I'm sorry. Two words that are automatic in our vocabulary. In a breath, they show up on command just as they have been conditioned to. Without forethought. An attempt to fill the void.
I loathe these two words!
When a loved one dies, these are the first two words that everyone says. I'm sorry for your loss. I'm sorry to hear about (fill in the blank). I'm so sorry. I wish we could erase those two words from all association with death and sympathy messages.
My life has been filled with "I'm sorry!" since Cameron died. When I hear those words I cringe. Responding is awkward. Thank you? It's OK? I've grown to hate hearing those words. This feeling is quite common among people who have lost someone close to to them.
I try to remind myself the words are coming from a good place. People don't know what else to say to show their sympathy. There is a need to fill the silence, the awkwardness. Believe me people will say some really stupid things in these moments. So we rely on our conditioning, and we automatically say, "I'm sorry."
In an effort to help you break your conditioning, I'm going to tell you what you should say. Things that any grieving person would rather hear. Take these sayings and use them as your replacement. It takes some practice. I know because I had to break my own conditioning.
Death is a tough subject. It makes many people uncomfortable, especially when around someone that is grieving. Here are 8 things you can say to help fill the void. Make you more comfortable. Help ensure the words you choose will not unknowingly cause that person more pain.
Do you know someone who has lost a child?
Do you know someone who has lost a child?
Confessions Of Child Loss pulls back the curtain for an honest and raw look at life after the loss of a child. It's written by Emily Graham, a mother who lost her 7-year-old son on Christmas Day.
It provides insight for grief supporters by giving them a peek into what bereaved parents think and feel.
Confessions Of Child Loss pulls back the curtain for an honest and raw look at life after the loss of a child. It's written by Emily Graham, a mother who lost her 7-year-old son on Christmas Day.
People who support a griever can gain insight by getting a peek into what bereaved parents think and feel.
8 Sympathy Messages To Replace "I'm Sorry":
- That sucks! - You can tone this down if needed. Some people get offended when they hear "sucks". I actually got a card from someone that said, "How Shitty!" It was probably my favorite. Just know your audience.
- My heart breaks for you.
- I am so sad to hear...
- You are in my thoughts.
- Sending you hugs. - If you are with them in person there is nothing better than just a silent hug. No need for words.
- There are no words.
- I am here for you. - Don't ask them to tell you what they need. Just do for them.
- He/She will be missed. - If you knew them, you can talk about what you will always remember. Why you were lucky to know them. These were my favorite.
Since we are talking about what to say, let's take a moment and talk about what to avoid as well!
4 Sympathy Messages To Avoid:
- I know how you feel. - Everyone experiences grief differently. It is best in this situation to just avoid this statement.
- This happened for a reason. - Even said in good intentions, anything like this should be avoided.
- It will be OK. - This can sound like you are making light of their grief. It will never be OK for them that their loved one is gone.
- Religious statements. - Unless you know the person shares your exact beliefs, it is best to avoid religion. After a great loss, many people question their faith. While that may seem like the perfect time to encourage them, it can cause anger or guilt. What may make you feel comforted, may not have the same effect on someone else.
It is always difficult when someone dies. By preparing yourself for what to say to someone who is grieving, it can help make the situation easier. Have you received other sympathy messages that were comforting?
Similar Posts You May Enjoy:
Thank you. Death is so hard, and I never know what to say. “I’m sorry” is a conditioned response, feels canned. What does it even mean? It just kind of pops out because that’s what everyone says, and you don’t know what else to say. My heart breaks for you, and I was so sad when I read about Cameron. These words have so much more meaning and I feel as if I am communicating how I feel about your loss–heartbroken. Thank you for the alternative responses.
Thanks, Sheila. It is hard and no one knows what to say. A lot of people say dumb stuff without meaning to. It just makes everyone nervous so they stick to those conditioned responses. Glad this helped you.
Thank you for the beautiful alternatives to the words, I’m sorry.
Thanks for stopping by! XO
I understand where you’re coming from, but hey? Why is saying “I’m sorry” so bad? Especially if it’s heartfelt? Don’t turn on the people who are trying to help you; changing the words to say the same thing won’t make any difference.
We don’t deal well with death in our society, we just don’t. And even as we’re grieving, we need to remember that. If “I’m sorry” speaks for that person, we really can’t tell them “that’s just not good enough.” (Myself, I did have to apologize to several people, when I lost it – unfairly – with them.)
