Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Etiquette Hell Classics => Topic started by: Asharah on September 16, 2007, 07:35:16 PM

Title: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: Asharah on September 16, 2007, 07:35:16 PM
My mother works as a temp secretary at local schools, so she fills in when someone is sick, on holiday, etc. Sometimes she's the only secretary if it's a small elementary school, sometimes she works with others when it's a larger school or a high school.

Anyway, my mother was working at one place for two weeks while one of the secretaries was on holiday. The other lady she worked with had a husband who had severe kidney problems. He was on dialysis and at the top of the transplant list. He had been given maybe months to live.

One day, this secretary gets a call: it's her husband's doctor. He says, "Hello, Mrs. Smith. Your husband just died. What do you want me to do with his body?" Just like that! No, "I'm so sorry, but I have some bad news", just "your husband just died"! He never offered any condolences, and got mad when the poor woman started sobbing so hard that she was almost choking.

Talk about a lack of bedside manner! Some people should never even consider becoming doctors, not if they have no consideration for other people's feelings!

Funerals0223-07

Do not circumvent the language filter.
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: T'Mar of Vulcan on September 17, 2007, 12:07:00 AM
The trauma counsellor at the hospital did that to me and my brother. He sits us down and the first thing out of his mouth is, "How old was your mother?" I said, indignantly, "Excuse me, WAS?" He backpedalled quickly, though, and explained how they were trying to resuscitate her but it didn't look good. Still, using a past tense auxiliary verb! I mean really!
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: mechtilde on September 17, 2007, 06:32:33 AM
When my MIL died, my SIL ran over the street to get help from one of the Drs at the surgery over the street. She thought that her mother was unconscious. Dr arrived and said "What's the matter? Haven't you ever seen a dead one before?"

Charming.
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: Alida on September 17, 2007, 07:04:50 AM
Wow - what timing.  I was actually thinking about this earlier today.

My cousin called to tell me that another cousin of ours had passed away (drug overdose, very young - really really hard for the family).

Ever since, I have felt guilty about calling my mother at work and breaking the news to her with, "Mom... R. just called.  They found J's body..."

Admittedly, I was in shock myself at the time, but I'll never forget the sound from the other end of the phone line.  One of her coworkers had to drive her home.

I don't know that there's any good way to tell someone, but there's certainly a lot of bad ones.
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: Calbrini on September 17, 2007, 08:07:48 AM
Once my mothercame home andmy brother who was 17 at the time was in the garden fixing his bike. He asked "Did Marys husband have a bad heart?" (Mary being my Mothers best friend) and when my puzzled mother said he had, brother replied "Oh, cos someone phoned and said he died this morning"
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: Just Lori on September 17, 2007, 08:26:09 AM
I don't care if doctors deal with dying patients seven days a week.  Most families only have to get this dreaded phone call a few times in their lives, and deserve to be treated with compassion.  If a doctor or health care professional can't do that, then he or she needs to step aside and give the task to someone who can.
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: Shortcake on September 17, 2007, 12:14:34 PM
I don't care if doctors deal with dying patients seven days a week.  Most families only have to get this dreaded phone call a few times in their lives, and deserve to be treated with compassion.  If a doctor or health care professional can't do that, then he or she needs to step aside and give the task to someone who can.

Well said! ITA!
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: aeeden on September 17, 2007, 01:18:53 PM
I had only been living with my roommate for a few weeks when her dad called...
"is S home?" 
I say "nope, she's at work, she'll be home 'bout 9"
he says "oh you must be aeeden!, I have heard a lot about you, how nice...so S won't be home untill 9, huh? well would you give her a message then."
me-"Sure"
him "ok, just tell her, her sister died today. thanks."
me- "huh? oh..uhh ok"  ??? i had no idea what to do, say or how to react. I have a sister, I would be beyond devastated if this were me. I didn't know S's work number so i called one of her friends, she called S at work and told her. turns out it was a step-sister that S had only met once before and didn't really know, she was upset for her step-mom of course, and went home to her dad's house, but still.  so please people, don't leave messages like this with the roommate or on the answering machine
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: Mom2Brett on September 17, 2007, 01:48:12 PM
I rarely comment but I felt compelled to on this post. 

When my son died I was holding him in my arms, when the moniters read zero to everything the doctor on duty came in, listened to his heart, said "Finally, he's gone"  I almost died right there.  I started yelling and crying "how dare you say finally, Sweet monkey fritters! do you mean?"  I was so upset I almost needed a shot to calm down. 

That's heartless :'(
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: Alida on September 17, 2007, 02:43:39 PM
I rarely comment but I felt compelled to on this post. 

When my son died I was holding him in my arms, when the moniters read zero to everything the doctor on duty came in, listened to his heart, said "Finally, he's gone"  I almost died right there.  I started yelling and crying "how dare you say finally, Sweet monkey fritters! do you mean?"  I was so upset I almost needed a shot to calm down. 

That's heartless :'(

Oh, Mom2Brett, that's horrible.  HUGS
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: Just Lori on September 17, 2007, 04:22:23 PM
I had only been living with my roommate for a few weeks when her dad called...
"is S home?" 
I say "nope, she's at work, she'll be home 'bout 9"
he says "oh you must be aeeden!, I have heard a lot about you, how nice...so S won't be home untill 9, huh? well would you give her a message then."
me-"Sure"
him "ok, just tell her, her sister died today. thanks."
me- "huh? oh..uhh ok"  ??? i had no idea what to do, say or how to react. I have a sister, I would be beyond devastated if this were me. I didn't know S's work number so i called one of her friends, she called S at work and told her. turns out it was a step-sister that S had only met once before and didn't really know, she was upset for her step-mom of course, and went home to her dad's house, but still.  so please people, don't leave messages like this with the roommate or on the answering machine

A similar thing happened to me.  My boss' mother called and I answered boss' phone.  Boss was in a meeting, so I asked if I could take a message.  Her mother said, "Yes, tell her that her grandfather died and her dad will be going to the funeral."  I was literally starting to write "Your grandf - " before I digested what she said, and by then she had hung up.

When my boss came from her meeting, I asked if we could go somewhere private.  We went into a conference room and I tried to gently break the news to her.  She assured me that she didn't know her grandfather because he had stayed in the old country when her father came to the US.  Besides, she knew he had been sick.  Still, I think she told her mother that such a message should be conveyed personally.  Her mom had a bit of a reputation for interesting phone calls to her daughter at work.  I'd say it was a well-deserved reputation.
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: kherbert05 on September 17, 2007, 10:20:55 PM
Mom was supposed to bring Daddy home from the hospital. I left work early, so I could meet them there. No-one came. I went to the hospital, they are stripping Dad's room. I'm informed Daddy died - but he didn't he was in the ICU. He passed a few days later.

When we knew he was going to die. We called Mom's brother at home in Canada and told him over the phone. He went to Nanna's house (Mom's Mom) and broke the news Nanna loved Daddy very much, and my oldest Aunt was dying of liver failure.
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: Paper Roses on September 17, 2007, 10:40:54 PM
My aunt had been suffering with congestive heart failure for quite a while, and one night it got pretty bad, so my uncle had her taken to the hospital.  He went to be with her, and soon they had her stabilized.  They advised my uncle to go home and get some rest (since it was now the middle of the night) and come back and see her in the morning.

The next morning, he called the hospital to see how she was doing.  The person who answered the phone asked him (after he identified himself and told her who he was calling about), "Who?!?!?"  He gave her my aunt's name, and the person said, "Oh.  She's in the morgue!"
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: Emmy on September 18, 2007, 11:28:33 AM
I don't care if doctors deal with dying patients seven days a week.  Most families only have to get this dreaded phone call a few times in their lives, and deserve to be treated with compassion.  If a doctor or health care professional can't do that, then he or she needs to step aside and give the task to someone who can.

I agree.  Although doctors may make the phone call about somebody dying many times in their career, the person who died is somebody's loved ones and every phone call should be treated with compassion and sensitivity.  I hope the woman informed the hospital about the doctor's insensitive attitude and he was not longer allowed to deal with this situation.
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: Ondine on September 18, 2007, 06:57:54 PM
I just found out that my great uncle died last week - my aunt told me online on the day of the funeral.  ::) Thankfully, I didn't know him, so I didn't feel too bad. Such a crappy way to hear about it though.
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: MeanMom on September 18, 2007, 08:09:15 PM
First year of college home for Christmas break.  My brother is in a motorcycle accident with a friend.  My mother gets the call from the hospital and has her typical reaction to an emergency, screaming hysterics.  I drive to the hospital to pick up my brother with my then boyfriend.  I go to the ER and ask about the boys in the motorcycle accident, the perky nurse on duty (didn't look to be much older than I was at the time) responds with you mean the DOA?  Now I'm doing the traditional family hysterics.   I've about gotten my second wind when around the corner strolls my younger brother, with a cast and several stitches across his eyebrow.  I look at the nurse and ask her if he looks DOA? 

