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Bad Signal
Someone’s left you a voicemail message, but all you can make out are the last words: “I’m sorry. I should’ve told you months ago. Bye.” Who is it from, and what is this about?

Bad Signal

blurry hearts

Uncle Aaron passed away. Eva died of cancer. Uncle Jack is in the hospital. Elaine’s father died. I thought you knew. We did not want to upset you more.

People presume to know how much I can handle and how much I care. I have had losses that have hurt. Sadly, there have been quite a few in a fairly short amount of time. I prefer the truth and my opportunity to process and mourn in my own way at the right time. If I do not know, I cannot offer my condolences to a family member. Because of your misguided attempt at kindness, I did not give my condolences to his daughter. Now, she will always remember that we did nothing while she felt most alone and bereft.

This is not casual information. These people lived, made an impression on my heart, and are a part of my life’s history. Please don’t pretend that it never happened or act like it should not be that important to me. You may prefer to let time pass or act like it was no big deal. Now I will be mourning on my own and grieving a loss that others already shared.

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8 Comments

  1. I can understand and appreciate the intended/desired consideration on both sides of such situations. But personally, I am aligned with you. Share the news with me, timely, and then let me deal with it how I choose. I have experienced this with people who opt to keep the news of one’s passing to themselves figuring that ‘everyone’ would rather be notified of and involved in a later date ‘celebration of life.’ Such arrangements don’t suit me well.

  2. Eric, I am so glad that you understand! I cannot take back that time and I remember the ones who did not make an effort when we were grieving. I would not intentionally have done that to someone.

  3. Yeah. Like they are the self-appointed filter for your own good.
    We didn’t want to burden you, so we left you out of important family news. How does that help?

    • Wow. If you have not experienced this, your empathy is incredible. You nailed it!

  4. It isn’t nice for others to assume they are doing something in order to save you from further hurt. I have had moments that I believed that if one more thing would happen, I was going to lose it, and they kept happening. One thing I never lost was my ability to know what I could handle, and I didn’t need others to make the decision for me.

    • I agree with you. It is a blessing to know you were strong when you needed to be and stronger than anyone knew.

  5. It’s not like they were keeping the fact that the song you always cry to is playing on the radio right now. They were keeping really important family life events from you. They should always be shared.


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