A death in the family

I mean, what do you say to people when you learn they’ve had a very close family bereavement?

‘I’m sorry’ is so lame.

And meaningless.

It doesn’t really convey anything and anyway, what is it that I’m being so apologetic about?

There are other circumstances that are just about on the same level of devastation as a close family bereavement.

Losing a much loved pet (I still grieve for Beech, every day my friends, every single day) is in that category.

And another kind of bereavement.

The death of a relationship.

This week one of my colleagues at work told me that his (grown up) daughter has been dumped by the guy she was living with; he just walked out.

God that’s just so similar to a bereavement – the poor girl. I’m not taking sides, I don’t judge him… I just understand how she feels.

And then someone else I know, someone I worked in London with, told me that her Mum had passed away.

The words ‘I’m sorry’ seem so inadequate.

I’d never met her Mum but that’s not the point – I’ve listened to my friend speak about her.

And now she’s gone, just like the relationship that my colleague’s daughter had (past tense).

Different kinds of death, but death all the same.

A few days ago (this really hasn’t been a good week for this kind of stuff) another colleague took me aside and said that her husband of 20 years had walked out on her and their two children.

Another relationship to grieve over, another instance where ‘Oh my God, I’m so sorry’ seems so completely inadequate.

People. Glass Houses. Stones.

I’m far, far, far from perfect.

I’ve done my share of dumping, I’ve caused the death of some relationships – I still feel bad about one or two of them even though my actions were the right thing to do…

Doesn’t mean I still don’t grieve.

But there’s my former colleague friend and her Mum, my colleague and his ‘widowed’ daughter, my colleague and her new status as a single mum…

All grieving in their own way.

And I suppose I am too; empath that I am.

Feeling very sorry for everyone.

But ‘sorry’ is such a lame word.


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9 Responses to A death in the family

  1. stratfordgirl says:

    Sad stuff xx

  2. sooz says:

    It’s not the ‘sorry’ whch helps – it’s the genuine and heartfelt way that you express it. And that you do.

  3. Brennig says:

    SG: Aye 🙁

    Sooz: Thanks.

  4. Jonners says:

    Sooz is right. It’s the fact that you care enough to say something and mean it or be there for the person that really matters.

  5. It’s true, sometimes just being there in person for someone is all it takes to show you really care. elaine

  6. Dudius says:

    “I’m sorry” is infinitely better than the fantastically stupid thing I said, upon being informed of my best friends death.

    We had been flat-sharing for a few months and had fallen out over something ridiculously trivial – washing-up, I think it was – so I had stormed out and moved back to my parents. A couple of weeks later, his father knocked on my door and told me that Chris had been involved in a head-on collision and had been pronounced D.O.A.

    My response to this news?

    Did I offer any consoling words or gems of zen-like wisdom?

    Did I break down and weep over the fact that we had parted on bad terms?


    I said “You’re joking.”

    This was met by a moment of exasperated silence and a mumbling of “The funeral’s next week….” before his dad walked away.

    My god, how I’ve kicked myself ever since. It was nine years ago, and I still feel my foot is lodged firmly in my mouth.

    I mean, what a stupid thing to say. 🙁

  7. Brennig says:

    Sometimes I want to say nothing at all, but is saying nothing (apart from standing there with Spaniel eyes) worse or better?

  8. Jude says:

    I don’t usually make comments on websites etc but felt I had to on this one. I am one of the people that Brennig said “I’m sorry” to. I can honestly say that I don’t remember if he said he was sorry or not but I do remember that he cared. Cared enough to listen without judgetment or name calling, he just listened. That’s what I remember about our conversation and it’s that I appreciated more than anything.

  9. Brennig says:

    Jude, thanks for these lovely words.

    I love you to bits; but I’d appreciate it if you could hold off on the niceness. Otherwise you’re in danger of destroying the curmudgeonly old git image that I’m painstakingly cultivating! 🙂