Sometimes you have to wonder what they're thinking. 

MeanMom
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: snowflake on September 19, 2007, 02:32:26 PM
People are bad with death, period.

In High School, one of my old friends started dating a guy who ran with a slightly shady crowd.  You need to realize that I was in the LA area at the time.  So even in the bland, WASPy areas, there was a fascination with the "wangster" type of style.  Friend's boyfriend knew someone who knew someone who was having a wild party and they didn't realize that it was at the house of a gang member.  They only knew that the host was, "Like, really popular."  The rival gang found out about the party and had a drive-by shooting.

This is how we found out.  Another friend's father was a policeman.  He saw us after getting off of work and said, "Did you know that XXXX was shot?"

She had sort of faded out of our group when she started seeing her boyfriend.  We knew he wasn't much good but we had been hoping she'd wise up.  We were all immediately horrified.  "What happened?  How is she?"

"She died.  But hey - it was gang related!"

Yeah!  It was gang related.  Therefore we were supposed to say, "Whatever.  That's what you get for dating an idiot who was trying to be cool. Good riddance."

He couldn't figure out why we were crying when IT WAS GANG RELATED.  What?  She wasn't supplying drugs to us, was she?
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: Asharah on September 19, 2007, 03:04:41 PM
People are bad with death, period.

In High School, one of my old friends started dating a guy who ran with a slightly shady crowd.  You need to realize that I was in the LA area at the time.  So even in the bland, WASPy areas, there was a fascination with the "wangster" type of style.  Friend's boyfriend knew someone who knew someone who was having a wild party and they didn't realize that it was at the house of a gang member.  They only knew that the host was, "Like, really popular."  The rival gang found out about the party and had a drive-by shooting.

This is how we found out.  Another friend's father was a policeman.  He saw us after getting off of work and said, "Did you know that XXXX was shot?"

She had sort of faded out of our group when she started seeing her boyfriend.  We knew he wasn't much good but we had been hoping she'd wise up.  We were all immediately horrified.  "What happened?  How is she?"

"She died.  But hey - it was gang related!"

Yeah!  It was gang related.  Therefore we were supposed to say, "Whatever.  That's what you get for dating an idiot who was trying to be cool. Good riddance."

He couldn't figure out why we were crying when IT WAS GANG RELATED.  What?  She wasn't supplying drugs to us, was she?
IDIOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: Paper Roses on September 19, 2007, 03:14:21 PM
I will never understand how people can think certain deaths are justifiable.

A woman in my office died a few years ago from a heart attack.  She was an older woman, one of the sweetest, kindest people you could ever hope to meet.  She had had a heart attack before, and they had done an angioplasty (I think that's what it was) and she was working hard at doing everything they told her to (diet, moderate exercise) to prevent another one.  Well, about a year and a half later, she had just come home from a vacation and had another attack, and this time she didn't make it. 

Another girl and I were at work one day when our supervisor came over and said, "Did you guys hear that XXXXXX died?"  Of course, we were in shock, and asked what happened.  Supervisor said, "She had a heart attack.  But, she had had one before."  As if that somehow made it ok.  Tell that to her two sons, you insensitive twit.
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: Paper Roses on September 20, 2007, 04:31:44 PM
My husband used to work at a place that was run by a bunch of complete jerks - and believe me, I'm being nice. 

One morning, he was working on something when his supervisor walked up to him and asked "Are you familiar with the job XXXX is working on?" to which my husband said he was.  Supervisor said, "Oh, good.  'Cause he's dead, and you need to finish it."

XXXX was a close friend of my husband's.  Stupidvisor knew that - but the extent of his concern was making sure the job got done.  Turned out the poor guy had pneumonia and died in his sleep the night before.  Left a wife and a couple of very young kids.
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: amaiaisabella on September 20, 2007, 10:00:57 PM
My grandmother was having trouble with her pacemaker, and my dad was advised to fly overseas to be with her. He made a flight for a few weeks later, since it wasn't life-threatening, just concerning.

The next morning, he got a call from his sister over there. My grandmother died. Turned out, wasn't the pacemaker. She had advanced stage cancer! Somehow the doctors missed that one. My dad got a flight an hour from then and flew over, but man, the guilt he felt!  :'(

Not bad news, but doctors, do you THINK you might actually pay attention to a patient long enough to see, hey, maybe there might be something ELSE wrong with her, and why she was still having trouble even when the pacemaker was working fine!!!!  >:(
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: Clara Bow on September 21, 2007, 12:42:22 PM
I rarely comment but I felt compelled to on this post. 

When my son died I was holding him in my arms, when the moniters read zero to everything the doctor on duty came in, listened to his heart, said "Finally, he's gone"  I almost died right there.  I started yelling and crying "how dare you say finally, Sweet monkey fritters! do you mean?"  I was so upset I almost needed a shot to calm down. 

That's heartless :'(



This is why I'm becoming a nurse. I would have been helping out with your son, disconnecting the tubes and trying to hold your hand. The doc would have said that. I'd have smiled at you, smoothed your hair, and slapped the living p*ss out of him.
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: feistyboysmommy on September 21, 2007, 02:12:40 PM
I am so sorry for those of you who have had to hear the worst news possible - that your loved one is dead - in such an insensitive way :(

In 2000-2001 we lost 8 family members in the course of a year, including my FIL, my grandfather, my DH's grandfather, my godfather, and a cousin. Six years later I still can't help feeling dread every time the phone rings. There's a part of me that automatically assumes that the person on the other line is calling to tell me someone has died. :(
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: McCutieBelle on September 22, 2007, 09:07:31 AM
Hi everyone, I am new here. I cannot imagine losing so many people in such a short time. Within 2 years of eachother I lost 2 close friend of mine and my professor. My 2 friends died suddenly, the one I found out about while watching TV. I had graduated a year before and still had many friends at school that were a year or 2 behind me. Earlier that day my mom had said she heard someone from my school had passed away, but she was a freshman and I probably did not know her. Later I called a friend of mine to see if she heard the story and she said no. I was watching the news and there was a teaser for a story at the 11 o'clock news and there was my friend on the screen singing and then they said she had died that afternon! She was rehearsing and her heart just stopped, she was 20 years old.


A family friend lost 2 sisters, her mother and father within 1 year of each other. It is so painful and I think people really need to watch how they relay the news.
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: Mrs. Eclipse on September 24, 2007, 02:43:14 PM
I am so sorry for those of you who have had to hear the worst news possible - that your loved one is dead - in such an insensitive way :(

In 2000-2001 we lost 8 family members in the course of a year, including my FIL, my grandfather, my DH's grandfather, my godfather, and a cousin. Six years later I still can't help feeling dread every time the phone rings. There's a part of me that automatically assumes that the person on the other line is calling to tell me someone has died. :(

I went through that back in 1999 when we lost a lot of relatives, both close and distant, including my father's father who I never got to know, and the dog that had been in the family since four years before I was born.

But I was young then and my parents broke the news to me those times, and they're very tactful people.
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: Pat on September 26, 2007, 09:34:11 AM
My father died when I was 25. We had not been on best terms for the previous 7-8 years, but we were reconnecting slowly after my son's birth earlier that same year. His death was a hard blow. Not only was I very sad, but I am a single child, my parents were divorced and I had to take care of everything, at an age I had no idea how to handle this.

Of course, I told my friends. And one of them replied: "oh, it's not that terrible, is it? you weren't getting along with him anyway..."

So insensitive! I don't know what she was thinking.
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: amaiaisabella on September 26, 2007, 12:49:28 PM
Hi everyone, I am new here.

Welcome!
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: T'Mar of Vulcan on October 18, 2007, 11:55:13 PM
Sorry for bumping an old post, but I just have to say that I cannot believe how insensitive some people are when it comes to someone else's death. Have they no compassion at all for their loved ones??

I was shocked when I returned to work after my mother died and received this piece of 'advice' from the male PE teacher: "Be strong." Yeah, I was planning not to be; in fact, I was thinking of shattering into pieces a la the guy who got zapped by the wires in Cube, you idiot!

