Battling Insensitive Comments at Inopportune Times

Today, I went to a funeral on my day off because what do funeral directors do other than go to funerals on their days off...

While having a conversation with the officiant about how we, as professionals in our fields, communicate with grieving people he shared something that he tells his parishioners. He tells them to get a blank notebook and whenever someone says something to them that sounds insensitive, crazy, ridiculous, or rude, they should write it down. Just keep writing it down (he suggests it's not helpful to write down the person who said the insensitive comment). Once you write it down you can forget it. I absolutely love that idea.

I would take it a step farther. After awhile, go back and look through that notebook and learn from it. Most of these unknowingly hurtful comments are coming from a place of love or intended compassion. Unfortunately, the purveyors of said comments most likely haven't experienced the trauma and pain you have. What a blessed thing for them! One could only wish to not ever have to go through the pain of losing a family member or close friend, the despair of not being able to have children and the constant questions why, the constant unnecessary explanations and excuses of divorce, and so on. Or if they have experienced them they just have no idea what to do or say so they feel that anything is better than nothing.

I should have started writing these comments down from my own experiences long ago but instead I think I'll start a notebook for all of us. We've all heard them:

"At least he didn't suffer."

"You'll meet someone else some day."

"Well now you have more time to focus on your other children."

"You're too busy for children anyway."

"If I can stay married to Bob, then you can stay married."

"That's just what marriage is. Get used to it."

What are comments that you remember?