LPT: If you wish to keep away from that awkward silence or “I’m sorry” when somebody tells you that an individual of their life has handed away, don’t be afraid to ask questions
A fast word; if the individual you’re speaking to reveals indicators of not wanting to debate the occasion additional than what occurred, don’t pry!! That is strictly for many who know they’ve the opposite individual’s consent/consolation when discussing the topic. Be at liberty to preface questions with “should you’re snug/okay with telling me…”
4 years in the past (gonna be 5 later this 12 months), my sister instantly handed away. It was the primary time I’d ever should take care of a dying that didn’t contain a pet or a distant relative, plus I used to be fairly younger and, on the time, had no actual social life exterior of my fast household and abusive associate so I didn’t have the expertise, information, or assist so as to address the occasion correctly. Fortunately over time, I attended some group and 1-on-1 remedy periods that helped handle the my ideas on the occasion. I can confidently say I’ve realized rather a lot about dying and am not as afraid of the topic.
Contemplating the period of time that has handed since my sister died, I’ve had many encounters with different individuals telling me about their associates or household which have handed. Whether or not it’s their grandmother, shut buddy, or father, I are inclined to ask the identical questions.
“How do you are feeling about all of this?”
“How was your relationship with them?”
“What had been they like?”
If there’s one factor that I’ve realized over the previous 4+ years, it’s that regardless of the absence and ache, all grief is rooted in love. Folks don’t miss the issues they don’t love. It’s not going to repair the whole lot or reverse the consequences of what occurred, however having the ability to discuss whoever you’re grieving permits for the chance for that like to be put someplace and shared.
If something, I want I had extra possibilities to speak about my sister. I normally don’t convey her up out of nowhere. I’d give something to inform any person about all of the affect she has over my youthful years,, and simply how killer her home made sourdough bread was. So I hope this allots for extra open dialog between individuals and to let the legacies of affection stay on.
Comments ( 38 )
My fiancé passed away in December and I wish more people asked me about him. As much as it hurts, I love talking about how special and amazing he was and sharing our happy moments with people.
I remember when my uncle died and I would have wished that people would have just talked with me. The silence is really hard to deal with.
“What do you want their legacy to be?” is my go-to. How can the current world be a better place thanks to this person’s existence?
If someone brought it up, it’s a good sign they wanted to talk about it. Otherwise, don’t pry and make it an mini interview.
It’s National Palliative Care Week here in Australia right now and this is such a perfect reminder of how to talk to someone experiencing grief. Please avoid saying “I’m sorry for your loss”. The person has not been lost, they died.
You can instead say “I’m sorry to hear that you relative has died”, or if you’re not sure the person can handle the “real” word, just say “I’m sorry to hear this sad news”. And then as OP has said, ask questions about them if they are comfortable and listen deeply. Give them your full attention.
Yes, I wish people asked me about my younger brother. Not his painful and untimely death, but his life and what he meant to me. I loved him more than anyone in this world. It’s not a question I get asked much.
Yes, glad you said it. When my dad died me and my brother found him still in bed like he was sleeping but his heart had given up. I got sick when i realized. When people asked me over and over to tell how we found out i felt bad all over againg. And i tryied to keep ocupied not to think about it so much while we were making the funeral. I had to take care of the spot to the grave, casket, and other stuff talking about it all the time didnt help at all. God bless the people who actually helped with stuff
I use “Tell me about them” and go from there. Never steered me wrong.
I also find ‘ well that’s fucking shit’ is also a great way to relieve the tension.
When my friend of 23 years passed from suicide it was all I could think about and all I wanted to talk about. I loved him very much and I wished people didn’t shy away from the subject with me because it brought me a lot of joy to remember the good times together.
I have my mothers DOD tattooed on me and I think I get asked maybe a couple times a week if I am somewhere new. It’s always the same awkward silence that I break with a “oh cheers thanks for that” joke.
“Is it true he was into auto erotic asphyxiation?”
My baby died last year. My best friend growing up just said “I wish I knew how to help!” But never asked a single question. Never asked how I was. Didn’t know what had happened and didn’t seem to care. Right at that moment, I didn’t have the emotional ability to ask for what I wanted, and although I kind of feel like a dick now I still don’t really want to talk to this friend anymore. What would have mattered most is her trying to understand what had happened.
Across all the people who helped me most through that period, the constant theme was those people asked questions and wanted to hear the story of what happened. This helped me heal more than ignoring the pain would have.
To add to this: Don’t ask: “how’d they die?” Unless prompted.
I had a girlfriend in high school whose dad died a few years prior to us meeting. She told me: “that’s all people ever ask.. not what he was like, or what he meant to me..”
My go-to is “do you have a favourite memory of them?”
Not a reflection on those posting here, but I try to avoid “I’m sorry” in favour of something like “that’s terrible” followed by asking what happened and about the person who died. “Sorry” always feels like I’m saying “I’m sorry I’m in this awkward conversation about death” rather than a remark on the event itself. This is just me overthinking things.