Also, another teacher came up and said to me, "Did you enjoy your week-long holiday?" HOLIDAY? I had to arrange a funeral (luckily I had tons of help), pacify my mother's little dog and work out how to live by myself in a house built for six people. You freaking try it! HOLIDAY! I still can't believe she said that.
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: Shortcake on October 19, 2007, 08:20:09 AM
Sorry for bumping an old post, but I just have to say that I cannot believe how insensitive some people are when it comes to someone else's death. Have they no compassion at all for their loved ones??

Also, another teacher came up and said to me, "Did you enjoy your week-long holiday?" HOLIDAY? I had to arrange a funeral (luckily I had tons of help), pacify my mother's little dog and work out how to live by myself in a house built for six people. You freaking try it! HOLIDAY! I still can't believe she said that.

It truly shocks me when I hear things like this! I can not believe people are so insensitive & uncaring! 
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: aeeden on October 19, 2007, 09:19:02 AM
 
Quote
but she was a freshman and I probably did not know her. Later I called a friend of mine to see if she heard the story and she said no. I was watching the news and there was a teaser for a story at the 11 o'clock news and there was my friend on the screen singing and then they said she had died that afternon! She was rehearsing and her heart just stopped, she was 20 years old.
Quote

CRUD MONKEYS!! this happend to a girl i graduated with. my parents were like.. oh yeah, we heard.. well so? it isn't like you knew her right!?" -knew her, i played soccer with her, was in band with her, and yeah i knew her, we weren't best friends or anything, but she was soo cool. and now 10years later we are planning a reunion, and my heart breaks a little when i see her pic. I am so sorry for you.. truly.
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: Mrs. Eclipse on October 19, 2007, 11:19:46 AM
Sorry for bumping an old post, but I just have to say that I cannot believe how insensitive some people are when it comes to someone else's death. Have they no compassion at all for their loved ones??

I was shocked when I returned to work after my mother died and received this piece of 'advice' from the male PE teacher: "Be strong." Yeah, I was planning not to be; in fact, I was thinking of shattering into pieces a la the guy who got zapped by the wires in Cube, you idiot!

Also, another teacher came up and said to me, "Did you enjoy your week-long holiday?" HOLIDAY? I had to arrange a funeral (luckily I had tons of help), pacify my mother's little dog and work out how to live by myself in a house built for six people. You freaking try it! HOLIDAY! I still can't believe she said that.

What a frustrating thing for them to say  >:(

I remember the movie 'Chicken Run' at the beginning, when Ginger is talking to Babs

Babs: Hello, Ginger!  Back from holiday?
Ginger: I wasn't on holiday, Babs, I was in solitary confinement
Babs: Oh, it's nice to get a bit of time to yourself, isn't it?

 ::)
(I wish that the eye-roller could be frowning or scowling- anybody find an emoticon like that?)
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: ccnumber4 on October 19, 2007, 11:31:19 AM
I rarely comment but I felt compelled to on this post. 

When my son died I was holding him in my arms, when the moniters read zero to everything the doctor on duty came in, listened to his heart, said "Finally, he's gone"  I almost died right there.  I started yelling and crying "how dare you say finally, Sweet monkey fritters! do you mean?"  I was so upset I almost needed a shot to calm down. 

That's heartless :'(

Mom2Brett, I know this is an old thread, but wanted to tell you how sorry I am!  What a horrible thing to say.  I hope that he at least apologized to you when confronted. 
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: Midge on October 19, 2007, 12:04:59 PM
Since this thread has gone from “bad ways to deliver bad news” to “inconsiderate jerks after the loss of a loved one,” I’ll throw in my story about when my grandmother died in 2000.

A bit of background: I’m an only child.  My dad died in 1995. His only sibling, a sister, had died a few years earlier.  She had two sons, who at the time of this story, lived many, many miles away from me, my mom, and our mutual grandmother (my father’s mother, hence my mom’s MIL).

In the years between my dad and grandma’s death, my mother had taken over the “care” of my grandmother, who was in a nursing home. She had power of attorney, took care of her money, was consulted on medical issues, visited her as much as possible … basically being a very good DIL.

I lived 70 miles away and was “second in command” regarding my grandmother, seeing as I was the next closest in terms of relationship and distance.  So, one night I get “the phone call” (not really a surprise, grandma was 100 and comatose, but still), go in to work the next day and inform my boss.  My boss is very sympathetic, and basically tells me to take care only of what is absolutely necessary, work-wise, and then get the heck out of here and down to Milwaukee to take care of everything. Remember, between just me and my non-driving, 76-year-old mom we need to inform the rest of the family, plan the funeral, and clean out her room at the nursing home. Guess who would be doing most of the work? Me, and I didn’t mind.

I send out an email to my coworkers which states: Due to a family situation, I will be out of the office starting at noon today and will be unavailable until DATE, with no access to email. Please contact COWORKER at PHONE for assistance.  Thank you.

Phone rings. It’s a really demanding coworker (Jeanine) who had been using me to do at least 1/3 of her job on a regular basis.

Jeanine: I got your email about your family vacation …

Me: It says “family situation.” My grandmother died last night.

Jeanine: Oh. [pauses, begins to whine] But you haven’t finished that article for me!  Can’t you do it before you leave for the funeral?

Me: I’m leaving today for Milwaukee. I have to plan the funeral. COWORKER can …

Jeanine: [interrupting and whining] So, um, if it’s your grandma, why can’t one of her kids plan the funeral?

Me: Because all of her kids are dead.
[Here I was hoping that would make her realize that meant that I’ve already lost at least one parent, and might evoke something besides self-absorption in her. FAIL!]

Jeanine: [whining] Isn’t there anyone else?  I really need that article …

Me: No, Jeanine, there isn’t. I’m the only grandkid in the area and besides planning the funeral I need to call the rest of the family, pick out something for her to be buried in, and clean out her room at the nursing home.

Jeanine: [whi – oh, you know] This is just really inconvenient for me.

Me: You are so NOT my main concern right now!

Jeanine: [sighing] Well, I guess I’ll just call COWORKER.

Me: [hangs up]

The end.



Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: amaiaisabella on October 19, 2007, 12:13:40 PM
Since this thread has gone from “bad ways to deliver bad news” to “inconsiderate jerks after the loss of a loved one,” I’ll throw in my story about when my grandmother died in 2000.

A bit of background: I’m an only child.  My dad died in 1995. His only sibling, a sister, had died a few years earlier.  She had two sons, who at the time of this story, lived many, many miles away from me, my mom, and our mutual grandmother (my father’s mother, hence my mom’s MIL).

In the years between my dad and grandma’s death, my mother had taken over the “care” of my grandmother, who was in a nursing home. She had power of attorney, took care of her money, was consulted on medical issues, visited her as much as possible … basically being a very good DIL.

I lived 70 miles away and was “second in command” regarding my grandmother, seeing as I was the next closest in terms of relationship and distance.  So, one night I get “the phone call” (not really a surprise, grandma was 100 and comatose, but still), go in to work the next day and inform my boss.  My boss is very sympathetic, and basically tells me to take care only of what is absolutely necessary, work-wise, and then get the heck out of here and down to Milwaukee to take care of everything. Remember, between just me and my non-driving, 76-year-old mom we need to inform the rest of the family, plan the funeral, and clean out her room at the nursing home. Guess who would be doing most of the work? Me, and I didn’t mind.

I send out an email to my coworkers which states: Due to a family situation, I will be out of the office starting at noon today and will be unavailable until DATE, with no access to email. Please contact COWORKER at PHONE for assistance.  Thank you.

Phone rings. It’s a really demanding coworker (Jeanine) who had been using me to do at least 1/3 of her job on a regular basis.

Jeanine: I got your email about your family vacation …

Me: It says “family situation.” My grandmother died last night.

Jeanine: Oh. [pauses, begins to whine] But you haven’t finished that article for me!  Can’t you do it before you leave for the funeral?

Me: I’m leaving today for Milwaukee. I have to plan the funeral. COWORKER can …

Jeanine: [interrupting and whining] So, um, if it’s your grandma, why can’t one of her kids plan the funeral?

Me: Because all of her kids are dead.
[Here I was hoping that would make her realize that meant that I’ve already lost at least one parent, and might evoke something besides self-absorption in her. FAIL!]

Jeanine: [whining] Isn’t there anyone else?  I really need that article …

Me: No, Jeanine, there isn’t. I’m the only grandkid in the area and besides planning the funeral I need to call the rest of the family, pick out something for her to be buried in, and clean out her room at the nursing home.

