Never say my condolences again.

scrapyardblue

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like anything, any forethought is probably helpful. i was recently at a wedding where the daughter of an old old friend attended. Her dad (who was about my age) passed away after a terrible illness. There had been only a very small funeral due to recent circumstances, so none of us had been able to attend. they live at a good distance from us and over the years, we haven't seen them in years.

It was important for her to find me and say hi. When she saw me, she came over and gave me a HUGE hug (she is in her 30's now) and was tearing up. I thought, 'oh my, what can I say that will make this livable?' She said, "I wanted to thank you, my favorite memories of childhood are when you would come to visit." And that just killed me, I knew that she'd endured some very hard times. When I would be up in their area working (in my early 20's) I could hire her dad to work with me and I'd stay with them and go to the grocery and load everything up. (her dad was a carpenter)

all I could think of to say was, 'I just want you to know how much I love your mom and dad (they have both passed way too young) and I want you to know, you were one of the sweetest, coolest, best, little kids..' and she hugged me again and said, 'you never change, you always made me feel important'

She is doing well. She has 2 little ones, her own business (in Vegas!) and her husband also has a business and they are thriving.

I kind of decided that from now on, I'm just going to tell people that I loved the person that passed (assuming that is true.) I've had enough loss in my life to know what I appreciate and what can cause other issues. I steer clear of the anecdote as it can make others feel weird or left out. I steer clear of expressing how great the person was because often the family had a different experience or there is the 'well, he may have helped you, but he was always drunk at home' or something.

I have buried people who struggled at life and caused a LOT of pain and all the 'kind words' were rough to hear... graciousness always wins out... but, bs is pretty much never a good call.

Maybe, when you really don't know the right thing... I just leave it at, 'I'm just so very sorry for your loss.' which is heartfelt, I don't want anyone to have to lose anything and it doesn't tromp into other territory that may not be appreciated.
Like many things in life, I suppose we all have our own approach to how we offer sympathy. To me, the anecdote tops the generalization every time, but only if you're willing to, as you say, put a little forethought into it. Even though the dad was a drunk and a lousy provider (or whatever), a redeeming thought or two can never hurt. Chances are that a little healing is taking place, maybe wiping away some of the bitter. Just my thought.
 

AAT65

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It's especially awkward when the death is self-inflicted. There just isn't ANYTHING appropriate ever going to come out of ANYONE'S mouth at one of those funerals.
Well, I was at the funeral of a friend who had hanged himself, and the attitude of the family was he died of an illness: that illness affected his brain so he didn't understand how many people loved him. And I think that's the way to think of it in that situation.
 

Frodebro

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Thank you sir, but don't worry about old TD, he's gonna keep on keeping on, 'til he runs out of gas and keels over one day. Those old Detroit Two Stroke Diesels ran their best just before they cratered! ;)
Just knock the carbon out of the ports and they’re good for another 500,000 miles.
 

Toto'sDad

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Always go to other people's funerals; otherwise they won't go to yours.”
—Yogi Berra (attributed)​
You know, by the time I get around to kicking it, there won't even be anyone left who knew me. I can just see it now out at the graveyard, two guys with a hand truck upending me, and tumbling me off in the hole. One guy looks over at the other and says, did you know him? The other says, no, but it's lunch time ese, he can wait for the covering up until we eat.
 

Askwhy

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I ve buried a bunch, and for the love of god who is still alive, please say i am going to miss him, or i am here with you, or whatever . but please, no condolensces.

It doesn't sound cool or anything. Just come up with something which is heart felt. He was an an==hole but at least he died is better.
They are saying they care when there is really nothing to say or anything they are comfortable saying. Take it with the kindness it was intended and don't be a jag.
 

getbent

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You know, by the time I get around to kicking it, there won't even be anyone left who knew me. I can just see it now out at the graveyard, two guys with a hand truck upending me, and tumbling me off in the hole. One guy looks over at the other and says, did you know him? The other says, no, but it's lunch time ese, he can wait for the covering up until we eat.
that is the way to do it!
 

Happy Enchilada

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My time comes, I want to be cremated and have my sons scatter my ashes in my favorite fishing hole. Then a good old fashioned wake with lots of booze and a lifesize cardboard cutout of me at the bar. And I want them to blast "Freebird" as loud as they can at the memorial service. Other than that, it's just another excuse to party, right?
 

Fiesta Red

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You know, by the time I get around to kicking it, there won't even be anyone left who knew me. I can just see it now out at the graveyard, two guys with a hand truck upending me, and tumbling me off in the hole. One guy looks over at the other and says, did you know him? The other says, no, but it's lunch time ese, he can wait for the covering up until we eat.
I told my wife to save the money and put me on a DART bus over in Dallas. After three days they’ll drop me off in Oak Cliff and it’ll be ok.
 

Nightclub Dwight

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My partner's second best friend died unexpectedly of a heart attach a few months ago. It was one week before his young child's birthday, so they put off having any services till now. He was a restauranteur, and knew half the city, so they are having a big outdoor memorial at a park tomorrow (Sunday). I knew him and his family, but I wasn't very close. So my role is to support my partner tomorrow. She has been freaking out all week about it, and I'm doing my best to stay out of the way. I'm about to busy myself making some food to bring to the gathering.

I feel like I can muster some words of comfort for her and whomever else I speak with. My main focus is to not provoke her to tears by saying something innocent, yet wrong. I will consider the weekend a success if I can make myself as invisible as possible, just showing up to help when needed. The deck is stacked against me though, its one of those lose/lose situations for me. I will do my best.
 

Timbresmith1

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I told my wife to save the money and put me on a DART bus over in Dallas. After three days they’ll drop me off in Oak Cliff and it’ll be ok.
My neighbor told her daughter to put her in the rolly bin and wheel her out to the curb. She said “I’ve squeezed every bit out of this container, no sense in you guys spending a bunch of money on me when I’m gone.”
 

studio

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My partner's second best friend died unexpectedly of a heart attach a few months ago. It was one week before his young child's birthday, so they put off having any services till now. He was a restauranteur, and knew half the city, so they are having a big outdoor memorial at a park tomorrow (Sunday). I knew him and his family, but I wasn't very close. So my role is to support my partner tomorrow. She has been freaking out all week about it, and I'm doing my best to stay out of the way. I'm about to busy myself making some food to bring to the gathering.

I feel like I can muster some words of comfort for her and whomever else I speak with. My main focus is to not provoke her to tears by saying something innocent, yet wrong. I will consider the weekend a success if I can make myself as invisible as possible, just showing up to help when needed. The deck is stacked against me though, its one of those lose/lose situations for me. I will do my best.
We all find ourselves in those positions at one time or another.
Good on you for following your sense of duty and being transparent like you say.

Those hard conversations seem to slowly start on their own. They bubble up from pent up emotion and you don't need to force anything. It will happen naturally.

I wish you and your friend the best moving forward. Thanks.
 

Buckaroo65

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You know, by the time I get around to kicking it, there won't even be anyone left who knew me. I can just see it now out at the graveyard, two guys with a hand truck upending me, and tumbling me off in the hole. One guy looks over at the other and says, did you know him? The other says, no, but it's lunch time ese, he can wait for the covering up until we eat.
You’re not just going to be laid by the side of the road like some old highline pole?
 

24 track

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I came from a large family 5 siblings and my parents , only 3 remain ( I am the youngest ) at this time in my life I choose to recall only the best of times with my family I dont have the time to regret what was never changed or be angry for that fact , the love was always there and thats how it will stay.

we have to do this our own way
 




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