On the other hand, your “messages to avoid” are spot on. But I’d add one more: “You’re strong. You’ll get thru this.” THAT was my bugaboo – hated it. (Which lead to the above mentioned necessary apologies.)
Know that this is a journey unique to you. No one else can do this, and (more importantly) no one else has the right to tell you how to do this. There is no “right way” to this – whatever well meaning friends & family may tell you. But I can tell you, 10 years plus into my own journey, it does get better.
Found this that first summer after my husband Frank died.
At the time, after all the hustle and bustle of the days immediately after, the funeral etc etc, I’d already reached that point (literally within weeks) where so many people will tell you (already!) “That’s it – time to move on!” – I came across this.
Grief is different for all of us. And no one can – or has the right to – tell you how to go through this process.
This helped me understand that, and that helped me begin this journey, that we will all go through eventually.
I have passed this along to friends as they’ve come to this same place, and they’ve told me it’s helped them too.
How to Grieve
(AARP – 50 things We Need to Know Before we Are 50)
“After the first death, there is no other,” wrote Dylan Thomas. That doesn’t mean the ones that come after won’t break your heart, but it’s the first that punches your soul’s passport. Welcome, fellow human, to a different country than the one you woke up to this morning. The air’s different here; so is the scenery. Your knees don’t work so well; in fact, you may want to fall to them.
For a precious little while, you are allowed to be stunned into silence, or to shriek, or to talk—recounting stories of who he was, what she meant to you, and how it all came to an end. Tell those stories. Some people may try to enforce “The Rules,” to wit: Enough of This Drama Is Enough. Ignore them. Besides, if you treat yourself gently and take the time you need, someday soon you’ll hear the faint but steady voice of your own good sense. Play music you love, sit in the sunshine if you can find some, and if anyone offers you a hand, hold it. Let them feed the cat, too, because they want to be useful. If your good sense does not kick in on its own, help it along: scramble some eggs. It will feel strange at first. But if you pretend that scrambling eggs is normal, eventually it will become normal. Soon you can squeeze some orange juice, too.
For some of us the stay in this new country seems endless. But time passes, seasons change, and, truly, would those we grieve for want us to mope? Come with me, back into the world. We’ll return to this land someday, all too soon, but in the meantime the garden needs weeding, the bills need paying. Your other loved ones need you. And you, my sweet friend, you could use a shampoo. —Larkin Warren
I guess for me, I have always felt like “I’m sorry” is said with pity in their eyes. Empathy feels better than pity…so it can vary based on how someone says it. I’ve never lashed out at anyone for it, I just cringe inside. It’s similar to the way you hate when people tell you that you’re strong, you can get through this. I’m so glad you found the passage you shared and quickly realized there’s no time limit on grief. You don’t have to ever get over it as long as you continue living the best life you can. Many hugs.
Oh, thank you for this. My significant other, the one I hoped to grow old with, died suddenly due to heart disease on July 9, 2017, he was 58. I found him a few minutes after he had passed and tried with everything I had to revive him. And let me tell you, that sucked, and I relive the moment far too often. The “I’m sorry” is still so hard to take, I always say thank you, which seems so lame, since I’m not thankful he died. I should say “me too”. And I heard the phase “you’re so strong, you’ll be fine” by a woman who thought she was saying the right things, but he wasn’t even cold yet. And the “he’s in a better place”, which is nice, I’m glad he is, but seriously, he wasn’t in pain, he probably would have preferred to stick around a bit longer.
I do have a couple of pets, but otherwise I live alone, I come home to an empty house, I sleep in an empty bed, I cook a meal for one, I shop for one, I have no one to tell me I’m pretty or to dress up for. I’m really trying to find my silver lining. I have good days, but sometimes the effort of having a good day will send me in a downward spiral. My family doesn’t live close by and my only friends were “couples friends” or his friends, so the loneliness can really be a weighty problem. I recently started reading Oprah’s “The Wisdom of Sundays”, and it really gave me a boost, but every boost ends with crash. And I was doing pretty good until I read this, and now I’m balling my eyes out. Darn. So much just bubbles up and needs to come out. Gawd.