My wife’s ex-husband’s mother passed away. Upon hearing the news, my wife without pause replies, “well, she had it coming. “
>A quick note; if the person you’re talking to shows signs of not wanting to discuss the event further than what happened, don’t pry!! This is strictly for those who know they have the other person’s consent/comfort when discussing the subject. Feel free to preface questions with “if you’re comfortable/okay with telling me…”
Thank you for saying this. I’m grieving right now and had to put out an official story asking people not question me
OP – How do you feel about all this? What was she like?
Milestones can feel lonely, I struggled with year 5 or 6 after my stepdad passed because since it felt forgotten. But that feeling doesn’t make it a truth, they are not forgotten and live on in our hearts and minds. Give yourself grace and continue to grow <3
What happened to “I’m sorry for your loss?”
When someone that I don’t know, passes away, I really hate empty religious platitudes, all the things people tend to say like “heaven needed another angel” tend to make people feel worse at least made me feel worse.
I found the most comforting and most empathetic thing to say is that “ our loved ones live on in our hearts and our memories so when you’re ready I’d like to hear a story about them so it can keep a piece of them alive in my heart and memory too”
This one has me in my feels today, thank you for this. As someone whose lost multiple very close people, I struggle to understand and know how to deal with it. Regardless, I think about them and replay memories every day.
My girlfriend of 7 years passed away unexpectedly a couple of days ago. Nothing will make me feel better. The people I’ve been spending time with are the people who are helping me talk and completely distracting me from the situation.
I just did this today! (Self brag alert)
Talking to a neighbour for the first time about his garden, he said his wife died last year and she looked after the garden, so I asked which plants were her favourite.
Contrary to popular belief people like taking about loved ones that they’ve lost. Unless it’s upsetting them, be there to listen. Don’t pry. Just listen attentively and don’t turn the conversation around to something else.
Are you insinuating that silence is awkward?
Or “riperoni” works too
Totally agree. I had a very close friend pass away in December, and because of the traumatic nature of his death, I feel like people (not necessarily people who knew him) get uncomfortable if the subject of him comes up in conversation, and sometimes they’ll apologize for mentioning it. But the thing is, I’m never not thinking about it, he’s never far from my mind, and he was such an amazing human being, I want to talk about him. There were a lot of opportunities to do that during the funeral and immediately after his death but now that a lot of people have “moved on” I miss talking about him and spending time with his memory.
Wanna get *their favorite food or drink* and talk about it.
Thank you for this perfectly timed post. My grandmother passed away 2 days ago. She was my last living grandparent, my dad’s mom (my dad passed in 2016). On my mom’s side I’ve dealt with much more loss and while it never really gets easier it did help prepare me for her end of life. She was 2 months shy of 89 years old. My uncle, on the other hand, has never really dealt with someone close to him passing away with exception of my dad. It’s been difficult for a lot of people to approach him. They want him to know they are thinking about him but tiptoe around the subject because they don’t know where he is mentally/emotionally.
I was able to have a candid conversation with him last night about how he was really feeling, reassuring him that all of his emotions are valid and normal, and told him some realistic truths about what’s to come (please don’t come for me on this, my uncle has always been a realist and straight talk always works better for him than skirting around an issue). We were able to go through album after album of old photos, sharing family memories and l even got him to laugh at some of her ridiculous antics. We know grief looks different for everyone, everyone processes in their own way and at their own pace which is so important to remember. It will come in waves but we know we don’t have to ride them alone.
Just make sure someone is comfortable with those questions.
While I think most people don’t mind “tell me about them”. Any further would feel like prying to some people.
My mother, father, and younger brother passed in the same year from different things. I know people felt uncomfortable repeating themselves, but I appreciated whatever words they could muster up for me.
This is great advice. So many people don’t mention my brother bc they’re afraid it will upset me. I do get really sad, but talking about him makes me happy to carry on his memory. I miss him so much every day and when I get to talk about him, I don’t feel so alone.
I always ask what their name was.
This can only sound like a asshole comment but what if I just don’t care? What can I say then? Basically to transition out of this conversation quickly
I echo this 100% My dad died two years ago and I went into that grief thinking I had a decent support system. The amount of people who were so uncomfortable with my grief that they just ignored me completely was astonishing. I put a lot of effort into advocating for my needs, including giving my closest friends a list of ways they could support me. Yet none of them did. And no one ever wants to mention my dad in case they might upset me (which it’s not at all upsetting, I love a chance to talk to him about it).
It’s awkward because you people say “suddenly” like it’s an epidemic. Instead you make the cause of death this ultra-confidential topic. You leave no room for people relate. You are hiding real life lessons by hiding cause of death.
> If there’s one thing that I’ve learned over the past 4+ years, it’s that despite the absence and pain, all grief is rooted in love. People don’t miss the things they don’t love. It’s not going to fix everything or reverse the effects of what happened, but being able to talk about whoever you are grieving allows for the opportunity for that love to be put somewhere and shared
I just want to say how beautifully written this paragraph is!