And, finally, what NOT to say or do when one loses a loved one…

I promised to write this post. We’ll consider it a public announcement in…bereavement etiquette?  I can’t believe some of the things that have been said, done, requested in the past month, but I am learning that my philosophy of people and personalities is true: We’re all crazy, some just camouflage it better than others.  Please don’t be offended, this is as much for my therapy as it is to inform. See, I have issues with saying “NO” and voicing what’s truly on my mind, not to mention setting boundaries, which leaves me feeling like

which often causes .

Of course, I have coping mechanisms: (writing about imaginary retreats. fyi: I need a REAL one!) and

But, this post is about common sense and consideration when dealing with the bereaved, so let’s continue. Here we go, things NOT to do/say:

1.  “Where’s the funeral? Have ya’ll come up with a time?” (Three hours after you’ve left hospital, 20 minutes after you’ve finally drifted to sleep)

2.  “You’ve never done this? Oh, well now’s a good time to learn.”

3.  “Services are Wednesday.” (Just b/c you aren’t satisfied with actual day and therefore decide to create your own.)

4. “We’re coming over anyway…”

5. “What was her name?” (When you’re married to the son of the deceased mother you’re inquiring about. It’s self-explanatory. After several years of being married to the son, you should know the deceased mother’s name.)

6. “Can you do {this, that} then go {here, there}. Do you have any {insert this, that}.  (On day of funeral, when it is irrelevant to occasion and inappropriate to ask on such occasion.) Ex: find me some end tables, etc.

7. “Make my sister-in-law a copy of that write-up in the paper. You know the one: Man Hit by Train. Oh, yeah, I need two of them.”

8. “Well what about { insert inappropriate/completely none of your biz questions here}.”

9.  “Hey….you don’t remember me? I’m your fifth cuz on your auntie’s uncle’s nephew’s side. Listen….{insert ridiculous request here}.”

10.  Any comment or remark you wouldn’t want someone saying to you if your father abruptly and accidentally passed away.

Bonus:   Nah, I won’t even put that one. It’s too wild, straight over the top I-know-she-didn’t. But this one comes to a close second: “Well I bought ya’ll a flower. So I should be able to get THAT flower.” (Stepping into the family circle and taking plant out of the back seat, a huge green foliage ten times the size of the one she bought. I have yet to know who woman really is. Wasn’t fam.)


PLEASE don’t do these things:

1. Insist on coming over next day and writing a novel-length obituary, listing every deceased aunt and uncle ever alive, while leaving out the grandchildren and /or taking under the consideration the exhaustion of those who’ve only had three hours of sleep. Better yet, don’t take over the obituary, period.

2. Insist on extras to fit your taste when you’re not immediate family and refuse to contribute to said extras.

3. Come completely undone at family hour, causing  daughter of deceased to have to comfort you instead of other way around. (Sometimes this happens. You are forgiven, but only if it doesn’t happen, like, all the time. Either way, this is negotiable.)

4. Call at all hours of day and night for crazy stuff that doesn’t pertain to concern, condolence, or funeral arrangements.

5. Put rumors out that aren’t true.

6. Take photos and then post them on social networks without permission, or at the very least, a warning!

7. Just…don’t post dead pics, period.

8.  Bait the grandchildren to acquire info that doesn’t pertain to you.

9. Whisper behind the bereaved’s back so loudly  they hear you.

10. Do anything you wouldn’t want done during your time of grief.

Bonus: Make me go into aunt’s house, take five cater size pans out, and put them in car because they don’t belong at her house, they belong at mine. (Not my idea, the idea of a very good cook who loved my sister and me so much she cooked enough for a party of 30. A very enjoyable meal after the embarrassment of removing it from aunt’s kitchen counter.)

This public service announcement was brought to you by, S, better known as Whatevertheyaint.



3 thoughts on “And, finally, what NOT to say or do when one loses a loved one…

  1. This would be really funny if it wasn’t so very sad. People are blocks of wood sometimes, but when it comes to funerals??? They are the absolute worst! And yes, you are right, this is a public service announcement. We ALL need to remember these things. (hugs)


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