Wednesday, 10 December 2008

'stepping up, stepping in and facing the facts'

I am about to face some facts - the fact is all the people I work with or the people I work for are either dead or dying. They are not 'passed on' and they are not 'lost' - they are dead! It hurts for me to say it but from now on I'm going to say it! No skirting round the truth!

When I say 'I'm sorry for your loss', what I really mean is 'I really am bloody sorry your mum died and I see your pain'. But I don't want to say it because I feel it may hurt them and I don't want to hurt them anymore than they are already hurting - So
I skirt round the truth, fluff it up and say anything but the reality of the situation!

When we speak to the bereaved, we say 'she had a great life' or 'she was loved'. Yarda yarda yarda - If there's a window of opportunity not to be sad then hands up, I'll take it, as will everyone else if they are to be honest. Its the easy option... but what about the people we are driving off from? Leaving them on the side of the road to find their own way home just to save an uncomfortable journey!?

By skirting round the truth, we are putting the bereaved into a situation where they end up looking after us, the non bereaved. They save our feelings because we are uncomfortable and they know that. So they try to save us from any more uncomfortable English situations! The bereaved protect our feelings by being positive or changing the subject, we act all polite (and thankful for our escape), then we make our excuses and bugger off on our own to have a cry for being so bloody useless, leaving the bereaved to bugger off on their own for a cry because everyone is being so bloody useless!!!

Now - I'm really good at my job because people come to me, they want my help, they open the door for me to come in and so its easy(ish) for me to help - but when my own distant family die I find it really hard to step up because I don't want to invade - I have no idea why I feel this way... its ironic really - however something is tapping me on the shoulder and saying - things need to change, not just with me but with the whole of the UK!

Suggestions on a postcard please!


  1. it's what I love you about Lou, your ability to just come out and say what needs to be said

    death and grieving are uncomfortable, awkward situations; I wish that we could all just get over ourselves and say what we're really feeling instead of falling back on the same old platitudes (though I'm not really one to talk, "I'm sorry for your loss" is the phrase I pull out in those situations)

  2. We put the dying in that position, too.

    Yes, we're a nation of death-deniers, Louise; the oh-so genteel euphemisms are no good for us. Grief denied is grief delayed and dragged out. I have an especial dislike of the vile word 'deceased'.




  3. 'Deceased' - I hate that bloody word too and I never say it so I am questioning myself on why I have it not once BUT TWICE in my intro on my blog!!!!! ;o)

    and Hillary - yes i wish we could all get over ourselves - me included! I have learnt a new lesson though and I am more aware now - I hope you are too xx

  4. Euphemisms, and skirting around the truth -- yes, you know what I think.

    The truth is that death is the elephant in the room. We all know it's there, but for some reason it's enormously uncomfortable to mention it. And as Charles rightly says, that applies both to the terminally ill and to the bereaved.

    I've always found it faintly laughable that we should speak so indirectly in case we remind the sick or the bereaved of the uncomfortable facts.

    Because, let's be honest, you simply aren't going magically to forget the facts. 'Gosh, I hadn't thought about my terminal cancer / my husband's death all day until you mentioned it' -- no, that's just never going to apply, in either case.

    Keep up the good work...

  5. "you simply aren't going magically forget the facts" ... thats going in my little box of wise quotes
    Thanks Roads xxx