I can’t imagine losing a child, I think my heart would collapse. I was with my mom when she passed, I was with my beloved’s mom when she passed, and I just missed being with Steve when he took his last breath. We all know birth and death is a 1 to 1 ratio, but there’s nothing about this that gets easier. I think of people in war torn countries that witness death and destruction on a scale I can’t even imagine, how do they go on?
Thank you for listening (reading) peace out. Jenny
Jenny, That’s exactly how I feel about “I’m sorry!” I give the same lame response and it just feels weird. Have to say I agree on “you’re so strong” and “he’s in a better place”, too! They just don’t feel good to hear. Nothing about this journey gets easier. The only people that get it are the people that have experienced loss like this. Sending you a big hug!
Dear Jenny, your heartfelt words and honesty around the loneliness you feel since loosing your significant other was deeply moving. I came on the site to find some help in what I could say to someone who too has just lost their significant other under the similar circumstances – a heart attack (age 67)and no earlier warnings, and had been well (or so it was thought). Thank you for what you wrote, and especially for what you wrote too about the “I’m sorry”.
Sending hugs to you, and hope…for that ‘silver lining’. Eileen.
Jenny, Oh my ! My husband also named Steve died oh Heart attack! We we’re having breakfast ( i’d Been mad at him ) He fell on his stomach and I couldn’t get him turned over( he was 250lb) I tried n tried !!! Just as I got him turned help came but not in time. I can’t get past this guilt !! It’s been 4 years. June last year was our 50th Wedding Anniversary. I too just wanted to grow old together. He was 68 and I had just retired too. He was my balance and now I am so lost ! Do not know who I am anymore! I am going through the same things . Feeling so alone . I think he’s in a better place is the worst!!!! Or at least he didn’t have to suffer!!! He’s gone and that’s the only thing that matters to me. Thanks for listening.
You never “get over it” or become healed with time. You only learn how to cope with the loss better. Forgive yourself for bursting into tears when you don’t expect it. Grief is the cost of love. It changes everything for the rest of your life, and you have to do the best you can. My father-in-law said, “You have to do what it takes.” He was right. Peaceful wishes to you.
I get the I ‘m sorry part too. After my husband’s death, I was ready to scream. But what I hated MORE, was I am sorry for your loss! I felt like had been the most irresponsible wife ever. It was like I put him somewhere and couldn’t find hiim.
Geez,I didn’t lose him in the middle of Target!!! I know exactly where he is, my heart, my children’s faces and the Atlantic Ocean.
He had a sudden heart attack and his doctor said to me , he is in a better place, I replied, what the fuck was wrong with where he was with me!! He didn’t mean to be unsympathetic but not what I wanted or need to hear. Hugs
I so get all of that! The exact same thoughts go through my mind with those sayings. Hugs!
Thank you for doing what you do, it is so cathartic…❤
I was wondering if you might shed some words of wisdom in regards to my question. This November shall be my daughter’s suicide attempt anniversary and by the glorious grace of God, she survived and is thriving, beautifully! Is it okay to feel as if even though I have her still, for those sickening, heartwrenching seconds that I thought I was losing her, I feel as if I wasn’t allowed to grieve, almost… I still hurt I believe because, I haven’t really had closure, does that make sense?
Most cordially, TracyW
Reading this I was brought back to the days, weeks, months, after I lost my beloved sister. So many people say the wrong things to a grieving person, just because they don’t know what to say. Your article echoed many of my thoughts and feelings. I have become much more attuned to what to say and how to act when someone I care about loses a friend or loved one.
Your words were right on point.
Thank you. We’ve never met, but we’re bonded spirits, so I’m sending you a big, warm, enveloping hug.
I, too, “lost” my husband in 2017, but I hate to use that expression. It sounds like I misplaced him. After almost 55 years of marriage, I’m still adjusting to being just “one.” My family and friends have been terrific, so that helps a great deal. However, I don’t like to say, “It gets better,” because it doesn’t; you just get used to it. I can’t even imagine your pain when your child died, because that’s got to be the worst loss anyone has to endure. I will add you to my prayers, if that’s okay, asking our Lord to continue to give you strength, as He has done for me. Thank you for sharing your grief and also providing such valuable suggestions to all of us who will eventually have to comfort friends and loved ones when they are experiencing grief.
No one mentioned the words …..sympathy & condolence i.e. “You have my deepest sympathy” , “My condolences to you & your family”.
