My parents died within five months of one another. This was a most difficult time in my life and I was looking for strength and consoling from my family and friends. However, at my parent’s funerals, people would say things to me that were of no comfort. In fact some of their words made me feel worse. I’m sure that these people did not want to be insensitive; it’s just that it’s difficult to know what to say. Sometimes the right words of comfort elude us. I believe at times, it is appropriate to say nothing.
I remember people telling me what a good life my father and mother had lead, how they were in a better place and that their time had come. I didn’t want to hear any of these observations, even if they were true statements. I wanted my father to live forever; I wanted my mother to live forever.
If you find yourself in a situation when you need to say something to someone who has lost a parent, I hope the following two lists of comments will assist you:
Five Things to Say
o I understand that you are in pain, let me know if I can help you
o No matter how old your parent is, I know their death is difficult for you
o Even though your parent was elderly, I understand that you want him (or her) to have been here on earth for a longer time
o Even though your parents was sick, we are almost never prepared for the inevitable
o Take your time in grieving; there is no time limit to your grief
Five Things Not to Say
o He (or she) was old so you should have expected their death
o He (or she) had a good life
o His (or her) time had come
o This too shall pass
o You will get over it in a couple of months
Annette Gonzalez is a lifelong Floridian and was raised in West Tampa, a Latin neighborhood in Tampa. As a child, she was nurtured in this cultural environment and it influenced her desire to be a writer, speaker and storyteller.
Annette’s professional background includes positions as a social worker, real estate salesperson, business owner, PBS education director, president of a chamber of commerce and director of business development at an educational association.
In September 2006, when Annette’s struggled with coping with the loss of her mother, she needed to fill the emptiness in her heart and began documenting her feelings. Five months later, her father passed away. This is when she began to write and speak about her parents’ deaths. What resulted was that Annette provided others who had lost their parents comfort and direction through her writing and speeches.
Visit Annette’s blog, http://www.marinasabundance.blogspot.com – in memory of her mother, Marina Gonzalez. She encourages those who have lost their mothers or whose mothers are in ill health to post comments.