What to say and what NOT to say about death

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Star*, Feb 19, 2009.

  1. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    Nine years ago when we lost our 18 year old - it was just like living in a fog. To recall anything that ANYONE said to me or what I may have said to someone else seems a million years away now. I vaguely remember the funeral home, and we'll be going back to the same little, out of the way, country funeral home by the rail road tracks again.

    Saturday we are going to bury our Steven. I've been in contact with Steven's Mom and she felt she would be able to let go better if Steven were buried. Then she added in a whisper - "Grandma is paying for the funeral." I said - "How about flowers?" and she started to cry.

    She said she had not planned for loosing a child, and the last payment for insurance was late. Of course they are going to contest a claim. We offered to do the casket spray - but I gotta tell you I hung up from the florist and for nearly $200 - I got what was pictured is a small, pathetic bunch of flowers. I couldn't afford this - but I couldn't afford what I saw and would have gotten. It just made me angry I'm poor. Like his Mom talking about putting her son away cheap - in a Steel brushed casket. She said it made her cry, that his final resting place was the low end casket. I know what she meant, and I also know that we both know it's just sematics because he's in heaven but WOW - the things you don't think about. Even just the plot and hole are nearly $5000.00 - We joked about digging it ourselves because we need to release the tension. Then that turned to crying - then I found out that a normal obituary 6" is around $200.00 and we couldn't even do that - so there was just a notice in Mondays paper.

    But my boss nabs the prize for biggest insensitive boob -

    Upon finding out that my son died....he said (and I quote)


    I think that word will be used for EVERY single little downfall between the two of us for the rest of the time I manage to work here.

    I'll get over him in time - but right now I just want to find the right thing to say to his Mom. She calls me and asks how I'm doing and of course I'm supposed to be HER rock - and I'm more like sillyputty and I feel bad that I'm falling apart while she's being brave.

    I was hoping that if anyone has dealt with similar loss - could you please tell me something that someone said to you that was memorable, appreciated or kind? I just hurt and when I see her face to face again, and see his sisters, and look at Dude - I want to be able to take a pill that keeps me from crying - and say ...................

    Something caring......with meaning....and not fall apart.

    Suggestions welcome.....
  2. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    You've been through this before which is probably why it's so hard to do again; even if he isn't your bio son, it felt like he was. There's no "supposed to" way to behave when you are grieving. Everybody copes in their own very personal way. Don't be so hard on yourself for your feelings.

    Your boss IS a boob and probably never lost anyone close to him before.

    As for Steven's mom, I bet just knowing how much you loved her son and how special he was to your family and Dude is comforting for her. You sharing her pain will maybe make it a little more bearable. Knowing SHE is not alone in her grief, and knowing that her son's memory will be cherished by people who loved him as much as she does. I don't think that hiding your pain from her helps anyone.

    Continuing to send up prayers and major hugs to you, and Dude and Steven's family during this tough time. You are all so fortunate to have eachother, just as Steven was to have all of you in his life.
  3. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    O Star--

    I am so, so sorry...

    And I am sorry that I don't have any magical words to give you that will make anyone's pain any easier to bear....

    Even the "Bummer" comment was probably a pathetic attempt at trying to say something, anything...upon hearing such terrible news.

    Thinking of you...

  4. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful


    Just being YOU, I'm positvie Steven's mom is being strengthened by your caring and your love. Sometimes words just don't fit, they're inadequate, and unnecessary. Having someone who loves her son as much as she does to laugh and cry with is most likely invaluable to her. Often it is next to impossible to find someone you can openly share your grief with who truely understands.

    My prayers are with your family and hers.

  5. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    Star - pretty simple actually, because there is *nothing* you can say to her to take away the pain. So-

    "I love you, I am here for you 24/7, and I'm standing right here with you - whatever you need, whenever."

    I think the one comment that hurt me most when my daughter died even though I know the speaker meant no harm was "she's in a better place". Um... not comforting.

    The one comment that gave me alternating pain, anger, and now mostly comfort was "God has a plan and we don't get to know what it is".

    I'm truly sorry for your loss, my friend.
  6. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    I'm going to pm you.
  7. bran155

    bran155 Guest

    I wish I had some magical words for you to share with her, I don't. I don't even know what to say to you! Other than I am so terribly sorry for your loss. I wish I had money, I would send you some!! I don't have words or money to help you but my heart is here for you. :(

    "BUMMER"???? What a jack as*!!!!!

    You are in my thoughts, as always. :)
  8. Lothlorien

    Lothlorien Active Member Staff Member

    I did not know that you had lost a child nine years ago. How painful that must have been for you.

    That being the case, I'm sure that you are probably the only one she knows who actually understands her actual pain and all that she is going through. Standing there by her side while she is dealing with this is probably worth more than a pot of gold to her. A warm hug, a gentle smile, holding her hand and just letting her know that you understand what she is going through is probably all she needs.
  9. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    Star, first, I've been gone, caught up in my own carp, and I haven't said "I'm sorry" to you. I'm sorry for your loss and I'm sorry I'm late saying it.

