Dealing with Other People's Concern Over Your Own Bereavement Content from the guide to life, the universe and everything

Dealing with Other People's Concern Over Your Own Bereavement

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A tragedy happens like the death of your mum, and you have to face people, whether it be at the funeral, at school, at work, or anywhere else, and they are likely to say something like 'I'm sorry about your mum's death'. But what do you say in reply to that? This entry will attempt to answer that question.

It is important to remember that this does not only apply to the death of a mother, but of any friend or loved one. Someone could quite easily say they're sorry to hear about the death of your dad, wife, husband, sister, brother, grandma, grandpa, aunt, uncle, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Julie, Jane, Holly, Sarah, Tiddles or Rover. 'Mum' is used as an example throughout the entry.

There are three main phrases that people usually use when your mum has died:

  • 'My condolences go out to you and your family on the news of your mum's death'
  • 'I'm sorry to hear about the death of your mum'
  • 'I'm sorry about your mum's death'

These three phrases will now be looked at separately to show how to reply to each one.

My Condolences Go Out to You and Your Family on the News of Your Mum's Death

This phrase is certainly the easiest to reply to. The person is giving you their sympathy upon hearing the news of your mum's death, so the best thing to do is thank them for their sympathy, and say 'thank you'.

I'm Sorry to Hear About the Death of Your Mum

This one is harder to reply to. They are sad to hear about the death of your mum, so what do you say, 'Well you shouldn't have been listening when I told you'? Obviously the person is sad about the news, however, the phrase is a very strange one that seems like they are sorry for hearing the news, not the news itself.

A normal reply to sorry is 'no problem', but that doesn't apply to this phrase, so the commonly used reply is 'thank you' or 'ok'. The replies may not make sense considering the phrase, however they are simple replies and are the best way out of the situation. You should not make the tragedy worse then it already is for you.

I'm Sorry About Your Mum's Death

This phrase is much more clearer in its meaning, and much harder to reply to. The phrase basically means 'I'm sad your mum is dead'. There are many replies that can be used for this, and the fact that you have quite a choice makes it much harder to reply. You can say things like 'I understand', 'So am I' or 'I know', depending on the situation and who has said the phrase.

Of course, you can still say something like 'thank you' or 'ok' if you want to avoid thinking about a response. The death of a loved one is always a hard time, and you should not make it harder, so you should avoid difficult situations by giving simple, standard responses.

For Everyone Else...

Think about what you say to the person. When they are sad and grieving, don't put them in possibly difficult situations, which may not seem much, but can make things worse for the person at that time. Just say 'My condolences go out to you and your family', and leave it at that. It is a simple phrase that conveys your sympathy to the person, and allows them to respond simply and easily.

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