned.

One of my kids' friends was born after his parents lost a 15 year old son in an anaphylactic reaction to peanuts. The parents get very upset when people refer to the subsequent son as a 'replacement' . The boy himself has been so traumatized by people referring to him as such that he has had professional counselling to deal with it, as he feels (wrongly) that he is only alive because his brother died. A sad case.

I have two cousins (no relation at all between them) with a similar issue. Each had siblings with leukemia and they were each conceived in the hopes that their bone marrow might be a match that could save their sibling. It was not to be for either. One had his brother die soon after his birth, the other, his sister died within a few years. Over time each learned the story. It was very hard on each of them. One has struggled a lot more than the other but they are doing OK now, each in their own way. It is tough to know that the only reason you are living you already failed at. And I say that from what they have told me. They know they are loved by their family and their parents, that their life is not just based on one thing, but the fact of one of the reasons for their conception weighs on them in the background.

Quoting einsteinboricua (Reply 5):
I don't like saying "they're in a better place" or "life goes on" because it's simply a cruel statement.

Another brain dead statement, and I think you have to be really brain dead to use it (but I have heard it) is: "I feel your pain", "I know how you must (anything)"

Tugg
I don’t know that I am unafraid to be myself, but it is hard to be somebody else. - W. Shatner
There are many kinds of sentences that we think state facts about the world but that are really just expressions of our attitudes. - F. Ramsey
 
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Dreadnought
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RE: What NOT To Say To A Grieving Parent

Thu Jul 10, 2014 5:34 am

Quoting bristolflyer (Reply 17):
About 25 yrs ago a family friend lost a 15 yr old child. They tried for another and were unsuccessful so they tried adopting. They application to be adopters was rejected as the authorities got the impression they were looking for a 'replacement' child. Hard to take but probably the right decision.

My wife and I were rejected for adoption for the same reason - in spite of the fact we were planning on more children even before our son's death.
Democrats haven't been this angry since we took away their slaves.
 
bunumuring
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RE: What NOT To Say To A Grieving Parent

Thu Jul 10, 2014 10:46 am

Quoting Tugger (Reply 18):
Another brain dead statement, and I think you have to be really brain dead to use it (but I have heard it) is: "I feel your pain", "I know how you must (anything)"

Hi mate,
I understand why people say these things... They are standard, conditioned, traditional sayings and a perfect fall-back when someone is feeling awkward yet feeling they needed to say something in such situations. I'm not excusing such sayings, just that I understand why people say them.
During my difficult time, someone once said to me 'I know how you must feel'. I burst out laughing and replied, 'i sure hope not!' The person just stared and didn't know what to say. But I guess she would never say it again.
Bunumuring.
I just wanna live while I'm alive!
 
mirrodie
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RE: What NOT To Say To A Grieving Parent

Sat Jul 12, 2014 2:18 pm

First off, my deepest condolences to those of you here who have grieved a loss of a child.

For all the nonsensical threads on here, this one is important.
It even points to those instances where a parent has a sick child, which is my current situation.
Forum moderator 2001-2010; He's a pedantic, pontificating, pretentious bastard, a belligerent old fart, a worthless st
 
bunumuring
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RE: What NOT To Say To A Grieving Parent

Sat Jul 12, 2014 10:54 pm

Quoting mirrodie (Reply 21):

For all the nonsensical threads on here, this one is important.
It even points to those instances where a parent has a sick child, which is my current situation.

Hi mirrodie,
You are so right about this being an important thread. A.net as a community needs this kind of threads to reach out and embrace members to reinforce that 'community'.
I hope you child recovers and that you remain strong and positive. I trust you are getting whatever support you need.
Sincerely,
Bunumuring.
I just wanna live while I'm alive!
 
mirrodie
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RE: What NOT To Say To A Grieving Parent

Sun Jul 13, 2014 2:33 am

OH just to be clear, aside from a fracture, my child is OK. But I do have a friend who has been consulting me regarding medical issues her child has been facing recently.

Its a difficult time for them with no solid end in sight. Although I can advise to the medical condition, its even more difficult in not knowing what to say to help.

Thanks again
Forum moderator 2001-2010; He's a pedantic, pontificating, pretentious bastard, a belligerent old fart, a worthless st
 
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DocLightning
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RE: What NOT To Say To A Grieving Parent

Sun Jul 13, 2014 7:40 am

There are many things not to say. I deal with death on a professional level.

"I am so sorry."

As a professional: "If there's anything I can do to help, please let me know."

As a friend: I show up with food. I sit with them, pass kleenex, and I keep repeating: "I am so sorry." Because it's all there is to say. Anything else is pretty meaningless.
-Doc Lightning-

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mariner
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RE: What NOT To Say To A Grieving Parent

Sun Jul 13, 2014 8:01 am

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 24):
As a friend: I show up with food. I sit with them, pass kleenex, and I keep repeating: "I am so sorry." Because it's all there is to say. Anything else is pretty meaningless.

Hmmm. Each to their own, I guess.

I prefer to be left alone, to deal with it in my own way. I don't need counselling, I don't need company, I don't need advice, I don't need to talk, I don't need to do an Oprah Winfrey.

I need to be left alone.

mariner
aeternum nauta
 
bunumuring
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RE: What NOT To Say To A Grieving Parent

Sun Jul 13, 2014 9:22 am

Quoting mariner (Reply 25):
I prefer to be left alone, to deal with it in my own way. I don't need counselling, I don't need company, I don't need advice, I don't need to talk, I don't need to do an Oprah Winfrey.

... But I would still give you a hug ...

And have the good sense to let you be.

Take care,
Bunumuring.
I just wanna live while I'm alive!
 
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mariner
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RE: What NOT To Say To A Grieving Parent

Sun Jul 13, 2014 7:21 pm

Quoting bunumuring (Reply 26):
But I would still give you a hug .

I appreciate for the kind thought, but with the best will in the world - I wouldn't want a hug, however well-intentioned.

I learned how to deal with it during the AIDS crisis when I lost several of my closest friends, people with whom I had expected to grow old.

Others who didn't know how to cope, such as their parents for whom it was always a devastating experience, turned to me for help and there was no help in me being a blubbing mess.

So it was with my young godson, whom I loved, who died a few weeks ago in a gruesome, bloody suicide (exotic drugs) that was originally thought to be murder. His parents and his sister (my god-daughter, who found him) turned to me and I needed emotional strength for that. His father denied his own grief for days, but kept calling me until finally he broke.

But I couldn't not grieve and the only way I could was privately, on my own.

mariner
aeternum nauta
 
bunumuring
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RE: What NOT To Say To A Grieving Parent

Sun Jul 13, 2014 9:44 pm

You are a remarkable man, mariner. People turning to you at their time of acute crisis is evidence of that. It is the same with me, people turning to me to help them through the storm. My time for grieving, my time for mourning, is always secondary to my desire to help them in any way I can.

I hope one day to meet you, shake your hand and give you that hug.

Sincerely,
Bunumuring.
I just wanna live while I'm alive!

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