Words! How we can listen but not hear. Look and not see when in grief. Words often become meaningless and platitudes and clichés could drive us nuts. But so often the right word in the right place at the right time can be so helpful too. Knowing we are not alone is so important, but to feel the love and empathy come through is a bonus.
Words are symbols. The word love is symbolic of how we feel. Words can hurt too. We all know that on here. Even words spoken in good faith can hurt. I often find that hearing an expression from someone that my wife used to use gets me going.
I still can’t watch some programmes on TV because they bring back hurtful memories. It’s strange how folk seem to think they have to say something when silence would be more appropriate. Even now some old friends avert their eyes when they talk to me. I know it’s partly embarrassment because words don’t come easily, unless you are a politician!!!
It’s so difficult, but we should choose words carefully. We don’t want to go around walking on eggshells, but a little thought before we write or speak would not go amiss. Blessings

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Really nice read that. Can relate.
Words mean nothing anymore. Life of unfair.
But talking about that loved one brings comfort.

I remember when I went back to work just one month after my husband had passed, I walked behind the reception desk and one of my colleagues just touched my shoulder, gave it a little squeeze but said absolutely nothing. That silent touch was so comforting without uttering a single word…
As you say Jonathan, sometimes silence is all that’s needed. Xx

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That simple touch on the shoulder spoke volumes Kate. That was such a sensitive gesture. She sounds like a kind and lovely person. Jonathan is right, when he speaks of the power words hold, especially in our vulnerable state of grief. Words can wound, or they can heal. I have a boss who has absolutely no tact. Right after my sister died and I was still out on bereavement leave, she persisted in texting me about work related matters. I could barely think or speak and was in shock over my loss, and she acted like it was “business as usual.” She also asked me “so do you have any family left now?” and when I was telling a colleague how brave and positive my little sister was, in the way she dealt with her cancer, my boss chimed in “Yeah, but she died anyway.”
I have read similar stories on this site, and the cruelty of people never ceases to astound me. Silence is often the better alternative, but the uncomfortable, awkward silence can be hurtful too. People need to ask themselves before they speak, “will this help, or will it hurt?” But then some people have a habit of “kicking us when we are down.” Those are the ones we need to protect ourselves against, we are hurting enough.

I wanted to add to my post. Some of the kindest, most loving and supportive words I’ve heard were (are) from people on this site, and I want to say how grateful I am to all of you. That is what keeps bringing me back.

Hi. Sister2. Yes! Tactless, hurtful and unnecessary remarks are what I meant. But we come back to the old problem. How can they know if they have not been there. But so often a touch on the shoulder, a holding of a hand even a smile can help so much more than words. A nurse in the hospital my wife was in was so understanding and helpful. Some others were not so. I often wonder why they entered nursing. It’s a vocation not a job. But I have said, empathy is in short supply. Is it us being touchy? Maybe, because we are very vulnerable to suggestion or criticism. Remarks made before our bereavement may have washed off us. Now they seem so important. Our emotions and feelings change during this awful time, and we have to readjust to what didn’t cause pain before but now does. Our outlook on the world changes too. I don’t give a toss who becomes Prime Minister or not. So what!! I have more important things to occupy my mind, like surviving. What to some are important, and maybe were to me, have become unimportant.
Bravery in the face of overwhelming odds has to be praised not criticised. We should try, as best we can, to be discerning as to who we make friends with. And even our present ‘friends’. We don’t want to be hurt any more. Enough is enough.
Take care. And I fully endorse what you said about this site.

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