Jeanine: [whi – oh, you know] This is just really inconvenient for me.

Me: You are so NOT my main concern right now!

Jeanine: [sighing] Well, I guess I’ll just call COWORKER.

Me: [hangs up]

The end.





Calling for clue-by-four... does anyone here have a clue-by-four? Thank you.
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: hjaye on October 19, 2007, 01:36:31 PM
My first wife's father was terminally ill living in Tuscon Arizona.  He wanted to go back to New England and die there, he wanted to see the ocean again before he died.  My wife was going to drive to Rhode Island to see him before he died.  She had already left when her mother called.  Her father did not make it, he died in Arizona.

My wife called me a few hours later, she was in Tennessee.  I had to tell her it was too late, he was gone.  As I was talking to her the call waiting beeped, I told her to hold on it might be her sister (Her youngest sister was with her dad).  It was her mother.  She told me she was so sorry, she had made a mistake, he was not dead, he was just to sick to travel to Rhode Island so he was still in Arizona.  She just got mixed up (My wife and her mother did not have a very good relationship).  I just told her thanks for the update.  I got back on the phone with my wife and told her it was her mother on the phone, she got mixed up, her father was not dead, but he was not going to make it to Rhode Island.  She drove back to Dallas, and then went on to Arizona.  She did get to see him before he died, but as much as she disliked her mother before, that was the straw that broke the camels back.
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: Midge on October 19, 2007, 04:32:57 PM





[/quote]

Quote: Calling for clue-by-four... does anyone here have a clue-by-four? Thank you.

It was so bizarre!  I kept waiting for her to twig to the fact that this was an unhappy, hectic time for me and just say "I'm sorry for your loss," or "I'm sorry to hear that," however insincere it might have been.  But no, she goes from misunderstanding the email, to basically asking a favor, to whining about how my family situation REALLY STINKS FOR HER even as I'm laying out how difficult this is for me.

Even if it was a case of "Oh, my grandma died, we weren't close, she was old, I just have to go to the funeral in a few days ..." Guess what?  Still trumps your fraggin' article that my more-than-capable co-worker can take care of for you, hag!
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: Ondine on October 19, 2007, 11:26:47 PM
A guy I had dated for awhile lost his brother in 2002. It was pretty shocking to me, but not unexpected by the family, as his brother had been dealing with terminal illness for a year.
Anyway, I was visiting some of my friends at lunch at the high school I used to attend (I was in first year university at the time, and my friends were a year behind me in school). One of my good friends had cut the obituary out of the paper and brought it for me, since he knew I didn't have the obit - we had talked about this online, so I knew that he was bringing it for me.

Now, I had never met my ex's brother, but I knew my ex's parents, and he and I had been friends for four years at that point. The minute I saw the pic of his brother, I burst into tears - I still to this day cannot picture the pain they went through, but I can definitely understand how hard it is. One friend at the table looked at me and said "I don't see why you are crying - it's not like you knew him anyway."

The kicker? This guy lost a friend to suicide in 2001, and spent a year crying on everyone's shoulders, and grieving while everyone was very sympathetic. Our friends were not impressed with his comment, and he's very lucky that I am a non-violent person, because that was the most heartless thing someone in the exact situation could have said to anyone.
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: Seraphia on October 19, 2007, 11:47:50 PM
My poor (10 year old) brother got traumatized by being on the opposite end of one of those conversations.

Mom and I are driving home from somewhere. Mom's cell rings, and she picks up since it's my bro.

A few moments of unmemorable conversation, and Mom suddenly bursts into tears while driving. Cue freaked out Seraphia in the seat going: "Uh...Mom...? Mom...you need to pull over Mom. Mom?" She finally pulled over, and I switched her seats and drove home. She explained that one of her old HS friends, Gail, had died suddenly and obviously unexpectedly. When we got home, she called Gail's house to find out what had happened.

Turns out it was not Gail who had died, as my poor  brother had relayed. It was Gail's MOM.

I took him aside afterward, and quietly mentioned that people dying was better discussed in person, rather than while someone was driving. He agreed.
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: Mrs. Eclipse on October 20, 2007, 11:23:07 AM
Jeanine: [whi – oh, you know] This is just really inconvenient for me.

"Well, you know, it ain't a walk in the park for me, either."
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: retreadbride on October 20, 2007, 06:07:04 PM
The county coroner did that when my first husband died.

Husband was at work. The coroner came to the house. No uniform, no marked car. He did not tell me who he was. Just asked if I was Retreadbride, husband's wife. I said yes. He said, "Well, I just came from his (place of employment). He's had a major heart attack and he's dead."

Just like that. Those words.

My 11-year-old stepdaughter was standing right next to me. If the (!@#$) had just told me who he was, I could have sent her inside the house first.

I know it's against all the rules of etiquette but I hope something horrible happens to that man.

Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: RoseRose on October 21, 2007, 12:49:01 AM
After my mom died (I was in 6th grade at the time), I missed a day or two of band (in 6th grade, band was before elementary school started in the mornings).  My teacher asked me where I had been, and I muttered something along the lines of having been to my mother's funeral... the memory really isn't that clear, but I do remember this- she said, "That's not a good enough excuse!".  Being an 11 year old who had just lost her mother, I wasn't coherent enough to tell anyone, and in fact, didn't for years.
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: fluffy on October 22, 2007, 02:12:03 PM
This thread is getting me down; I thought jerks like that were one in a million. Apparently sheer lack of sympathy and compassion is a bit more common than I thought!

If it helps you feel better, I have a nice story...

I was doing a 6 week study abroad program and I was flying back in to a city that is about a 5 hour drive from us. My Dad was supposed to be in that city for the weekend doing meetings, so he was going to pick me up at the airport, I was going to hang out at the hotel for an afternoon and then we were going to drive back home together.

Unfortunately, my Nana died that weekend.  :(

My Dad cancelled his meetings, because he had a lot to deal with (funeral arrangements, etc). But, he drove all night to pick me up at the airport that morning when my plane got in. He told me that he couldn't in good conscience tell me that I wasn't getting a ride home because my Nana had died, so please take the bus. He was so tired from pulling an all-nighter to come and get me that I ended up driving for most of the trip back.  :P

On the other side of the fence, my mother told us about my step-grandfather dying in a mass email. An email that included my sister's inlaws and a whole bunch of other people who were only marginally related (at best) to my step-grandfather. She laid out all of the horrible details in said emails (including the fact that he had committed suicide). As soon as I got the email, I called my sisters to tell them over the phone. I couldn't stand the idea of them finding out via an email. They were both extremely grateful. I still don't understand why my mom didn't call me.
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: NsWife on October 23, 2007, 08:23:28 PM
I rarely comment but I felt compelled to on this post. 

When my son died I was holding him in my arms, when the moniters read zero to everything the doctor on duty came in, listened to his heart, said "Finally, he's gone"  I almost died right there.  I started yelling and crying "how dare you say finally, Sweet monkey fritters! do you mean?"  I was so upset I almost needed a shot to calm down. 

That's heartless :'(



This is why I'm becoming a nurse. I would have been helping out with your son, disconnecting the tubes and trying to hold your hand. The doc would have said that. I'd have smiled at you, smoothed your hair, and slapped the living p*ss out of him.

Auntie V you are absolutely perfect!  I love the image this post created in my mind!  Brava!
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: Kimblee on November 20, 2007, 10:36:25 PM
I rarely comment but I felt compelled to on this post. 

When my son died I was holding him in my arms, when the moniters read zero to everything the doctor on duty came in, listened to his heart, said "Finally, he's gone"  I almost died right there.  I started yelling and crying "how dare you say finally, Sweet monkey fritters! do you mean?"  I was so upset I almost needed a shot to calm down. 

That's heartless :'(

Oh my god...

I am so sorry... how horrible...

This mad eme start crying, that is just....

Oh...
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: Bobbie Fleckman on November 23, 2007, 04:53:39 PM
{{{{{Mom2Brett}}}}}

That's so awful!  I cannot even imagine how that must have made you feel, or what would possess a doctor to say something so crass to a grieving mother. I am so sorry that happened to you.    :'(
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: amaiaisabella on November 23, 2007, 05:37:13 PM
I'm not one to advocate lawsuits, but I really hope you reported that nurse.
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: T'Mar of Vulcan on November 23, 2007, 10:16:48 PM
A friend of mine, Beth's, mother died two weeks ago. At the funeral one of her relatives came up to her and said, "It's a good thing she died, because now your father can get on with his life."  :o  Yes, Beth's mother was sick for a very long time, in a wheelchair, couldn't walk, didn't know who anybody (except her husband) was, etc. It was still a mean, nasty, insensitive thing to say.
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: CreteGirl on November 27, 2007, 02:27:22 PM
In this story, I was the insensitive one.

