Manic Mom's Mental Myriads

Stop by and have a laugh from Manic Mom's Mental Myriads on Motherhood, and some other stuff too, but mostly motherhood, wifehood, thoughts on writing, etc. No politics will be discussed here or geography, and I will not be solving any mathematical equations. Just some BS on whatever I feel like blogging on...

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Death Vs. Loss

Okay, here's something that in the wake of the Pope's passing, and the death of Terri Shiavo, I've been thinking about lately.

When someone dies and you send a sympathy card or express your sympathy in person, do you think the person wants to hear:
"Sorry for the loss of so-and-so (don't want to put a real person's name in here lest he/she be jinxed)"

or do you say:

"Sorry so-and-so died."

When you write in a card, do you say, "Sorry to hear about the loss of so-and-so" or do you write, "Sorry to hear so-and-so died" or how about, "Sorry to hear about the loss of your loved one," or "Sorry to hear about the passing of your loved one"?

I always wonder this as I'm expressing my condolences, and I think if it was a card being sent to me, or if the expression was being said to me, if someone was acknowledging the death of someone near and dear to me, I would want them to say, "I'm sorry so-and-so died." Because that's what happens, the person dies. They don't pass, they aren't lost. I just never know what to say for other people, and to say, "Sorry to hear your so-and-so died" does seem kind of harsh, to-the-point, right-there-in-your-face with the sadness, but isn't that what has happened?

Okay, enough of the morbid talk. Anyone else beside me get laid today? Or is it lie? Lay, lie, have lain. Shit, I gotta stop this madness!


At 11:18 PM, Blogger Erin said...

Hi Stephanie! Thank you for your comment. I read them religiously! I have now put your blog in my favorites so I can check it every so often.

By the way, I think that if it is a close friend or relative "sorry so-and-so died" is ok. But if it is an acquaintance or co-worker I would say sorry for the loss of your loved one.

Take care!

At 6:36 AM, Blogger Tulip said...

I never thought about it until I read your post. I guess it has just become another social euphemism. I agree with Erin -- I think I would abide by the euphemism if I didn't know the grieving person well enough.

At 8:26 AM, Blogger Manic Mom said...

Good insight guys. Here's another way to address the death situation, if the person who has just lost a loved one is really humorous and a close friend/relative: Hey, sorry to hear so-and-so kicked the bucket, croaked, hit the dust, etc. I'm bad. I'll stop now, and go do something productive and stupid, like laundry!

At 9:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Usually I am a chicken and I let the card say the condolences, and I write a note saying if there is anything I can help with including a shoulder I am available. And if it is a close friend I include a drink or two on me.

And to answer you other is "laid" and yes. LOL

At 9:42 AM, Blogger Brenda Bradshaw said...

Holy crap, Stephanie, your blog is just as fun as your emails! I'm pulling up my template here in a bit to put a link infrom my blog to yours!

At 9:44 AM, Blogger Manic Mom said...

Charity--glad you got some too!

Brenda--LOL--I just sent you an email via Yahoo! I need to get off this damn computer and get something done today! Ugh!

At 9:49 AM, Blogger Gabrielle said...

Hey, Stephanie,

love your blog, I'm always popping by.

This is a really tough one. I believe in being as up-front about death as possible, yet I remember when my grandfather died and someone asked how he was, I replied, "We lost him." Because that's what it was--such a great loss that I feel even now, 15 years later. We could never get him back. Now, I say, "My grandfather died in 1990" but then all I could think was "We lost him, how do we get him back?"

So now, when I write condolence cards, I might say something like "I'm sorry for the loss of your beloved Brad." Or, as when a coworker's father died a few weeks ago, I just said, "I'm so sorry to hear about your father." I didn't need to say sorry about his death or sorry about your loss; she knew exactly what I meant, and was happy I'd brought it up and she could talk about it. I think that's the important part.

Ok, rambling! Keep up the great work :-)

At 9:57 AM, Blogger Manic Mom said...

Gabrielle--your comment was really good--I like how you say just to say "you're sorry" because the person grieving knows what you're talking about! I could feel in your comment the immense sense of loss you felt about your grandfather dying (see, I just did it write there, in my mind, I said, "should I write 'about losing your grandfather' or 'about your grandfather's death'. I'm beginning to overthink this but it's been an interesting post with a ton of great comments! And I'm soooo totally flattered that you're checking me out all the way from Paris--oooh la la! : )

At 5:25 PM, Blogger Tulip said...

Oops. Forgot to tell you: NONE for me. It is a hard, cruel world we live in..

At 7:50 PM, Blogger Gloss This said...

Hmmm.... that's a tough one. First the easy part: nope, didn't get laid today... least not yet. ;)

Then... if I really know the person I don't ever recall saying "loss" or "died". A close friend's young child died 2 years ago and all I can remember saying was, "I... am... so.... sorry..." I think if you really mean what you're saying that is usually plenty.

I'm not sure I'd want people to say "sorry so-and-so died" as it does sound harsh even if it's the truth. I think the "sorry for your loss" isn't meaning the person is lost, but that they have sympathy for the emotional, mental, physical loss you're feeling now that that person has died.

Going by my rambling I guess my answer is I wouldn't want someone to really say either? Actually, I hope and pray no one ever has to say either to me.

At 12:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A few days after I delivered our second baby, a friend "lost" hers. And it was hard because I felt that she would know that I was sorry. And so I ended up hugging her at the funeral and just said I was there for her anytime. And she called and asked to come see the girls, and I said of course. For months she would come over and play with the girls. Later feeling bad for not actually saying I was sorry, I brought it up and she said that the offer to be there for her was proof enough.

I guess it all depends on the relationship.


At 12:27 AM, Blogger Manic Mom said...

Wow, Charity, very deep, and insightful too. I also have a friend who lost a baby when she was 38 weeks pregnant, and we've discussed this topic. Sometimes it's even just enough to say, "I'm sorry, I don't know what to say, but I'm here for you." I think that's the best any one of us can hope to do, and that's exactly what I would want to hear from a friend.

At 8:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

She was also 38 weeks. We were due at the same time, only Syd was two weeks early.

I was always afraid during the first three months, but to go so far and then something happens...can't even be described.

At 11:05 AM, Blogger Gloss This said...

Charity - that was perfect, letting her come over to play with your girls. :)

I totally agree about being there for them. Our friends, who's young daughter died, were hurt when people would avoid them and treat them differently because of what happened. People don't know what to say or do.. and I think admitting that verbally can be the best thing all around. I didn't know what to do, I couldn't really talk about it for awhile without crying and that would not have helped them. So I was just there for them. We spent a lot of time together for a few months.


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