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Unwanted comments

(63 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.

kircubbin2000 Wed 06-Oct-21 16:03:08

My friends husband died in the summer and she has been asked when she is moving out of the big house.

chocolatepudding Wed 06-Oct-21 19:15:58

Some people just don't think before they open their mouths! A slightly different story but my first baby girl died suddenly when she was only 7 months old. The number of people who said "Oh dear well you can always have another one" as if I was a small child who had lost a doll. It taaught me to always think before saying the wrong thing.

Urmstongran Wed 06-Oct-21 20:09:47

Oh MissA ?
Intelligence isn’t a bar to insensitivity then.

Urmstongran Wed 06-Oct-21 20:14:04

chocolatepudding ? for you too.

Rosina Wed 06-Oct-21 20:23:10

It's likely we have all said things that have made us feel we want the ground to swallow us up; the sad truth is that when bereavement happens, words are never enough - it has always seemed to me that whatever you say sounds trite. Currently a dear friend is living with a terrible situation as one of her loved ones is dying, and cannot last much longer. I just can't express how sad and sorry I feel, and have been reduced to squeezing her hand, giving her a hug if appropriate, and offering her tea - I'm afraid to speak of her suffering for fear of hurting her even more. Probably that insensitive person didn't mean to be hurtful - as several posters have said, it's the blurting out of 'anything', the first thought in their heads, as they don't really know what to say.

valdali Wed 06-Oct-21 20:24:03

I had a weird comment from a doctor too when my dad died suddenly. As they were quite remote & no air ambulance in those days, the GP got there first.Dad died before reaching hospital & the GP called back round a few hours later. When he saw I was there he said 'you should have been here, it was very dramatic'. To this day I don't know whether this was insensitive or intentionally nasty. Such a strange thing to say!

Grannmarie Wed 06-Oct-21 20:52:52

When I returned to High School after my younger brother's death from leukaemia, my Art teacher, a mature man, asked me if it (leukaemia) was " in the family ".
I was 13 years old and had not heard this phrase before, but it terrified me for years and I was afraid that my children would develop leukaemia too.
I did not tell my parents because I didn't want to hurt them, because from my teacher's attitude I thought it was something to be ashamed of.
Many years later, when I was in my 50s, I shared this with a Bereavement counsellor, and she cried.

dustyangel Wed 06-Oct-21 21:15:11

Oh MissAdventure, how absolutely stupid a supposedly intelligent man can be. I hope that you were able to change doctors at very least with a whole separate issue of reporting him.Which would require more energy than I imagine you could summon at the time. sad Your colleague was as inadequate as many are when meeting a bereaved person for the first time since their bereavement.

Maw’s dear Paw had the right idea with his expression of “engage brain before opening mouth.

I’m probably as inadequate as anyone else when speaking to someone for the first time after their bereavement but at least I try to put myself in their shoes.

Shelflife Thu 07-Oct-21 09:28:49

People open their mouths before engaging their brains . My Mum lived alone for many years after my father died , a hour and a half away from us. We visited regularly and helped her us many aspects of her life. Following a small stroke she came to live with us , it worked well , my Mum was an easy lady and my DH never ever complained! She was with us four years during which time I gave up a part time teaching post in adult education to care for her. Attended to her medical needs etc etc. Never regretted it! However age took its toll , dementia set in . Our youngest child was 10 years old and the situation became extremely difficult! Cutting a very long story short we placed Mum in care - something I never expected to do. A 'friend' questioned my reasons for my decision saying " how could you do such a dreadful thing to your mother- I would never have done that " It was hard enough to make that decision and I was emotionally and physically very tired at that time.Her words are still in my head many years later ! People should think long and hard about what they say. My Mum was an amazing woman who taught me about the things in life that really matter. We were lucky and had a sound relationship , I loved her dearly and think of her every day. A good mother and loving grandma.

Judy54 Thu 07-Oct-21 13:34:58

Yes people can be extremely insensitive. If they had experienced Shelflife what it was like to care for a loved one 24/7, they would have some understanding that a time comes when the care they need has to be provided Professionally because as a Carer you have gone as far as you can. Nobody has a right to question your reasons and your Friend may well find out for herself one day what it is like to be physically/emotionally drained and permanently tired. Not only was your Mum an amazing Woman you were an amazing Daughter too.

