We lost one of our furry children this week. Sasha was a birthday present for Mr. Magick Man when she was just a puppy, 11+ years ago. She was his baby girl.
I would go into a memorial for Sasha, but really, that’s not what this post is about. This is a post of observation and learning.
Sasha passed away yesterday morning. I made a memorial post on my Facebook account rather than making a public blog post. People on my friends list knew her and I thought this was more appropriate. What I’ve observed is the general response to a person’s grief (whether the person who passed is a family member of the 2-legged or 4-legged variety). What horrifies me is that I may have been guilty (at one time or another) of some of the things that have offended me over the past 24 hours, myself. This inspired me to write, tonight, on how we might respond to a grieving friend when we see a post about his or her loss:
- Expressing shock and sympathy
- “OMG, I’m so sorry!! :: hugs ::
- Emotional support
- If you are in this person’s close circle of friends
- CALL THE PERSON
- He or she may have posted a memorial post, but a phone call is so much more personal. If someone is grieving, they need that personal contact, not a “comment”, or a text. They need your time if you’re in their closer circle of friends.
What not to do:
- DO NOT SHARE THE PERSON’S POST
- Your friend just posted a memorial post. You don’t know if this post is limited to a certain group of friends or if it is just on this person’s friends list. Most likely, it is not a public post. Why on earth would you share this post? Yes, I have seen this done to other grieving individuals.
- Do not tell the person about your past experience with your dead cat/dog/brother/aunt/etc… This is not about you. It is possible to express sympathy (even express empathy) without relaying your story. The person grieving does not want to hear your story. If they weren’t grieving, they would care, but right now they just can’t.
- This is the one that eats at me. This is the one I’m horrified I may have done in the past. If I’ve ever done this to anyone I am so sorry. In the past 24 hours people have done this to me and I know just how much you probably wanted to beat me over the head or tell me to just STFU.
Part of me reads what I just typed and says, “Hon, don’t post this. It’s just the grief and you’ll regret this post in a few days.” But really, that’s what this post is about – responding to a grieving friend. My reactions to the responses I received may be on the far end of the scale. One could say I’m overreacting and emotional right now; but that’s the point. When one is communicating with a grieving friend in that frame of mind, one needs to handle communication appropriately. The time for sharing stories is after the grieving is over. If you really feel the need to share any posts, you should at least ask the person first and explain why; and if the person declines then respect that decision.
I’m off my soapbox for the night. Peace and love. I’m going to go love my other dog and my kitties.