by Shandi Pace
Anyone who has lost a loved one has probably experienced awkward conversations with friends who don’t know what to say about a passing. “They’re in a better place” or “Oh, you were close, this must be hard for you?” are quite common and also inappropriate when it comes to proper etiquette.
Before the founder of Grappling with Grief, Jimmy Van’s father passed away; he had conversations with his dad. His father would continually tell Jimmy that he wished he could live for another 20 years. If that was the case, the better place for him would be here, living his life.
Most people aren’t there for these intimate conversations, which makes small, overused comments like those come off as rude and inconsiderate. “What it comes down to is use your brain and think before you speak. If you do that, it’ll make things much easier for everybody,” Jimmy said.
Selfishness is another big thing when a person is sick. Closer to the end of his life, Jimmy’s father had to be put in a senior home so he could get round-the-clock care. His demeanour changed; he didn’t joke around, and he was never emotional. This attitude adjustment probably came from the fact that he was scared, depressed and most likely understood his own fate.
One day, his father told Jimmy that one of his closest friends hadn’t visited him. During the celebration of life, Jimmy sought out that friend and questioned why he never saw his father. The response he gave was that he “wanted to remember him the way that he was.”
As previously mentioned, this acknowledgment is extremely selfish because it shouldn’t matter what your needs are. The person who is sick and dying simply wants to see their friends and family before they pass. What you want personally shouldn’t matter. “Don’t put your own needs first. Put the needs of the person who is sick or who is old first,” Jimmy said.
“About Sheri” is a video series about one of the people who inspired the creation of Grappling with Grief, Jimmy Van’s sister Sheri Gill.
Check out the entire About Sheri playlist.
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