Another choice of mine: ” I will always remember (him/her) with a smile.”
I like “I will always remember him/her with a smile.” That is a great choice.
Dearest Emily, Thank you for the great alternatives to the “I’m sorry” as i sit hear and read the comments and your replies, I hope you know, really know what kind of a blessing you are to others. You my love are a special kind of soul. I’m sure Cameron was a very special soul also. His memory is so honored by the works you do with others. God bless and be with you.
Prayers for you always, … Traci
You hit the nail on the head. If I hear one more “I’m sorry” or “That’s how it’s supposed to be, even if you don’t understand it” and “how are you?” I have actually gotten to where I say I’m not well. I’m a total wreck. How do people think we are? We are in Grief, we are in shock, we are at a total stand still with the world and sometimes it feels like you can’t go on. It’s tragic losing a family member or loved one can be too much and people saying “I’m sorry” doesn’t cut it. Sorry isn’t even a big enough word to cover our pain and suffering.
Huge Hugs to You. Life will never be the same we just learn how to cope one minute at a time. Thank You for the blog post
My MIL had a child drowned at the tender age of 8 years old. It was 1971 and he was referred to as “mentally retarded”, it is now believed however that he suffered from a form of Cerebral Palsy.
Amongst the well well wishers, she heard a few times, “at least it wasn’t one of your ‘normal’ children.”
Of course, “I know how you feel” and “you need to move on” we’re common.
Really? She was cooking breakfast and had left him upstairs with his 12 year old brother.
Perry slipped down stairs, used a broom, and slid the chain to unhook it. He went out to see the new dog on the other side of the fence. He upturned a bucket and stood on it, presumably to get a better look at the puppy.
Apparently the bucket over turned, he fell and hit his head on the concrete, and somehow fell in the deep end of the pool.
He was in there just long enough he couldn’t be revived. The guilt she felt, as well as his older brother was unimaginable. So never tell someone you know how they feel. My husband is 62 years old now and still carries that broken heart with him.
When my mom died an old friend friend commented “the people we love the most are the ones we miss the most….we have been so lucky to have known and loved her.”
I have to respectfully disagree with you. I lost my son 2 years ago and I think “I’m sorry” is a perfectly apporpriate thing to say. It’s short, to the point and true. And as far as I’m concerned a response of ‘thank you’ is also perfectly appropriate. Frankly I have appreciated anyone’s willingness to acknowledge my loss however they can, and yes even with a simple “I’m sorry”. Much better than people who see me coming a do their best to avoid me because they don’t know what to say, or act overly cheerful to me pretending that the loss doesn’t exist.
I agree. While other suggestions are good and helpful, I’m almost to the point of saying nothing because so many are easily offended. And, yes. I’ve suffered the death of a loved one – more than once. I was more honored that someone cared enough to call, send a card or visit than to worry if they didn’t say exactly what I thought they should. With very few exceptions- most people are just trying to give comfort the best way they know how. Grace goes both ways.
By the way, I truly am sorry for your loss and my sorry is real.
I have found that I really like when someone tells me a story or a memory of my stepdad. It’s nice to know that someone was thinking of him, or remembered him. That he meant something to someone. He’s the first person I’ve ever lost and it hurts. Someone said earlier, that no one can understand what you’re going through, unless they have lost a loved one too. That’s so true. You just can’t explain it.
I read this , unfortunately in my area of work, we find ourselves having to write and speak condolences to the bereaved. I always hope to find guidance as each experience is so personal (even my own loss can never be used as a measure as grief is so personal)
Whenever I can, I also try to share a memory or a fondness of a trait of the person who died, “I’ll always remember her exuberant laugh and vibrant storytelling,” “it was wonderful to witness how happy he always was when you were in the room,” and for many who were devoted parents to children riddled with unspeakable challenges, I try to acknowledge what a great privilege it is of mine to witness their devotion and love
I do often wish them comfort and solace in their most difficult time, not in the way of “you’re strong, you’ll get through this” but because knowing grief washes over you so often in waves … I do truly empathize and wish that they’ll be eventually consoled not just pained by the fond and joyful memories with their loved one
I heard all the cliches’ you mention, including “I’m sorry” and “he’s better off now”. Nothing resonated or touched the pain until a friend I only knew a little well knocked on my door, hugged me tightly and said, “Oh my god, Yvonne, you must feel so lost.” That simple phrase felt like a life line to me, and in her arms a I felt accepted and understood enough to just cry from the depths of my soul. This was the single most healing thing anyone said to me in my early grief. I knew others meant well, and appreciate their efforts. But I really did feel lost, and her words were very validating.
