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Bereavement is discovering who your true friends are!

(59 Posts)
dragonfly46 Wed 01-Aug-18 10:22:45

All my friends have been amazing over the past few weeks and rung me or sent card, emails etc when my dad died. I have one 'friend/neighbour' who I heard nothing from. When her sister died recently as soon as I heard I went round to see her, offer condolences and listen to her reminiscences.
I bumped into one of our mutual friends just after my dad died and she was extremely sympathetic and I assumed that she would let the other friend know.
Yesterday I bumped into the first friend and asked if she knew my father had died. Oh yes was her reply in an airy fairy manner. She is not a shy lady so it was not that she does not know how to behave. She was head mistress of a very prestigious school in London. She did not even say she was sorry.
I have to add that she is a staunch catholic and spends a lot of her time visiting old ladies she doesn't even know and donating copious amounts of money to the church.
It has confirmed my belief that so called Christians are the least christian among us!

shysal Wed 01-Aug-18 10:38:56

My condolences on the death of your father. I am pleased that you have some supportive friends at least.

When I was a shy early teenager I remember pretending not to see a recently bereaved neighbour in our village. Her husband met a particularly horrific end on the railway line and I just knew that I would cry and be lost for words. She rather pointedly called hello to me, at which I was mortified and stuttered an apology. Since then I have made a point of always approaching or visiting those who have lost loved ones. I have learnt that it is not a bad thing to cry with them and sometimes it is more helpful to listen rather than talk.

Nonnie Wed 01-Aug-18 10:40:30

Please don't blame Christians for one person! There is good and bad everywhere but people seem to expect so much more from someone who calls themselves a Christian. In this case I think you are right to be upset but wrong to blame it on her claiming to be a Christian. Many lonely people go to church for the social life rather than because they believe.

When DS died we had great support from all sorts of people, ones we were close to and some we didn't even know. We just had two people who upset us, my brother who didn't send a word of any kind and an old friend who assumed that because we didn't know the cause of DS's death it must have been suicide. Both are off our Christmas card lists now.

MawBroon Wed 01-Aug-18 10:45:08

I can go along with much of what you say, but to condemn all Christians on the basis of this unthinking woman is unfair - not a representative selection, even if perhaps true in your experience.
When my DH died last November a very (otherwise) nice woman commented when she first saw me in January and had commented on my absence from our art history classes,
“Oh dear, I expect that cast a bit of a shadow over Christmas then”
🤔🤔🤔 I was a bit at a loss as to how to react.
But in my experience, the true friends are the ones who are still concerned for you 6 months, 12 months or even afterwards.
Those first weeks are awful, but so is later when the world has continued to spin and everybody is getting on with their lives.
Except you.
Every sympathy on your loss flowers

dragonfly46 Wed 01-Aug-18 10:47:08

Nonnie how dreadful not to hear from your brother. I am an only child but cannot imagine how that must feel.
This lady is an avid Catholic and talks religion at every opportunity. She has managed to fall out with both her son and daughter so maybe it says more about her.

Anniebach Wed 01-Aug-18 10:50:49

Unfair, I am so sorry you have suffered a bereavement but please do not judge me because of one person in your life

Squiffy Wed 01-Aug-18 11:16:15

Many moons ago, a colleague of mine lost her husband and what amazed her was how 'old' friends abandoned her and it was the younger friends and neighbours who rallied round.

Nowt so queer as folk!

dragonfly46 Wed 01-Aug-18 11:22:27

I am sorry I chose my words wrongly as I regard myself as a Christian. In my experience over the years it is often the avid church goers who are the least 'christian' as some of them seem to think that going to church will secure them a place in heaven. I must stress not all but certainly the less tolerant of them.

ninathenana Wed 01-Aug-18 11:25:23

There are still many people who avoid the bereaved because "I don't know what to say" if only they realised that a hug or even a touch on the arm can say a lot.

grannyactivist Wed 01-Aug-18 11:32:01

I am a Christian and like everyone else I have my 'off' days when perhaps I don't live up to my own ideals, but I also recognise the sort of 'piety' that you describe dragonfly and it saddens me.
As Christians we are encouraged to; 'clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience'. I'm always sorry when people are hurt because we fail to demonstrate the essence of what we've been taught.