I was 24 when my Dad died, and my Mom instructed me to call my Grandfather (my Dad's Dad) and tell him.  Since I had no experience in relaying bad news, I bungled it horribly.

I started the conversation by making small talk about the weather, and our recent move to Arizona.  About 5 minutes or so into the conversation, I finally got brave enough to say, "oh, by the way, Dad died".

It did not go over well. 

I have since learned the proper way to convey bad news.
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: twinkletoes on November 27, 2007, 10:47:51 PM
I am so sorry for those of you who have had to hear the worst news possible - that your loved one is dead - in such an insensitive way :(

In 2000-2001 we lost 8 family members in the course of a year, including my FIL, my grandfather, my DH's grandfather, my godfather, and a cousin. Six years later I still can't help feeling dread every time the phone rings. There's a part of me that automatically assumes that the person on the other line is calling to tell me someone has died. :(

I had a time in my life where I lost four people within about a year, and I'm right there with you about the phone call.  The worst is when someone calls at an odd hour - I about had a heart attack when my dad called me one morning around 6, and screamed at him when he told me he was calling me to get something-or-other for him. 
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: Dixie Darlin on November 28, 2007, 03:50:35 PM
I posted about my experience with this once already, but will retell the story b/c it applies to this discussion.
I once informed a teacher that I wouldn't be in class because I had to go to a funeral. (I didn't say whose, but it was my grandfather's, whom I was very close to). She didn't say "I'm sorry" or anything to that effect. It hurt my feelings a little. Generally speaking, this teacher and I got along pretty well, although there were things about her that got on my nerves.
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: milosparront on November 28, 2007, 04:29:59 PM
My mother passed away in 2003.  After making the appropriate phone calls to NON immediate family members, my father asked me to call some of his friends.  Short, sweet and to the point, here is the conversation with one " friend" as follows:

me:  Mrs. So-'n-So....  My father wanted me to call you to let you know Mom passed away last night."

Mrs. S-'n-S:  My husband died with his mouth open......  Was her's open??

CRUD MONKEYS! who says things like this??   :o.......  I simply hung up the phone.   :'(
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: mddg4 on November 29, 2007, 05:50:07 PM
This is actually kind of funny in a sad way.
DH and I went to a friends house one night for dinner. Halfway through the evening he looks at me and says "By the way, my dad called, My grandmother kicked the bucket this morning".  :o

UMMMMMMM. Honey that is not usually the way such news is conveyed.  Granted they were not close at all, but stilll!

Love the DH, need to find a brain to mouth filter replacement.  ::)
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: TychaBrahe on December 05, 2007, 04:22:53 PM
I just found out that my great uncle died last week - my aunt told me online on the day of the funeral.  ::) Thankfully, I didn't know him, so I didn't feel too bad. Such a crappy way to hear about it though.

I had a foster daughter whose mother was diagnosed with cancer.  We knew it was terminal.

Her family called the house about 1:00 am on the day of the funeral to let us know where to go.  She had died three days earlier.
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: Calbrini on December 12, 2007, 03:13:56 PM
GFILs mother was dying and they were at our house when GMILs phone rang. It was one of GFILs relatives who she started talking to then just looked GFILs way and said, "yes, shes dead".  after she had finished on the phone she just continued to pack etc and expected him to be wanting to drive within ten minutes!!! He just wandered out and lit a cigarette while she continued to waffle on to us, mentioning that the deceased wasnt the nicest person she had met and liked to drink.
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: asta on January 28, 2008, 07:28:51 AM
A little OT.  An acquaintance of mine passed away - he was in his mid-20's.  At his viewing, alot of his buddies were in the parking lot, drinking.  It was very sad inside; I went to pay my condolences to the family and was sitting in one of the rows. 

His hockey buddies come in.  Though they were alittle loud, mostly okay.  UNTIL ONE OF HIS BUDDIES BARFED IN THE GUY'S CASKET.  Pandamonium broke loose - it was horrible.  Then, Mr. Barf Buckets was half-passed out and had to be dragged out by the others.  The deceased's father stormed out after the guy, who I'm sure got a few biffs in the parking lot, the mother and other relatives were mostly screaming.

I waited until the father came back in, and made a quiet exit.
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: asta on January 28, 2008, 07:36:12 AM
At my grandfather's funeral, my parents had their born-again, fire & brimstone pastor march in with about 5 deacons.  It was a small service, but "Brother Gray" standing right next to Grandpa's casket, orated that my Grandfather was burning in Hell because he didn't accept Jesus Crist as his personal saviour.  Then, he tried to "save" those of us attending.  I was so disgusted - all my parents said, "well, it was a bit much."
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: Twik on January 28, 2008, 08:43:48 AM
A little OT.  An acquaintance of mine passed away - he was in his mid-20's.  At his viewing, alot of his buddies were in the parking lot, drinking.  It was very sad inside; I went to pay my condolences to the family and was sitting in one of the rows. 

His hockey buddies come in.  Though they were alittle loud, mostly okay.  UNTIL ONE OF HIS BUDDIES BARFED IN THE GUY'S CASKET.  Pandamonium broke loose - it was horrible.  Then, Mr. Barf Buckets was half-passed out and had to be dragged out by the others.  The deceased's father stormed out after the guy, who I'm sure got a few biffs in the parking lot, the mother and other relatives were mostly screaming.

I waited until the father came back in, and made a quiet exit.

OK, that's got to be in the Top Ten Worst Viewings Ever, I'd say.
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: asta on January 28, 2008, 08:55:22 AM
Twik, yes, it was terrible.  I have no idea how the funeral home cleaned everything and my friend up.  I felt so sorry for his family.  Besides, he was their only child, nice guy I knew from high school.

Was at another viewing where little kids were "rocking the casket" by holding onto the ledge of it and trying to "see" inside - the funeral director had them ushered out.
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: Twik on January 28, 2008, 03:40:47 PM
The worst part - I know that it really doesn't matter to the deceased - but I'd be there ranting to the funeral director that "my loved one is NOT spending eternity in a casket that someone threw up in!"
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: milosparront on January 28, 2008, 07:28:08 PM
A little OT.  An acquaintance of mine passed away - he was in his mid-20's.  At his viewing, alot of his buddies were in the parking lot, drinking.  It was very sad inside; I went to pay my condolences to the family and was sitting in one of the rows. 

His hockey buddies come in.  Though they were alittle loud, mostly okay.  UNTIL ONE OF HIS BUDDIES BARFED IN THE GUY'S CASKET.  Pandamonium broke loose - it was horrible.  Then, Mr. Barf Buckets was half-passed out and had to be dragged out by the others.  The deceased's father stormed out after the guy, who I'm sure got a few biffs in the parking lot, the mother and other relatives were mostly screaming.

I waited until the father came back in, and made a quiet exit.


 :o :o :o :o :o
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: IndianInlaw on January 29, 2008, 12:16:19 PM
Earlier this year, my son took his cat to the vet.  Some people were in the waiting room with their dog.  Not having a lot of social skills, he said "Is he contagious?".

Later, he found out they were there to have their dog put to sleep.

He apologized profusely and feels bad about it to this day.
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: drebay on January 29, 2008, 12:30:42 PM
Lots of backstory to this....Will explain later.  But, when MIL passed, DH called Aunt, and simply said to her "Mom's dead...Happy now?", and hung up the phone.
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: Paper Roses on January 29, 2008, 04:41:22 PM
Lots of backstory to this....Will explain later.  But, when MIL passed, DH called Aunt, and simply said to her "Mom's dead...Happy now?", and hung up the phone.

I'm so sorry - please don't be offended - but that made me laugh.  Probably only because I can totally see it happening in my family. 
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: drebay on January 29, 2008, 04:49:00 PM
Don't worry, I am not offended.  It was a long time ago., and I understood why it was said.
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: Lauren on April 25, 2011, 07:04:43 AM
Know it's a bit old, but I've had some doozies in my life!

Co-worker was killed on the way to work in a car accident. Someone I was really close to. I found out by being called by my boss saying 'She's been killed, you need to cover her shift' Couldn't understand why he had so much trouble covering that shift.

I changed softball clubs this year, but had been in the same club for four years previously and was still very, very close with my team and my coach. When I went to a game was handed some black tape and told 'OldCoach died, we have to put this on for the old bugger' I didn't play that game.