    When my dad died, my ex mother in law sent me a card. Just a plain notecard with no pre-printed words in it. I don't know exactly her words, but she wrote in it how badly it hurts to lose a loved one and that time will help the hurt. But the thing that made that card stand out was that she wrote about how, over the next year, particularly, emotions would flood me at random times, and that its ok to "pull over and cry". And that those "firsts" (first holiday without him, first birthday without him, etc) would hurt so bad, but we'd get thru them and be ok, and it would get easier.

    I carried that card with me until about 3 months ago. She was so very, very, very right, and even tho it didn't make me feel all warm and fuzzy in the 5 days after dad died, it meant to the world to me that she gave me that little "guidance" later on. Out of 400 cards, that's the only one I can really recall.

    She's an amazing woman. You are, too. Hugs.
  10. C.J.

    C.J. New Member

    In addition to what the others have stated, it would be nice if you would share with her some of your favorite memories of Steven. Tell her you will miss him, too.
  11. skeeter

    skeeter New Member

    sometimes, the most powerful message contains no words at all. Just be there - be there for the phone call, be there to lend a hand or a shoulder.
  12. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    Hey Star...I'm still so sorry for you having to go through this...again.

    Personally? I don't think this is going to be something that you're "prepared for" when you see his mom. Right now she's on autopilot and "mothering" you is probably helping her appear strong and maintain her emotions during the "public" portion of the whole ordeal.

    I think you need to feel what you feel, because that's going to do one of two things for her.

    1. that it's ok to have a meltdown if she needs to at any time


    2. it'll allow her to "tend" to you so that she can push the whole thing (public emotion mind you) to the side.

    A hug, a smile, whatever comes naturally will be the most sincere.

    I love you for being so careful for this poor woman. She's delicate and will need a lot of handholding after all of the hullaballoo is over and done with. She'll definately appreciate so much more once things quiet down (a couple of weeks after).

    I wish I would win the lottery - I'd call the funeral home myself and make the arrangements, unfortunately right now, a lottery ticket is too expensive.

  13. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    I wish I knew of something to say that would help all of you. I don't. Sending hugs and prayers to the entire family. I'm so sorry.
  14. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    Thank you all for your kind words.........also thanks for letting me know I'm not the only one that can not afford a lottery ticket -lol. Too poor to take a chance.....OMG priceless.

    You all really are the best - thanks
  15. 4sumrzn

    4sumrzn New Member

    I'm so sorry that you are going through this. Steven's mom is blessed to have someone like you by her side. The right "words" will come to you if need be....very possible you won't have to say anything at all. That's the "rock".
  16. Suz

    Suz (the future) MRS. GERE

    So many people are afraid of the facts and the emotions that they dodge it by saying or doing things that inadvertently come across as insensitive, stupid, or poor form.

    That said, I don't know anyone who has suffered a loss who doesn't appreciate the opportunity to talk about their loved one. Share your stories with her, Star. Ask her to share hers with you. It will mean the world to her.

  17. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Star, you've gotten some wonderful ideas here. You are always so comfortable just being yourself, I know you will say and do all the right things.
    Yes, I know how expensive flowers and obits are. I've pd for both ... spent an entire day paring down one obit for the NYT that started out at $5000 and we got it down to under $1000. :(
    The most beautiful casket sprays tend to come from corporations. (I walk around and read all the cards ...) so when there's a phenomenally huge one, it's generally done by the deceased person's employer or someone close to the company.
    I handled nearly every aspect of my cousin's funeral 4 yrs ago in NY ... and forgot flowers. Didn't buy a single one. I was so busy arranging for plane tickets, other things you don't want to know, it just skipped my mind. It will bother me forever. Silly, I know, but these are the things that count.

  18. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It


    You are so sweet and thoughtful to be asking advice for what to say to Stephen's mom. I don't have any firsthand experience so I am sure what the other's say is probably on target.

    What I do know about loss is that sometimes you can have people get really aggravated with you after a month or so of your grieving. Being there for Stephen's Mom esp at times like his birthday and Christmas this coming year will mean the world. As much as you can, stay in touch. Let her talk about Stephen, the memories, her grief, her anger, her despair, whatever she is feeling. Talk with her about your grief, anger despair and memories. Let her know there is no date that she has to be "done" grieving by (not tomorrow, but later). I can guarantee others will get irritated with her after about 1-2 months. Be the friend who is there WITH her throughout the year at special times.

    Sometimes just a hug and letting her know you hurt too will be enough.

    I am so terribly sorry. This bites. No one should lose a child, period. And then to be slapped with all the terribly inflated costs for the funeral flowers, I am sorry. I wish I could send you some $$ to help with the flowers.

    I am here anytime you need to talk about Stephen or anything.

    Love you.
  19. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    I am here for you.
    Sometimes it is the simple statements that mean the most.
  20. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    When I come to the end of the road, and the sun has set for me,
    I want no rites in a gloom filled room
    Why cry for a soul set free....
    Miss me a little - but not too long
    And not with your head bowed low
    Remember the love that we once shared
    Miss me - but let me go...

    For this is a journey that we all must take and each must go alone,
    It's all a part of a greater plan a step on the road home.
    When you are lonely and sick of heart go to the friends we know...
    and bury your sorrow in doing good deeds
    Miss me - but let me go.
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2009