Gransnet forums

Bereavement

Unwanted comments

(62 Posts)
TillyWhiz Wed 06-Oct-21 08:14:37

My husband died 2 1/2 years after a long illness. I went in the village shop recently and a woman in there, whom we were acquainted with as is the way in villages, expressed her surprise that I was still living in our house. She's never been to my house. I said yes, it's my home and I have fantastic neighbours. But she's not the first - what makes people think they are entitled to make comment on your life because you are alone? It rankled.

Kim19 Wed 06-Oct-21 08:29:50

Please try not to let it rankle. It's just the thoughtless intrusive nature of some people. Rise above these idiots and don't let them impair your quality of life. So happy you have fantastic neighbours. Long may that continue. Good luck.

Septimia Wed 06-Oct-21 08:43:24

Perhaps she was thinking about what she would do in the circumstances. Of course, not everyone is the same, so opinions will differ.

When it comes to bereavement then I think you have to do what feels right for you, not what other people say you should do.

Enjoy your home and your lovely neighbours.

Nell8 Wed 06-Oct-21 08:56:15

How irritating. She sounds like a classic village nosey parker with nothing better to do than pry into others' affairs. She'll move on to someone else tomorrow.
Why not invent juicy nicknames for her and the others to cut them down to size in your mind?
It's good to hear you have decent people living around you to balance things out. Best wishes thanks

DiscoDancer1975 Wed 06-Oct-21 08:56:32

Sometimes people just search for something to say, when nothing would have been preferable. Don’t let it bother you. Treat what she said as insignificant as she is.

MayBeMaw Wed 06-Oct-21 09:02:20

Sometimes people say the first thing that comes into their head precisely because they don’t know what to say!
It’s not really all that unreasonable really when you come to think of it, many of us who have been widowed move or plan to move to be nearer grown up children, or because the house is too big once we’re on our own - or for a variety of reasons. Don’t let it rankle, it was thoughtless but no more occasioned by you being on your own than she might have said, for instance to somebody who had recently retired.
Sometimes you have to laugh (or you’d cry) though. Returning to my Art History course in January 2018 after Paw had died the previous November, a very friendly lady commented that she hadn’t seen me for a while. When I told et why she said chirpily “ Oh, what a shame. That must have cast a bit of a shadow over Christmas” !
It did ever so slightly.

Urmstongran Wed 06-Oct-21 09:06:44

Oh Maw that really takes the biscuit. How thoughtless! Crass really ... but it’s not unusual, sadly. Some people are just not very aware.

Early Wed 06-Oct-21 09:09:28

It’s common practice for people to suggest even tell widows how we should and shouldn’t behave and live our lives post-bereavement. I would have replied: And why would you think that?

I suspect some of is down to fishing to see how we’ve been left financially. I was asked how I was going to enjoy spending my widow’s pension as if I’d won the lottery. I pointed out that the widow’s pension had been abolished in 2001.

Smileless2012 Wed 06-Oct-21 09:21:43

I'm sorry for your loss TillyWhizflowers.

I think DiscoDancer is right in that some people look for something to day, especially when their with someone recently bereaved. Also as Septimia has posted, perhaps she was thinking about what she'd do if she were in your position.

I'm sorry if you were upset by it.

That's awful Mawshock clearly someone who should engage their brain before opening their mouth.

Aveline Wed 06-Oct-21 10:00:50

I was once stunned when a bossy type asked if my sister was 'grieving properly' after her husband was killed in a climbing accident.

Dinahmo Wed 06-Oct-21 10:06:52

Aveline

I was once stunned when a bossy type asked if my sister was 'grieving properly' after her husband was killed in a climbing accident.

The woman could have worded her thoughts badly. We Brits are known for out stiff upper lip!

Hetty58 Wed 06-Oct-21 10:11:39

TillyWhiz, the silly comments only irritate if you actually care about their opinions - and why should you?

Other people, unthinkingly, just relate their own ideas (about what they'd expect to do) to you. They blurt things out - or cross the road to avoid you - as they struggle with thoughts of death and grieving.

They don't know what to say - so say something really stupid.
Try to laugh it off or just ignore it. I used the phrase 'Why would you say that?' often.

Aveline Wed 06-Oct-21 10:11:41

But what on earth is 'proper grieving'?!

Yammy Wed 06-Oct-21 10:48:47

Do what you want and ignore her as suggested have a name for her in your head that is funny.
My mother knew my father was ill for a long time and moved into a bungalow which was fine for him
She lived for another 10+ years, only to be hounded to start with by a near neighbour who wanted to buy it. and complained about the garden etc.
We went to a solicitor and he suggested the house was signed over to family and they dealt with the garden, finances etc.
When the neighbour complained she told them it was not her house.
She sounds like one of those people who has nothing to do in her life but aggravate people, sad really.
Get on with your life enjoy it and follow your own plans you'll know if and when you want to move until then enjoy yourself.flowers

Zoejory Wed 06-Oct-21 10:53:31

People can be rude without meaning to be

When my much loved mother ended up in a Nursing Home, her neighbour, (who had been neither use nor ornament whilst caring for Mum at home) chimed up that she was surprised my sister hadn't taken her in.

