Archive for March 31st, 2008


I’m one of those people that is horrendous with expressing condolences.  I feel unbearably awkward when I hear someone has suffered a loss.  I never know what’s appropriate, especially if it’s not a true “friend” but more of an aquaintance or a coworker.  What do I say?  What do I do?  Is it appropriate to touch them on the arm?  Give them a hug?  Just leave them alone?

I wish I was one of those amazing kind-hearted people that doesn’t hesitate to attend the wake or funeral of a coworker’s family member.   I avoid it at all costs, I must admit.  What if my nervousness causes me to giggle at the worst possible moment?  What if my clumsiness causes me to trip and fall and make a spectacle of myself?

With the loss of Latifah in February, though, I was able to do some thinking.  Some friends and aquaintances, fellow cat-lovers, expressed their condolences.  Some admitted that *they* didn’t know what to say.  It helped me realize – it’s not really *what* you say at all!

Okay, there are limits… comments like “oh well, you have too many cats anyway” aren’t very helpful.  However, just a simple “I’m sorry” means a lot.  Really, all you (or at least I) am craving is for someone to let me know that *they* know I’m hurting, and it’s okay to be hurting, and they’re sorry I’m hurting.  “I’m sorry” works great… even “Bummer” is reassuring to hear.  You don’t have to come up with some poetic articulate expression of your sympathy, those two simple words work wonders.  Though I do still envy those that *can* come up with something poetic and beautiful that the recipient will copy and treasure for years… I’m not that articulate, but I can muster up an “I’m sorry”.  If the person chooses to take the opportunity to talk a little about their loss or how they’re feeling, I think that’s all I’m offering – a friendly ear.

In fact, I was able to test it out today.  A coworker lost a family member recently, and when I ran into her – instead of my usual tactic of just not mentioning it, I just said I was sorry to hear of her loss.  She seemed to appreciate it.  I know I felt better for offering her *something*, however small.

Read Full Post »