This one thankfully didn't involve a death, but my dad had a biopsy when I was 21. he was told if he felt sick, go to the hospital (septicaemia) He refused and I kept trying to get him up and walking and finally my mum came and took him to hospital but said he'd be fine. I then couldn't contact my mother for the rest of the day, so was understandbly getting worried. About 8pm I hear the front door open and walk out only to see my grandfather and uncle, with both obviously having been crying. I went straight to the worst assumption and lost it on the living room floor. Thankfully he wasn't dead, but my brother and I needed to get to the hospital NOW and my mum didn't think anyone could call us with a straight voice and manage to convey it with me being in a condition to drive. (he was OK. It was a horrific week, as he not only had sceptecimia, but then had a reaction to the drugs and kept slipping in and out of a coma. Added to this, he just wanted to go home and could NOT understand how sick he was. Once he was better, to top it all off, he did end up having cancer so we then had to go through all that pain too)

To top that one off, estranged friends were the only ones told (as my father was convinced the husband, who he had been best man for would want to know. Never turned up.) outside family during that week. By the Saturday the crisis had passed, so my mum encourged me to go to softball. When I arrived heard a scream and a friend come running over demanding to know what was going on. Apparently her and her husband had run into estranged friends at the shops earlier that day. Heard all about their future trip to Europe and everything. Finished the conversation with 'Oh, Lauren'sMum called us, LaurensDad is in ICU and not expected to live past Wednesday' Of course, they couldn't contact anyone in my family (very close family friends, so had phone numbers for parents, myself and grandparents. None of us had charged phones at that point and no-one was home to answer landlines) before seeing me, so were fully expecting to hear that my father had died. That incident led to everyone accepting that estranged friends just simply didn't care anymore. (the sad side to that story is when estranged wife died, all their friends had been pushed away, so he had no support outside family left. He rang the mutual friends and told them not to tell my parents, which is a horrible position to put anyone in. They ended up breaking that, but my parents weren't going to intrude. He did call grandparents and tell them and asked if they'd think my parents would go. Their response was 'if you want them there, nothing will stop them from going' I think my dad, at the least, hoped it would bring the friendship back, but he choose not to)
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: mrs_deb on April 25, 2011, 08:46:58 AM
I was doing the grocery shopping in January of 2001; my cell phone rang as I was unloading the cart.  It was my sister.  "Hi, it's me.  The nursing home called - Mummy died."

 ???

I love my sister, but there is so much terrible behaviour from her before and after this event that sometimes I wonder WHY!!
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: Sharnita on April 25, 2011, 03:09:38 PM
My mom was good when she told me my grandmother died.  I was teaching and she knew they'd be taking grandma's body for cremation right away so if I wanted to see her one more time waiting until after work was out.  SHe didn't want me finding out in front of my class so she called the main office, explained, they had a teacher cover my class while another teacher told me I was wanted in the office.  The principal told me I had a call and that I could take it in her office.  I thought it might be my grandpa who had been in the hospital so the shock of finding out it was Grandma rocked me.  I was not all that tight with my principal but I sobbed all over that 6 foot woman. 

She told me she'd drive me home, took me to my room which the covering teacher had emptied into another available classroom.  I left my car keys with friends who promised to drop my car off later that evening and the principal took me to my mom's.  When my car was dropped off the front seat was full of cards the kids had made for me.  Everyone was very sweet and handled it sensitively - even kids who normally tested me on a daily basis.

It was nice to see everyone rise to the occassion
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: violinp on April 25, 2011, 03:46:20 PM
Well, I've never had bad news delivered badly, but it's really come at horrible times.

My paternal grandpa died the day before a maternal uncle's wedding - Sis and I were singing in the wedding. My parents decided to wait until the day AFTER grandpa died to tell us. Why?

Mom: "So [we] wouldn't cry and ruin Uncle's funeral." Yes, that's the explanation my mom gave me. Honest, my mom is a wonderful person, but sometimes she says things that, well...aren't exactly the best thing to say at the moment.

***

Paternal grandma died the Tuesday after Spring Break, but she wasn't found until Thursday night. Around 11 on Thursday night, just as I was gonna go to bed, I get a call from Mom telling me Grandma had died. No real preamble, no nothing. Just, "I'm sorry to have to tell you this, but Grandma's dead."

I was so shocked that I asked my mom if she was joking. After she told me she wasn't, there was a very uncomfortable silence while I tried not to cry. Finally, I had to tell Mom that I loved her, but I had to get off the phone. I spent most of the night bawling and screaming.

Then, they planned the funeral for Saturday, the day before my birthday. I think it's pretty safe to say that birthday was the worst birthday I've ever had. :'( Everyone tried to be happy and give me a nice birthday dinner, but I was trying so hard not to bawl my eyes out.

***
6 months after Grandma died, I got an email from my parents telling me maternal grandpa had had to be hospitalized for heart trouble, but he was back home now. I was just told "in case it comes up in conversation." I started crying so hard, thinking my grandpa was going to die, like maternal grandma - I'd been told PG was in hospital, but was home now and fine 5 days before I found out about her death - that it took a professor I go to church with to calm me down.

I'm still pretty angry sometimes at my folks for that. Did I not even deserve a phone call? Especially since I had just lost a grandparent 6 months ago, that kind of casualness shocked me.
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: loopyluna on April 25, 2011, 07:52:13 PM
For some reason my parents never to think to actually tell me when someone has died. They always just wait until the next time I call/email.

The day after my grandmother passed away, I called my mom for, of all things, credit card advice. I was really confused when they both answered (on the bluetooth in my mom's car). I figure they're going to visit my brother. After we chat for a few minutes, one of them tacks on, "Oh by the way, we're driving down to [Mom's hometown] for your grandmother's funeral." .......What? "She died yesterday." I knew she was sick, but I had no idea she was that sick. I had to hang up; I was trapped in a very public place, bawling, with nowhere to hide.

We lost my dad's aunt on Saturday. I found out this morning when my dad replied to an email I sent with "PS Lucy died Saturday night. We figured it was her way of celebrating Easter." Again--completely out of left field. I still haven't responded, because I honestly don't know how to. Lucy was inspirational to me, and to find out as a postscript to an email? Didn't even mention what happened, just "she died." I get what he was trying to say about Easter, but it really isn't making things better right now.
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: Sharnita on April 26, 2011, 04:53:13 AM
I sometimes don't get told about more distant relatives/aquaintances but I think that is because with 4 kids my mom sometimes forget who she told and who still needs to be told.
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: allimac on April 26, 2011, 05:51:45 AM
I could easily be the subject of a post about delivering bad news poorly or at the wrong time.

A number of years ago I was home from uni for the summer, temping in my hometown.
My parents were abroad with my paternal uncle and his wife and due to come back home two days later. Then the phone rang. It was my cousin M, informing me that her grandmother (my maternal uncle's MIL) E had died very suddenly. We have always been a close-knit family and E was very close to us all albeit perhaps closer to me than my parents and brother as M also is one of my closest friends.
So what should I do? Disturb my parents on their vacation and inform them that E was dead? They would not appreciate being disturbed. Or tell them two days later when they were home again? They would not be pleased that I hadn't called them. Whatever I chose I knew I would get reamed out for my decision. That's why I did what I wanted to. I called. And got screamed at ::).
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: yankeefan2017 on April 26, 2011, 08:40:07 AM
I am so sorry for everyone's losses.

((((((((((((FORUM)))))))))))))

Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: lipli on April 26, 2011, 03:19:40 PM
Mine is odd.  My birthday is in early May so it is usually around Mother's day.  I would usually have a friend's party the weekend closest to the actual day.

My maternal grandmother had been sick for years.  I had my slumber party (I think 15th birthday) and we were getting ready to go (end of the party). My dad pulls me into a room and tells me she died (Saturday morning) and then sends me back to my friends for the last couple hours of the party.  My stepmother was aghast at what he did (she told me so later). 

What makes it odd instead of what was he thinking is that in the years since my mother always says she died on Sunday morning (Mother's day).  So either I forgot which day I had my party or they forgot which day she died.  Either way, Dad blew it. 
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: hannahmollysmom on April 26, 2011, 10:34:31 PM
This was many years ago, but early one morning, I got a call from my grandmother saying my grandfather had a heart attack. (At the time he was in a nursing home with Alzheimers and diabetes.) I asked my grandmother if she wanted me to come up (3 hrs away) and she said no, she would let me know when she needed me.