There are no words is perfect!!!
Losing someone is part of life but yet we still don’t have words in our language that can express that shock and disbelief in a genuine way!
Also never ask how I am. You will get an honest answer as I don’t care anymore. I will not say I’m ok when I’m not. You will get the honest brutal truth of how I am at that very moment.
Instead ask me what have you been up to – if it’s after the funeral. Before then I’m organising it and it’s not a great time.
And one more thing never ever offer help or say if there is anything you need unless you are willing to to drop everything and go to the end of the world for me. Because if I do ask it took me time to ask you. I am in such a terrible place I can’t cope and have come to you. So be there. Don’t say it and regret it. Never say it to fill a void!
Thank you for addressing this topic head on. This should be addressed early on in language arts classes–how to respond appropriately in sensitive situations. This would be so useful in personal and professional life. And now I look forward to reading the rest of your blog.
None of those are preferred by me, especially the ‘thinking of you, or I feel for you kind – thinking/feeling what?! Tell me. It’s shorthand for nothing at all. I would much rather a simple but heartfelt so sorry to most of those I am afraid. But that is me being picky. People do their best so we shouldn’t be judging them anyway I think- what do we say to others? Do I always get it right? Is everyone like me? Obviously not. The only one I would really like to hear from that list is that ……will be missed. With all the judgemental comments it is a wonder people say anything at all and I get why people cross the street rather than speak to me – it’s difficult. No matter what people say it can’t bring anyone back, but at least some people try to connect.
Those are things you would prefer to hear, but I am not you and how can we all know appropriate responses to all the bereaved people when we are all so different ? We can’t so if they try we must be gracious and just say thank you. In the end nothing anyone says will alleviate our very own private pain .
There is nothing really anyone can say to lessen the pain. Wish they were! Because I could have used them when my son died. I’m sorry, or any heart felt words are fine with me. What is not fine, is words 2 months after the absolute worse thing in your life, is, you’re not over it yet, you’re always crying, go to the bathroom to do that, what’s wrong with you, you’re draining the life blood from me, people avoiding you Coming from your so called friends, your co-works, your boss and family.
It’s really hard to comment on this. I appreciate your article. It is really hard to talk about a loved one’s death, whether the person is someone I love or someone else’s. When my Dad died two weeks after we found out his cancer had metastasized and he supposedly had 6 months to live, I was beyond devastated. He was my favorite person in the entire world. This was almost two and a half years ago, and I think about him every single day. I got many “I’m sorry for your loss” and they were comforting. I got “How ARE you” from friends and family and they really wanted to know. If I ask someone how they are —ever — I really want to know! I don’t even mind if people give examples of when they lost someone. They are trying to connect the best they know how. At least they aren’t avoiding me. It is so hard to know what to say. I never realized I may be driving people nuts when I was doing the same thing. I do try not to talk about my own loss, though. The only thing that I absolutely hate when people say is “things happen for a reason.” Really? Why do they think this is comforting?! I definitely have issues with pithy sayings that don’t mean anything, don’t get me wrong. But if someone is trying with, “I’m sorry,” or “how are you” I’m not going to judge. That said, thank you for this article. I actually got here because I was searching “the right things to say in a condolence card”. I am sad to hear about Cameron.
We all react differently to deep loss. We lost our older daughter in an automobile accident in 2008. People saying they were sorry never bothered me…it comforted me. I didn’t see it as pity but as an expression for something for which there are no words… I’ve said it many times because I hurt deeply to see someone go through that pain. As for #4…While I ~am` aware that some question their faith at such a time (I, too, have questioned it on one occasion of loss), I also know from personal experience that God is the only one who gets us through painful times. I don’t know how we would have gotten through the pain of losing a child without His comfort. Granted there ARE some things folks should not say…like “this happened for a reason”. It happens because it is as much a part of life as breathing. And I’ve heard some pretty senseless things said…like God NEEDING someone in Heaven… God knows our days…and He knows our pain. In the end, it is not so much what we say as simply being there. Purposing to pray continually for that person. Have a discerning heart, asking God to help you with what to say. Remembering them months after their loss because that is often when it really sets in. And just being there to listen when they need to talk. For me, that was the most valuable…that there were people who allowed me to talk…just talk. Just talk about our daughter and cry as I needed. Words weren’t needed as much as someone who loved me enough to just allow me to talk.
