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Things You Should Never, Ever Say Over Text or Email

(59 Posts)
luzdoh Mon 12-Feb-18 14:40:34

Admittedly this subject was prompted from Reader's Digest having the same article, but it brought back to me three awful emails I received. The main one years ago, which still hurts badly. That one said that a dear friend, living a few doors from my mother's, (over 200 miles from me) had died. His death was sudden, he was not that old, from an only just discovered brain tumour. I did not see the email. I get so may because, since being disabled, I shop so much by internet, emails can get drowned. I then met his Widow, a dear friend too, next time I was there, which was for my own mother's funeral. I did not know her husband had died. It was so awful. It still upsets me. The sender of the death announcement by email had the gall to say to me, cockily, in front of everyone, "Don't forget to check your emails in future." She is older than I, married to my cousin and I have known her since I was a schoolgirl. Am I wrong to be upset that I did not see the email? Are we supposed to read every single one, every day? If so I have to stop receiving them. I feel it was inappropriate of her not to phone me with this terrible news. We have known each other for 60+ years!

MawBroon Mon 12-Feb-18 14:53:09

Sorry but I don’t agree.
Certainly not text but when Paw died there was NO WAY I could ring round all the people on our contacts list even if I had had the strength to do it.
Can you imagine repeating that 50 or more times over?
A circular email, followed by another with details of his Requiem, plus information about parking and hotels in the area was what got me through.
Yes you should check your emails just as you should open all letters and bills. As a widow of a few hours there was no way I could tell our friends and extended family on the phone.
Be reasonable, I am afraid the onus was on you.

Bellasnana Mon 12-Feb-18 15:00:25

I think in the case of the OP, it was not an email from the immediate family of the deceased so, yes, they could have made a phone call.

BlueBelle Mon 12-Feb-18 15:08:11

Well I don’t read every email ( a lot are adverts of some kind) but I do read every one that comes from a real person
But let it go it’s not worth worrying over something that happened so long ago it cannot be changed now

Esspee Mon 12-Feb-18 15:18:47

Ringing round is something a friend could do. I know I found it difficult to answer the same questions over and over when I was at my lowest point emotionally.
As for emails, don't have an email address if you are not prepared to sort through them discarding some which are clearly of no interest and having a brief look at the others. Do you bin letters without looking at them? Sorry Luzdoh you are completely responsible for the embarrassing situation.

Nonnie Mon 12-Feb-18 15:20:25

I'm with Maw on this. Anyone who has had to deal with bereavement will understand how much has to be done and how hard it is to do it. An email to all and sundry was our way of coping and then we put something on our DS's Facebook page because we didn't know all his friends so had no way of contacting them. That was well received and some of his friends came from other countries to the funeral as a result.

I heard of my brother's death on Facebook and that was not so good.

MissAdventure Mon 12-Feb-18 16:01:41

I could barely function, barely speak, and barely string two words together when my daughter died.
I felt like an animal in my grief. There is no way I could have phoned anyone.

emmasnan Mon 12-Feb-18 16:02:01

I also heard of my brothers death on facebook Nonnie and although we hadn't met in many years - he lived overseas - we had been in contact occasionally so it was a shock. The same thing happened with his wife's death a short time after.

Farmor15 Mon 12-Feb-18 17:46:11

I agree that there’s no point in having an e-mail address unless you check daily (and can immediately discard all the ads etc. ) Some people use a different address for ordering stuff online etc. so keep a personal one for friends.
After my father died, my mother said she found it exhausting to answer phone calls, let alone make any. I took that on board so don’t phone a recently bereaved person to sympathise - send a card and short letter.
In Ireland (where attending funerals is very important!) there’s a very useful website - - for death notices with all funeral information, or even if you want to check if someone has died.

Baggs Mon 12-Feb-18 17:52:58

It's the death of a person that causes the shock, especially if unexpected, not the medium through which one's told.

It's easy enough to run down one's inbox and see which are personal emails from people you know and which aren't.

Bridgeit Mon 12-Feb-18 17:59:02

I think sending a death notification card is a good idea, they are personal, but also takes the pressure of the bereaved family.

MargaretX Mon 12-Feb-18 18:02:05

I'm with Farmor 15 on this. I have three e-mail addresses including one only for private mails. When its not been used on any forum or for ordering things not so many come in on a daily basis.

Fennel Mon 12-Feb-18 18:04:13

luzdoh - Adding to your list - "on the phone".
I read about the death of a friend in the local paper, very unexpected as I'd seen him only a few days before.
So I rang his wife - she said she couldn't speak to me as she was so tired. Funeral just over etc.
That showed me that it's a mistake to try to comfort someone too near the time of their bereavement.

luzdoh Tue 13-Feb-18 10:28:26

MawBroon She was not the poor widow or family member trying to impart the news. I know what that is like as my husband died suddenly when I was 41 with 3 children. She was a neighbour of the deceased who was telling a few people in her circle. I was the only one far away whom she had to contact, and a close family member to her. She and her husband, my cousin, stayed with me several times. She probably did not have to tell anyone else who was not living near her. Other people told their friends and thus the word was spread as it usually is. Other people, I learned, phoned their friends and relatives whom they could not meet in person.