We already had plans that day for a party/bbq to celebrate something (don't remember now) so continued with our plans. During the party, my Uncle called. He informed me of the funeral plans for my Grandfather. I was in shock as my Grandmother had neglected to tell me he had passed away. Unfortunetly, my way of dealing with severe stress is to laugh and that is what I did, although very embarassed afterwards.

I still can't believe she forgot the important detail to tell me. Maybe her mind wouldn't let her say it? She has since passed also, as well as both of my parents, but this one remains in my memory as the most confused notification ever.
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: GoldenGemini on April 26, 2011, 11:55:32 PM
My mother is bad for this.  She sends me text messages, "Gavin died", "Shane is dead", etc.

I'm never sure of when I will open up my text and BOOM! another dead person.  :(
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: Stranger on April 27, 2011, 04:33:06 AM
When I was 12, my sisters and I visited my maternal grandparents who lived in another country. I haven't seen GP's for 8 years, and my sisters had no idea who we were visiting. The adults (my parents and Grandmother) decided that the children don;t have to know that GF is in hospital with a serious heart condition, so I had *no* forewarning.

On the second day of our visit, I answered the phone as my GM was out. I was told (by the Matron of the hospital, who thought that she was speaking to my mother) that my (MY) father had passed away an hour ago. I was absolutely hysterical. When GM came home, I was a blubbering mess, and I told her that I wanted to go home *right now* because my father had died!

GM called my mother to make arrangements for our return trip and to offer heartfelt condolences to her daughter who had just been widowed - only to have my father answer the phone. Cue GM realising that the "father" who had passed was her husband  :-[

I was only twelve, nobody should blame me that I let out a very relieved "yeah!!!!!" when I was told that my father was in excellent health, but that my GF had passed. Not my finest moment, though.

Also - please make sure that you inform the correct person of a beloved's passing.
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: Just Lori on April 28, 2011, 07:27:19 AM
This story is as mortifying to me today as it was 15 years ago.

My grandmother was dying of breast cancer when the nursing home called my mom to say she had passed.  My mom was listed as the contact for such information.  The news, while not unexpected, was devastating to my mother.  In an attempt to assume an adult role, I offered to call my aunts and uncle and let them know.

Somehow, I did not manage to communicate the right info to my uncle.  He was under the impression that his mother had taken a turn for the worse, but he was not prepared to walk into her room and find her dead, with family standing around crying.  I was devastated when my aunt started complaining that "they" didn't tell uncle that Mom has passed.  (Once my aunt realized that I was the one who made the initial phone call to my uncle, she apologized for the misunderstanding.  She's actually a nice person, but the stress of watching your loved one succumb to the disease had us all frazzled.)

As my parents grow older, I am dismayed to hear about family friends' deaths weeks after their occur.  Conversations often go like this:

Me:  By the way, how is Mrs. M doing?  Last I heard, she was in the hospital for some vague symptoms.
Mom:  Didn't I tell you?  She died.

Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: Just Lori on April 28, 2011, 07:30:08 AM
Facebook can be a particularly jarring means of communicating bad news.  I have an old elementary school classmate who is a FB friend.  One day, in the middle of a completely different thread (think something like an American Idol thread about last night's contestants), she chimed in with, "Sarah Smith passed last year."  It was very strange, and I like to assume she didn't understand the difference between posting to a wall and posting in a random thread.
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: Yarnspinner on April 30, 2011, 01:09:05 AM
Well, there's always my dipstick ex-SIL, who reacted to my mother's death by saying "Well, I can finally have Easter and the other holidays done the way I want them."

These days I would have smacked her verbally.  Back then, everyone, including my brother walked on eggshells around her.  I said nothying to keep the peace.

This is the same dingbat who said to me "It's so good that you and Dad enjoy going to the hospital.  If it was just me and your brother, your Mom would probably die alone 'cause we hate hospitals"

Yes...Dad and I coulodn't wait to get up in the morning and run to the hospital so we could start watching Mom suffer.

Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: Sharnita on May 01, 2011, 06:54:42 AM
Yarnspinner I have noticed that in many families that some members let other members do most/all of the care taking and that kind of thing.  It seems like they always jsutify it by claiming extreme sensitivity which somehow makes them so tender hearted they can't do the work.  I think they actually concince themselves that it doesn't bother the care takers (or at leat not as much) so it isn't really the burden on those people that it would be on themselves.
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: exitzero on May 01, 2011, 07:36:00 AM
Yarnspinner I have noticed that in many families that some members let other members do most/all of the care taking and that kind of thing.  It seems like they always jsutify it by claiming extreme sensitivity which somehow makes them so tender hearted they can't do the work.  I think they actually concince themselves that it doesn't bother the care takers (or at leat not as much) so it isn't really the burden on those people that it would be on themselves.

Oh yes, it was much too "emotional" for my brother to visit my dad. Good thing I'm so hard-hearted.

Not that I'm bitter or anything.
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: Doll Fiend on May 01, 2011, 08:46:28 PM
For me, it was was my Mother calling me at work and telling me A) My aunt had her baby and B) my Cousin had her baby (different sides of the family) And C) One of my grandmothers died.

Stunned I was. . . Boss drove me to the hospital to be with family for both babies and Grandmother. Quite a family reunion.
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: JadeAngel on May 01, 2011, 09:12:23 PM
This is actually kind of funny in a sad way.
DH and I went to a friends house one night for dinner. Halfway through the evening he looks at me and says "By the way, my dad called, My grandmother kicked the bucket this morning".

When my Grandmother passed away the doctors advised us to call members of the family we wanted at the hospital before they switched off the machines because they thought she would be gone in a few hours once the machines were switched off (the joke was on them, she lasted another seven days) but this led to a cousin being given the task of ringing 'estranged aunt' and the following conversation at 3am in the morning;

Hi *estranged aunt* it's *cousin*. I'm just ringing to let you know that Grandma's on her last legs...

Honestly we were all so stressed out and sleep deprived that we all got a case of the snortgiggles in the hospital waiting room, but after that effort cousin was not asked to make any more phone calls...
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: cabbagegirl28 on May 03, 2011, 10:24:30 PM
My heart breaks for all of you people.  :'(

((((thisthread))))

If only people were more sensitive to others' concerns...
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: Corbin on May 04, 2011, 01:48:07 PM
I rarely comment but I felt compelled to on this post. 

When my son died I was holding him in my arms, when the moniters read zero to everything the doctor on duty came in, listened to his heart, said "Finally, he's gone"  I almost died right there.  I started yelling and crying "how dare you say finally, Sweet monkey fritters! do you mean?"  I was so upset I almost needed a shot to calm down. 

That's heartless :'(



This is why I'm becoming a nurse. I would have been helping out with your son, disconnecting the tubes and trying to hold your hand. The doc would have said that. I'd have smiled at you, smoothed your hair, and slapped the living p*ss out of him.

And that, right there, sums up why I love Auntie Venom.

And to the first poster in the quote, I am so sorry for you loss, and for the fact that some in the medical profession can be so...wrong. There are many of us who try very hard to do better.
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: Perfect Circle on May 05, 2011, 09:36:24 AM
When my first husband died, I couldn't get on hold of anyone else in homecountry than my youngest sister. She was still living at home with my parents, I think she was 19 at the time and off from school.

I spoke to her briefly and asked her to try to get on hold of my parents and other sister I was still talking to at the time.

So, instead of calling anyone, she sent them a text. No warning, it just said 'Sister's husband is dead, she found him in the kitchen this morning.'

My other sister was working in deepest Lapland for her thesis research at the time, miles from anywhere, driving on her own. She had to get help to get back to her residence because she couldn't drive. My parents were in the supermarket where they dropped the shopping and rushed home to call me.

And the absolute winner was my then neighbour who'd done some gardening for us. He came over before my husband had been taken away to ask if I was going to sell my house and to remind me that DH hadn't paid him for the last bit of work I'd done... ::)
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: Corbin on May 05, 2011, 04:08:36 PM
When my first husband died, I couldn't get on hold of anyone else in homecountry than my youngest sister. She was still living at home with my parents, I think she was 19 at the time and off from school.

I spoke to her briefly and asked her to try to get on hold of my parents and other sister I was still talking to at the time.

So, instead of calling anyone, she sent them a text. No warning, it just said 'Sister's husband is dead, she found him in the kitchen this morning.'

My other sister was working in deepest Lapland for her thesis research at the time, miles from anywhere, driving on her own. She had to get help to get back to her residence because she couldn't drive. My parents were in the supermarket where they dropped the shopping and rushed home to call me.