Thank you so much for this article. I never know what to say, though, I think I’ve already caused people misery, and that now it is too late to fix it 🙁
The loss of someone we love is devastating and it is true that we each grieve in our own way. I found the avoidance and lack of comment hurtful and upsetting…. For me, the words I’m sorry would have meant so much. Specifically in the workplace I found people rather ignored the fact that I was battling a loss. I felt loss. I felt lost. For me it wasn’t that I had misplaced my loved one, but that they were lost to me forever. I needed acknowledgement of my feelings and didn’t get that.
So, thank you for your perspective and your experience, and I wish you love and light as you continue to navigate the journey of grief in your life.
I usually say, “I wish I had the word you need right now but I don’t”. If it is a death like I have never experienced I will tell them I have no idea what they must be going through. When I have had friend whose daddy s have passed away, I sometimes put in a card to them to pay attention to what gives them comfort because when the time comes for my daddy to go, I will need people like them to help me through it.
I hope these are appropriate things to say.
When my 23 year old daughter died unexpectedly, I can only describe my grief as constant waves of horror,
panic, fear, difficulty breathing, and numbness, coupled with slaps of stark reality, and more panic and desperation. I remember screaming “somebody help me” over and over”. My body couldn’t walk or stand; I needed help to hold me up. For about a year I lost my sense of time and reason. I wouldn’t leave my house because I’d forget where I lived. I am grateful for family and friends who helped me through my time of grief. Any words that were spoken to me were not important; I only felt the love that was expressed through hugs and shared tears. Other than my faith, the only thing that got me through was time.
I think it depends on the person. When my brother died, I felt that a piece of me was died, too. I had no problems with people saying “I’m sorry,” because they truly were; and some of the statements you suggested would have made me cringe inside. Everyone is different. That being said, I believe this post was important as it gave different options for those who don’t know what to say. Also, thank you for discussing things not to say to someone who is grieving. Sometimes, it’s better to not say anything at all.
*had died, too.
I just hate it when someone tells me “they’re in a better place. ” I lost my only daughter 15 years ago and my father last week. This phrase just sets my teeth on edge for some reason. Thank you for the alternatives to “I’m sorry.” I’ve heard those words so much lately. God bless.
I am sorry to hear about your daughter. I can not emagin.
Sending prayers for you and your family.
My brother died of a heart attack, in a drawn out manner, 25 years ago at age 44. I think of him every day with joy and grief. I find that the grief never ends. It becomes part of you. I also know that I have never found the “right” thing to say to someone grieving. Thank you for discussing such a painful subject.
Wow.. I never know what to say… No words help or take away the pain.
First my Grandpa died at 65 years okd. He was my dad all my life.
Next 3 years later my sister that was 29 years old was killed in a fire with both of her son’s Josh 5, Nathan 4,
a dog and my sister’s boyfriend. Wow…. What to say.
5 years later my grandma passed away due to cancer.
5 years later my nephew Derek killed himself a 19 years old. He took a shot gun in his bedroom and shot himself in the head.
My only sister I have left in this world lost her son to suicide. Now she is a mental health mess.
Our mother has been in depression for over 10 years.
Sorry.. Or I can’t emagin… Just might be the only It’s a you can say to someone that lose a loved one, a family member, a child…..
After my husband died, I told the funeral director if anyone ever wants to know what not to say, tell them if it starts with, “Well, at least…..”, don’t say it. Several people just said “I love you” and that meant a lot.
I lost my only son of just 15 to suicide, 31 years, 2 months, 10 days & approx 14 hours ago.
For the first few months afterward, I was numb. People came & went, friends brought meals & tried to distract me. The only thing that kept me grounded was my daughter & husband. They were not coping so I had to.
That forced me to go back to work. My co-workers.
Hi After a brief hug & a few “I’m sorries”, they never mentioned my son again. As if he had never existed. That hurt so much. Same with some buddies.
I guess they thought they were saving me fresh grief & tears.
That was actually the most hurtful of all & I inwardly raged at them for never even saying his name.