luzdoh Tue 13-Feb-18 10:35:34

Fennel you are right that when your husband or close family member has died you get very tired. My husband died when I was 41. However people are construing that the email sender was a close family member of the deceased. She was not. She is a neighbour of the deceased, married to my cousin who, I learned, took it on herself to tell a few people and I was the only one who lived far away. She was not over burdened with distress, I got the impression she felt important going round giving the news. Also, I do not bother widows or close relatives of people who have died, having had so many deaths, including my husband, to deal with. I send a card with brief message of love and condolence since that was what I found most comforting when my husband died.

luzdoh Tue 13-Feb-18 10:39:23

Margaretx and Farmor15 Many thanks, that's such a good idea. I will try to have close friends and family to use my other address - trouble is at the mo all addresses go into my mail and I use that. When I was at work I couldn't browse all of them, I was already too overworked, though I tried to and sometimes things did get missed.

Grannyknot Tue 13-Feb-18 10:40:10

I was sent an email to my work email address that my FIL had died - very far away in a different country, but we were close and I was so shocked, I reacted physically, cried out and jumped back and knocked my chair over.

He had been ill, but how ill he was had also been kept from us because of the distance.

It's not an easy question this one ...not clear cut.

luzdoh Tue 13-Feb-18 10:48:58

MissAdventure I am so sorry to hear that you lost your daughter. That is the worst bereavement, to lose a child. Of course you could not do anything and no-one would expect you to. I keep explaining - the person who didn't phone was not the bereaved person, she was a neighbour of the man who died who said she would tell a hand full of people she knew. I was the only person she could not meet face to face. She knows me really well, stays with me when she and her husband want somewhere to stay in my area. She was far from burdened with grief but rather seemed to feel important about going round telling people. Again I am so sorry you lost your daughter, I can't imagine how painful that must be. My husband died suddenly when I was 41, but even then I knew it could have been worse if it had been one of my children. I know this will be with you always, and pray (I hope that doesn't upset you, it's what I do) that you will find comfort. Thank you for writing and I send you much love.

luzdoh Tue 13-Feb-18 10:54:56

Grannyknot I'm so sorry. The article in Reader's Digest says it's one of the things never to send by email or by text. Thank you for your reply. You are one person who seems to have appreciated it was not the bereaved person who sent the email but a person living nearby who was only telling a few people. I learned that she was full of self-importance at going round imparting the news! Makes your shiver! The man who died and his lovely wife did so much to help my mum who had Alzheimer's, so I had grown to love them very much and went to school with their daughter who also nursed my Dad when he was dying. Thanks for writing.

luzdoh Tue 13-Feb-18 11:01:51

I agree Bridgeit, what is odd here is that this person, who was not the bereaved person and was only telling a handful of people she knew, was in the habit of phoning me. It turned out, people said, she seemed to feel important telling people about the death! Some people here seem to think I expected his poor widow to phone me. Please be reassured, as someone who was suddenly widowed at 41 with 3 ch I wouldn't dream of that! The emailer (my cousin's wife) was an unrelated neighbour to the deceased and only had a handful of people she knew to tell and she was by no means terribly in grief.

luzdoh Tue 13-Feb-18 11:10:22

Oh Nonnie I am so sorry to hear about your DS. Please would you browse my replies to others, for I have explained it was not the family of the deceased about whom I am writing? I have explained it a lot so forgive me not repeating. I will reiterate that I was bereaved at 41 when my husband suddenly committed suicide. Even then I knew it would have been worse had it been one of our children. I am devastated to hear of what you have been through. You are so strong too! I have read many of your messages and enjoy what you say. I hope it won't offend if I say God Bless you. (It's my way.) I sincerely hope the pain you have to carry is receiving comfort which gives it meaning.

luzdoh Tue 13-Feb-18 11:20:02

Esspee You did not read my message properly. The person who emailed was supposed to be a friend of the family of the man who died. The person who emailed was NOT THE WIDOW BUT A PERSON WHO OFFERED TO LET SOME PEOPLE KNOW! She was not upset particularly about the death. I was dealing with my own mother's death and the emailer knew this. The emailer was in the habit of phoning me. Incidentally, you are in the minority. Also, Reader's Digest say a death is one of the things you should never inform by email or by text. I am most exasperated that people think I wanted the widow to tell me. Why do people on GN not read what is written?

humptydumpty Tue 13-Feb-18 12:01:28

I think Farmor's advice is very good - set up a different email address to use for companies you are ordering from, so that only personal emails go to your current email address.

MawBroon Tue 13-Feb-18 12:05:53

Hell will freeze over before I defer to the Readers Digest as my guide to etiquette.
No luzdoh if you get emails from friends it is incumbent on you to open and read them.
End of.

Oopsadaisy12 Tue 13-Feb-18 12:25:49

Luzdoh, I agree with MawBroons post, if you give out your email address then you should look at them regularly.
As this happened some years ago, I think you need to move on. It wasn’t an ideal way to be told of a friends death, but you were contacted. I expect that the widow and your friend were upset that the email was ignored.