Bluebellwould Thu 07-Oct-21 13:46:27

When my husband died in a hospice, one of the nurses said ‘it’s really shit isn’t it’. I h

Bluebellwould Thu 07-Oct-21 13:47:40

Blooming laptop!
I think she was completely correct and summed up bereavement perfectly.

TillyWhiz Thu 07-Oct-21 16:42:54

Dear me, such dreadful remarks made to you all, it has put the one I received in context. Shelflife, that was a particularly awful one. I just wonder if they'd say it to a man?!

Bridgeit Thu 07-Oct-21 17:17:58

Sadly in life some folks make very clumsy comments & are usually totally unaware ( or perhaps not bothered ) as to how they come across., & this is usually regardless of wether a person is alone or not . Sending you supportive thoughts.

Nannarose Thu 07-Oct-21 17:22:58

There are always people who think they can manage your life better than you. usually most of us shrug it off, even laugh. But when you are bereaved, a new parent, or dealing with any sensitive issue, it can feel, as Bluebell's nurse said 'completely "$£!7". I don't think such comments are limited to those living alone, but you do notice them more!

I have sometimes wondered how they would respond if you started telling them how to conduct their lives! Would they welcome your 'advice' or would they be completely shocked? I have sometimes tried to think of a response, but have never managed to utter one when faced with these know-it-alls.

TillyWhiz, put her back in the box where she belongs!

Kalu Thu 07-Oct-21 18:12:36

When my mother was dying in hospital, a ward sister told me my life would never be the same….no shit Sherlock!
I was well aware what life would be like without my mother as she no longer knew who I was and was trying to hold it together as I sat at her bedside.
I would rather this stranger hadn’t felt the need to further upset me with her unwelcome need to say something.

Lyng17 Thu 07-Oct-21 18:28:18

I don't think she meant any harm. Better than people avoiding or not speaking to you. Some find things offensive that others wouldn't bother about.

MissAdventure Thu 07-Oct-21 18:47:26

I'd opt for not being spoken to, frankly.
It's not a matter of just being offended; these comments can feel like a knife in your heart, when you're already at your lowest ebb and not expecting it.

Audi10 Thu 07-Oct-21 19:37:13

Agree with above comment

hollysteers Thu 07-Oct-21 22:37:53

A colleague in theatricals kept making passes at me two years after my husband died after dropping me off at home etc.
I said I wasn’t over losing my husband and he laughed it off as unlikely. I wouldn’t fancy him in a million years but was taken aback by his cheek and insensitivity.
Regarding people saying nothing, I remember an older woman I worked with when I was in my late teens losing her ten year old disabled daughter. I knew the enormity of the fact, but said nothing. This same woman was the one of the first on the phone after my husband died all these years later (we worked together off and on throughout) and I was able to say how well she understood a bereavement finally.

Kalu Fri 08-Oct-21 00:04:48

My thinking too MissAdventure

GillT57 Fri 08-Oct-21 00:18:13

At my Father's funeral, a friend of my parents gave me a stiff talking to about how I must now look after my Mother with no acknowledgement at all that I had just lost my Father. Ironically said friends dropped my Mother and no longer invited her to share the annual week in Wales which they had done for years as two couples

DiscoDancer1975 Fri 08-Oct-21 09:07:59


Some people just don't think before they open their mouths! A slightly different story but my first baby girl died suddenly when she was only 7 months old. The number of people who said "Oh dear well you can always have another one" as if I was a small child who had lost a doll. It taaught me to always think before saying the wrong thing.

So sad to hear this. It’s so difficult isn’t it? I know what they would have meant, but it was so badly put. I’m sure there’s not a day goes past when you don’t think of your little one. ?

TillyWhiz Fri 08-Oct-21 10:06:52

MissAdventure Yes, that is it. Its not a case of just thinking how nosy and prying. It's the fact that my home is my safe space where we brought our family up and where the memories are. In all the lockdowns I have been able to cope on my own because I'm in my familiar home with my lovely neighbours helping me. You can't stand in a shop and explain all that to a person who still has a husband and family round her.

Rosina Fri 08-Oct-21 12:07:39

My FiL was having a struggle trying to care for Mil who was in the later stages of dementia. Nobody could have coped in a domestic setting - she was violent, doubly incontinent and hardly slept. She was moved to an NHS facility that was excellent, but a family member told him he should have kept her at home - he was eighty. I couldn't resist suggesting that this person took her home for a weekend here and there if they felt so strongly - needless to say it didn't happen.