OldMeg Wed 01-Aug-18 11:35:02

I also recognise the sort of 'piety' that you describe dragonfly and it saddens me

Me too grannyactivist

Synonymous Wed 01-Aug-18 11:59:10

dragonfly46 you are right that going to church does not make you a Christian and neither is it a form of 'fire insurance' that will save you. Good works are not sufficient on their own to save you. It is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and His redeeming blood that saves and good works should naturally flow from that faith.
You will also know that we are told not to let our left hand know what our right hand is doing. See Matt 6:1-4 . It is a strange fact that some people only seem to live for the adulation and praise of others in this life and don't know that this life is just a foretaste of what is to come which is ultimately very sad for them.

Synonymous Wed 01-Aug-18 12:00:36

flowers for you dragonfly46 and big (((hugs)))

Synonymous Wed 01-Aug-18 12:02:28

Me too granyactivist

Grandma70s Wed 01-Aug-18 12:05:45

Saying “I’m so sorry” is enough for people you don’t know very well. Hugs can be a bit much. It depends on the person. I didn’t like it.

When my husband died young many years ago I had young children. What I needed more than anything was practical help. A couple of friends were very good at that. My neighbours, who I didn’t know very well, said nothing. Later on they said “We didn’t want to intrude”. They meant well. In fact everybody means well, even if it feels wrong to you, so it’s best to remember that and not criticise too much.

Being Christian or not makes no difference in my experience.

cornergran Wed 01-Aug-18 12:09:03

I'm sorry for your loss dragonfly and equally sorry that your neighbour and friend has been so insensitive, whatever the reason may be.

MeltingMacaron Wed 01-Aug-18 12:55:45

It is many years ago now that my DH died young. I know that people crossed the street, crossed me off invitation lists for social events where he and I had been regulars.

And the crass people who used inappropriate humour. I recall saying to someone: "I've recently lost my husband." I know it's a euphemism but the context left no doubt I meant that he'd died. "Well that was very careless of you." was his idiotic response.

Faith is irrelevant here. Some people are simply socially inept.

lemongrove Wed 01-Aug-18 13:00:02

I echo what Grandma70 and Cornergran have just said.

paddyann Wed 01-Aug-18 13:07:22

I well remember people crossing the road or diving into shops to avoid speaking to me when I lost my daughter .Its very difficult to see but understandable I think.Its not easy to find the right words in sad circumstances and some would rather say nothing than say the wrong thing.I'm sure they do sympathise but cant express how they feel.
Its got nothing to do with their faith..or lack of .Its just how some people are .

Anniebach Wed 01-Aug-18 13:14:37

I have accepted it is how some cope with another’s grief, as if it is contagious

Luckygirl Wed 01-Aug-18 14:41:22

Maw - I simply cannot believe that anyone would be so crass as to say that. Words fail me.

I suppose some catholics do not see the need for condolences as they sincerely believe that the person who has died is in a better place - I remember one born-again who would virtually congratulate someone when a loved one died. Extraordinary. Even if you hold a firm belief like this, the sadness of the bereaved should be respected.

allsortsofbags Wed 01-Aug-18 14:49:53

dragonfly46 Condolences flowers

Reading some of these post makes me feel sad for anyone who is bereaved and ignored or have had their sadness belittled.

flowers to anyone in that situation, I know it won't change anything and thank goodness you have each been strong enough to endure those times.

paddyann Wed 01-Aug-18 15:11:23

Luckygirl I was raised catholic and we firmly believed in offering condolences to the bereaved ,I've never known a catholic who believed otherwise .

Luckylegs9 Thu 02-Aug-18 06:55:08

Dragonfly. Sorry for your loss. I know a lot of lovely people some church going others that don't. I had a neighbour who crossed the road just after my husband's funeral as if I was invisible and it hurt so much, but that said so much about her. I would never want to be that person. We all experience someone we love dying and it's not easy accepting and that we are thankful for what we shared with that person. 💐

ChaosIncorporated Thu 02-Aug-18 07:34:59

I am sad for you, dragonfly. Loss seems to bring out the best, and the worst in people.
We don't handle death very well in this country, do we.
As with paddyann, I experienced people crossing the road to avoid me when DS died. Staff in my village shop, who had asked almost daily about his wellbeing, heard of his death on the day and never mentioned his name again.
Almost worse are those who flinch at the mention of the name, in the years ahead....because we might be upsetting ourselves, and heaven forbid that they may have to face an emotion. Deleting loved ones from memory is apparently the way forward!

I have no wise insights to offer, only the observation that it is often the most surprising people who reveal themselves as true friends in these situations.
And perhaps an echo of other posters..... that some of the most "christian" souls on this earth may never attend church.