What to Say in Awkward situations

Uncomfortable situations bring out the best and the worst in people (and the cliches) in people.

I was amazed by the thoughtfulness of some people, even those who admitted they did not know what to say. Because, when you lose your mom there is nothing you really want to hear or anything that anyone can say that will make you feel much better.

There’s the non-response, the people who are so uncomfortable that they elect not to say anything. I confess, I once did the ostrich move of burying my head in the sand pretending I did not exist when someone I know lost her mom. When she called me to express her condolences I admitted my embarrassment and cowardice. She understood as we barely knew each other. And even though we had never spoken on the phone until somewhat recently, I still feel awful, and told her so.

There was at least two people who pretended the elephant was not in the room and blatantly ignored my mother’s passing. Of course the people who do/did not know are forgiven. But others have revealed more about their personality than they realize.

Then there are the people who talk about themselves and their own loss. I don’t care about people of my mother’s generation who recently lost a parent. I don’t care about someone who misses her grandma. I feel that I can only relate to people have lost a parent, and really a mother.

Some people say such stupid inappropriate comments which garner snarky responses. Everyone wants to know what we are doing with my mom’s house (keeping it). One person said, “Oh, it’ll be so nice for you to have a place to go in the summer.”

Was she implying that I wouldn’t go there otherwise or that there was not enough room for me and the family? “I’d rather have my mother,” I said. *This is after she tells me not to blame myself for not calling her to deliver the news, then tells me she blames herself too.

This is not the conversation that I want to have with someone, even if she adored my mom.

So the stuff I like to hear is a heartfelt condolence or a nice memory about my mom or that she considered me her favorite 🙂


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