Q. The mother of a relatively new client of mine just died of a heart attack. I’m a lawyer, and am thinking of sending the condolence note below to the client:
“Janet: So very sorry to hear about your mother’s passing. When the days seem dark, remember to cherish the good memories the two of you created. It will help carry you through the dark. You are in my thoughts and prayers.”
Do you think this note is appropriate?
Added by Florence Isaacs on May 17, 2013 at 3:30pm — No Comments
Q. How can you respond to people who say dumb things to you after your husband has died? A woman I barely know called two days after I was widowed and said, “Don’t worry. You’re going to be just fine.” I felt so angry at her. How could she possibly know what I was going through and what my life ahead would be like? I just bit my tongue and said nothing, but it’s aggravated me ever since. Is there a better way to cope with such statements?
I think you…Continue
Added by Florence Isaacs on March 22, 2013 at 10:35am — No Comments
Last week my friend supported a dear friend whose father died. The dad had Alzheimer’s disease and had been failing for some time. But his condition had quickly worsened and he died unexpectedly.
My friend attended the funeral and funeral reception and since the family is Jewish, she helped organize and attended the Shiva. She was quite surprised by some of the behavior and questions that hurt both her…Continue
Not much has changed in the ten years that I have been writing about grief and loss. There’s still a sense of discomfort in dealing with the bereaved. Friends and loved ones continue to seek the perfect words that will comfort the bereaved. They’ve yet to learn that no one thing that they say or do will make the pain go away.
So what have I learned that may help you…Continue
Q. On the second anniversary of my husband’s death, I received an e-mail from one of his former business associates. The message consisted of two lines: “I still miss him. Hope you are well.” This person is the only one who remembered the date and reached out to me. I heard from him at this time last year, too, and…Continue
Added by Florence Isaacs on November 7, 2012 at 9:00am — No Comments
I learned to be comfortable with the bereaved because at a young age, I was the bereaved. I witnessed firsthand how young friends, their parents, my neighbors, teachers, school officials, relatives, and family friends treated me and interacted with me upon learning that my father died.
And yet it was my mom who taught me how to comfort the bereaved. She connected by phone, cooked a meal, visited the bereaved, and continued to help long past when others ceased to…Continue
Added by Robbie Miller Kaplan on August 8, 2012 at 2:00pm — No Comments
Q. A couple who were very close friends did not attend my husband’s funeral because they were booked for a vacation in Hawaii. The flight left the day before the service and the package was nonrefundable. Part of me understands their choice, but another part feels angry that they didn’t change their plans regardless. What are your thoughts?
This is a complicated situation, involving a mix of expectations, practical considerations, values and priorities, and…
Added by Florence Isaacs on March 19, 2012 at 11:00am — No Comments
Who amongst us hasn’t had the best – but unfulfilled – intentions to visit a dying friend or relative? Or even to pop a card or note in the mail just to let them know they were in our thoughts? It’s human nature to procrastinate even with easy things so when it comes to the difficulty of putting words to a sensitive and final situation, it’s no wonder we don’t always follow through.
It happened to me not long ago and even though the person who died was not a close…Continue
Added by Susan Soper on March 4, 2011 at 10:30am — No Comments
It happens. Seeking solace, you call a trusted friend or loved one and share some sadness; a family member’s diagnosis or a colleague’s death. But instead of consolation, you’re told a story of greater loss, even more disturbing than the one you’ve shared. You’d hoped for comfort but the conversation leaves you frustrated and feeling…Continue
I thought I knew everything there was to know about grief. After all, I’d faced some terrible losses by my early thirties. And yet my mom’s death really shook me. The grief and sense of loss was devastating and I found it incredibly hard to pull myself together that first year.
From my experience, I’ve learned that every loss is different and one loss doesn’t necessarily prepare you for the next. Unlike other life experiences, the more practice you have doesn’t make you any more…
The words sympathy and empathy are often thought to be the same, and yet they are distinct expressions.
In times of death, we often extend sympathy by sharing our sorrow for what’s happened. Sympathy cards are usually synonymous with condolence messages. When offering sympathy, we’re expressing concern for another’s feelings. Cards, notes, phone calls, e-mails, meals, and offers of assistance are all expressions of sympathy.
But you don’t offer empathy, you feel it. Empathy…