That was a long time ago but even now I still tear up because he has been forgotten now, my beautiful, special son, Marcus
One never gets over it, it just becomes less piercing & urgent but at least now I don’t feel amputated anymore.
My daughter had a baby boy 1 year & 1 month after I lost my son & I can truly say that ‘a door shut in my life but God opened a window. That little angel saved my sanity
I think your blog is very healing & inspirational to the people who are journeying through this ‘strange new world’ of grief and I think that by helping others, you are helping yourself.
Cameron would high-five you❤️
What I cannot understand is why “friends”, who know that I lost my son, my only child, in 2017 (congestive Heart Failure at the age of 50) and then my husband of over 50 years in 2019, text me “Happy Mothers Day” messages on Mothers Day. I reply to tell them this is not a “Happy” day for me and I am just trying to get through the day. I don’t need them to remind me of my losses. I think they send these messages to make THEM feel better, not me. Better to say NOTHING, please. Just let the day pass. I have stopped communicating with most of these people. I don’t need it.
For me, I have such a string of losses that I can’t rationalize how I am to continue: I was laid off of an 8-year tenure job in 2017. Three months later that year my son passed – on my daughter-in-laws birthday! In 2018 I had to put down a dog at 10 years old that we had had since a puppy., and then laid off from another job 2 weeks before Christmas. In January, 2019 my husband died of infection complicated by numerous ailments…oh, wait – “co-morbidities”- love that word. 2020 was not a good year emotionally, but I got through it. This year in January the wind blew a section of roof off and then it rained and caused damage in 3 rooms. I have been sleeping in my living room for 4 months, navigating through the home insurance claim and a string of contractors. Had to put down another sweet dog 2 weeks ago, and lastly hurt my hand when I tripped and fell against a wall, snapped my knuckle back in place of my left hand ring finger, and the Urgent Care provider had to cut off my wedding ring due to the swelling of that finger. And today I get the “Happy Mothers Day” texts! I am angry at the insensitivity of people (“friends”) who should know better, and adding my rant to this string to hopefully get rid of my anger. Heavy sighs!
Can I have an Amen!!!!?!! 🙁
My daughter gave birth to twin boys 27 1/2 weeks into her pregnancy. I’ll call them John and Jim. Both were born in good health, but very small and of course underdeveloped. They were doing very well in the NICU until the thirteenth day when Jim suddenly became very sick. Despite the best attempts by the Doctors and Nurses, Jim passed that evening, 13 days almost to the hour from when he was born. All of our families and his parents’ close friends were shocked and completely devastated. His Mom and Dad were inconsolable, but there was little if any time to grieve because John was still in the hospital. John remained in the NICU for another 6 1/2 weeks. I cannot tell you how many people offered their very sincere condolences and then said “but at least you still have John”. I so clearly remember her saying how every time it was said she wanted to scream! Of course she still had John, but she had carried two babies, had birthed two babies, and of her babies had died! There would not be two babies getting into their two car seats, going home to their two cribs in their sweet room, going for rides in their two strollers. John is our boy who lived, but Jim lived, he was their son, and his life, however short mattered. It matters still, As for me, there is not a day that goes by without thoughts of him. It is ironic that today is the 11th anniversary of his death.
I honestly am not offended by anyone saying “I’m sorry “. I lost a father and best friend. It hurts no matter what people say. We are all different in how we perceive things. I appreciate anyone that even acknowledges my loss. Like I said, it don’t matter as it will never bring my father or best friend back. I rather grieve in silence. But that’s me.
There is no words you can say to take the pain away all you can do is let them
Know you are there for them to talk, listen cry with them or what ever they need and give them a hug .
I’m sorry is perfectly fine. Telling a grieving loved one why their loved one was amazing and the impact he/she had on their life is balm to a hurting heart. Always. Anything honest and heartfelt is good.
My only advice – don’t try to make them feel better because you can’t. And whatever you say will likely offend. A friend told me that at least I still had my other son. I know he was trying to make me focus on the positive but it pissed me off. I had two kids, not a kid and a spare. My aunt planned to tell her daughter in law that they baby would likely have had something wrong with which is why she miscarried – thankfully I was able to stop her – the grieving mother didn’t care about that. She cared that she didn’t have a baby any more. Just offer your commiseration. And if appropriate your memories.