It's bad enough living with the guilt but my mother had to be removed from her property for her own safety. She set fire to the house twice, Fell in the garden pond twice, ( we had that filled) and ended up becoming a dirty prisoner if you get my drift.

She was violent. She threw anything and everything.

It was a dreadful time and when this neighbour spouted up with her surprise I could have clocked her. Of course I remained very polite but inside I was seething.

Aveline Wed 06-Oct-21 13:02:11

Ooh Zoejory that sounds like an awful situation for you to manage.

Billybob4491 Wed 06-Oct-21 13:10:28

Take heart tillywhiz - when my husband died last year my neighbour said to me "oh well at least it will halve your shopping bill in the future" I was stunned. Just what I didnt want to hear,

MissAdventure Wed 06-Oct-21 13:15:43

I had my elderly doctor tell me that he knew how I felt when my daughter died at 35, because he had lost his mother recently.
He went on to tell me I was selfish to want my girl back, because why would I want her to come back and be suffering.

Whiff Wed 06-Oct-21 13:18:07

TillyWhiz I am sorry you had to put up with that thoughtless comment. But unfortunately in my experience people think they can say what they like after you are widowed. Also you find out who your real friends and family are. As some disappeared straight after my husband's funeral.

I speak from bitter experience. My husband died in 2004 aged 47. I found where I used to live some people who we had known for years felt as if they had the right to comment on my life without the love of my life or ignore me.

I stayed where we lived as I had both parents and mother in law still alive. And only moved house 2 years ago to live closer to my children after they all died.

This may seem strange but I got my identity back . I didn't realise I had lost me . People here know me not wife then widow or kids mom etc.

It was so lovely not having to put up with either people ignoring me after my husband died or those that expected my grief to end after 6 months.

Unfortunately my mother in-law was one of those people. Who told people she had no son or grandchildren. But because my husband asked me to look after her I did.

For me grief never ends . I miss my husband more each day you just learn to cope better.

I used to feel as if I had widow stamped on my forehead. Even though I have always worn my wedding ring.

In the early years I put up with the comments but one day I decided enough was enough. I made comments back. You should have seen the look on people's faces. I never had to bother with them again.

I have written a lot on the pain of lose thread along with others there. Some of what we have said may help you. 💐

MissAdventure Wed 06-Oct-21 13:18:35

I also had a work colleague ask me if I wanted to go shopping a few days after, as she thought it would "cheer me up".

JaneJudge Wed 06-Oct-21 13:21:46

Zoejory, I think people are just idealistic and really don't understand how difficult it is to care for someone at home who has complex needs with no respite. They generally have never done it themselves!

I'm sorry others have had awful comments too flowers

JaneJudge Wed 06-Oct-21 13:21:46

Zoejory, I think people are just idealistic and really don't understand how difficult it is to care for someone at home who has complex needs with no respite. They generally have never done it themselves!

I'm sorry others have had awful comments too flowers

Doodledog Wed 06-Oct-21 14:28:12

I understand the frustration at comments that imply that people are thinking about how others should live their lives. Being surprised that someone hasn't moved house, or taken in an aged parent, or had a second baby, or remarried, or whatever suggests that more thought than is necessary has gone into someone else's business. It's the same with 'I always thought that' Fred was gay, or Sally didn't want children, or they must have won the lottery etc. Why would someone 'always think' about the lives of their neighbours unless they were very bored?

Maybe a raised eyebrow, and an 'So, is there anything going on in your life, then?' comment would get the point across?

Skydancer Wed 06-Oct-21 14:32:05

I find it difficult to know what to say to someone I don't know well who has been bereaved. It has happened to a neighbour of mine recently. I hardly know her. I have spoken to her a few times when she's in her garden. I've suggested she can pop over any time for coffee. I find her distant but have no idea if she wants to be alone or would prefer some company. Maybe she thinks she might be intruding on my life and I don't want to appear to intrude on hers. It's difficult to get it right.

grandtanteJE65 Wed 06-Oct-21 14:43:46

Oh dear, oh dear.

We do really need to talk about death and bereavement and tell people exactly what NOT to say, as well as what TO SAY, don't we?

I understand only too well why you would be hurt by such stupid, thoughtless remarks.

Maw, I believe you once quoted Paw as saying, "Engage brain, before opening mouth!"

Obviously much needed and very good advice, which the Job's comforters quoted here sorely need.