And the absolute winner was my then neighbour who'd done some gardening for us. He came over before my husband had been taken away to ask if I was going to sell my house and to remind me that DH hadn't paid him for the last bit of work I'd done... ::)
Oh wow, that is just so far beyond the pale...

Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on May 05, 2011, 09:08:59 PM
Not so much a bad delivery story but a SS coworker who didn't make it any easier to deal with. 

BG: In 2008 I was working in a doctor's office as a medical records clerk and nice cowoker (NCW) asked me if I'd feed her Bettas while she was on her honeymoon.  I said sure, no problem, and made sure they were well taken care of that week, including changing their water the Thursday before she returned.   Now, my paternal grandmother, the only grandparent I had remaining, had been suffering from Alzheimers for several years and was getting worse and worse, and this Thursday I stopped by my parent's house on the way home from work for some reason and my mom told me "Grandma's sick with pneumonia, she's in the hospital and the doctors don't think she's going to make it, she might only have a few more days left in her."

Then I get home and there's a message on my home machine from Wicked coworker (WCW) saying simply "The water was too hot." Seriously, that was it, but I figured she meant the fish's water, but I knew I had made sure the water was a good temp for Mr. Fish (that was his name) before putting him in.  I shrugged it off and went back to worrying about Grandma, whom I had always been very close to.

I got in the next day and WCW tells me the fish had died and it was all MY fault because the water was too hot.   I know it wasn't, and decided to just ignore her as I'm going about my day.   Or try to ignore her.   She started walking around the front office loudly in a very PA way talking about death and making sure everyone knew that Pirate was the one who killed NCW's fish.   When one girl got off the phone with a patient, WCW, who had been evesdropping, says "Oh, did someone DIE?" CW looks at her and says "Um, no, why?"  WCW: Oh I don't know, everyone's DYING around here, there's just a lot of DEATH in the air..."

I'm trying to ignore her, but it's not working and while she's not succeeding in making me feel guilty, she is managing to remind me that my grandma is not likely going to be long for the world and likely is dying, which means I'm by my station making up charts for appointments and trying not to cry.   Mind you WCW didn't know my grandmother was ill or dying so I don't blame her for that itself but it wasn't helping, either, and I didn't really want to tell her cause she was so nasty that I wasn't sure she wouldn't up the ante on her death talk.  I finally burst into tears when one of the doctors started chatting with me in her office while I was looking for a chart to attach a fax to and word got back to WCW who shut up for the rest of the day at least, and actually she went home early.   

The irony is that when NCW came back the following Monday, I apologized for her fish dying and she shrugged and said "Ah, don't worry about it, and don't pay attention to WCW.  It wasn't your fault, and really it's just a fish, they're not known for their long life spans.  How's your grandma?"
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: Poirot on May 05, 2011, 10:06:03 PM
When I was 16, I was riding on a motorcycle with my boyfriend Phil, when we were hit by another car. I don't remember the accident, but I know phil gave me his helmet. When I woke up in the hospital, with a broken arm and leg, I asked if I could see Phil.

The nurse said "when you get up walking, we'll take you to the morgue."

Almost 30 years later, I still occasionally dream about it.   :'(
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: Omega Mu on May 06, 2011, 12:55:42 PM
Many years ago my Grandfather went to visit his brother in the nursing home.  He went to the front desk and told them he was there for Jack Smith.  The attendant said "Oh, are you from the funeral home?"
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: Lisbeth on May 06, 2011, 01:07:12 PM
Several years ago, when my aunt died, I happened to be at the hospital where she was with my parents and her older daughter.  Once she died, we began notifying other members of the family.

My aunt's second daughter was expected shortly, and we decided we would wait and tell her when she arrived at the hospital.  Unfortunately, when we told my great-aunt, we had neglected to give instructions that my aunt's second daughter was not to be contacted.  My great-aunt called her daughter, who then called my aunt's second daughter.  I'm not close to this cousin, but that had to be a really awful way for her to find out that her mother had died-from a second cousin who lived 1000 miles away.
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: southernangel on May 06, 2011, 01:52:49 PM
Four years ago, about 5 days before Christmas, I had left work to do a little bit of last minute shopping during my lunch hour.  While in the store my cell rings, and I see its my Mom so I answer it.  Mom asked me where was I, after telling her she then says "Oh.  Well Mike is dead.  His body was found this morning by a co-worker."   Mike is one of my brothers who lived out west about 24 hours drive from we lived.  I started crying hysterically and customers around me had no clue what was going on or what to do.  I did manage to find somwhere to sit, but I was too upset to do much of anything else.  I called my husband, then I called work.  A co-worker came to pick me at the store and took me back to the office, where my husband picked me up and took me home.

I could not be mad at my mom, as she was just as or more upset than I was to hear one of her children was gone.  It was a very uncomfortable  situation to find out while in a store shopping.  It wasn't but a few hours later we left to make the long drive to take care of things.
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: Danismom on May 06, 2011, 06:59:32 PM
There are so many ways notification can go wrong.  When I'm calling family for work, I just tell them the patient has taken a turn for the worse and we need them to come to the hospital immediately.  We can tell them the sad news when they arrive.  I really don't want them driving as upset as telling them their loved one has just died might make them.  But as others have pointed out, you have to be sure you know who you are talking to first.  It also may seem insensitive, but when the patient is in a regular patient room, we try to put a sign on the closed door instructing visitors to go to the nurse's station.  That's only when there is no one in the room with the deceased.  We don't want someone to just walk in and find their loved one dead.  We'd rather talk with them and offer condolences.  Still, there is no right way for everyone.  We just do our best to let them know as gently as possible.

When my mom was found dead by my aunts, they called my husband.  He was sitting right beside me.  They wanted me to hear it personally rather than over the phone.  I appreciated it, but at the same time it was really weird.  I saw on his caller ID that it was my aunt calling.  Then he gets up, walks away, and comes back with a suitcase.  I thought something had happened to one of my aunts.  I appreciate that they were thinking of me.  I don't remember much of what he told me or when I talked with my aunts again but I know it wasn't too much later. 
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: MommyPenguin on May 06, 2011, 08:00:36 PM
My parents had the same urge not to tell me about somebody who died.  A good friend of my husband's and mine, Chris, was a groomsman in our wedding.  After the reception, Chris apparently stayed up all night and committed suicide in the early hours of the morning.  My husband and I had initially planned to go straight from our hotel room onto our honeymoon, but we'd forgotten something and stopped by my parents' house that morning to get it and had had breakfast with them.  The call came during breakfast.  My parents said that if we'd gone on our honeymoon as planned and they'd gotten the call, they would have been tempted not to tell us until after the honeymoon.  :(  We might have missed the funeral.  I'm glad that we were able to be there with our other friends at that time.  But what a miserable honeymoon we ended up having.

Also, speaking of how to tell somebody... my husband had the unenviable task of telling Chris's sister and mother that he had died.  It was sort of strange how it happened, but apparently the police came to his apartment and told his roommate.  The roommate called one of our group of friends, who called us.  My husband was the one amongst us who knew Chris's family the best, and was also a really close friend of Chris's, so he called them.  They hadn't been notified by the police yet.  He did it as best he could, though, asking them to sit down and breaking it gently.  I really didn't think he should, since we didn't have firsthand knowledge--what if somebody was wrong about it?  (I was totally in denial for the first few weeks, I got stuck in that stage of grief for quite some time.)  But the police didn't end up calling Chris's family for another 24 hours (since he didn't live at home and had a different last name from his mother, maybe?), so it ended up being best that my husband did.
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: Danismom on May 07, 2011, 04:04:35 PM
A kind of humorous story from some friends of the family.  R and C are married and around my parents' ages.  C's mother had alzheimers and lived with them.  R&C were going on vacation one year and dropped C's mother off with some other family members.  They went merrily on their vacation and had a wonderful time.  When they arrived to pick C's mother up, C's mother informed them that C's uncle had died the day before.  The funeral was the next day so they would be able to attend.  C's uncle had been in ill health so the news was not a huge surprise.  However, when asked why C's mother hadn't phoned them immediately, C's mother responded with "Well, it wasn't an emergency anymore."  We all found that incredibly funny.  She was right.  There was nothing R&C could do from their vacation and they would be back in plenty of time for the funeral.
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: Chivewarrior on May 09, 2011, 06:24:45 PM
Not as bad as some of the things here, but I came back from Pennsic (two-week-long medieval camping trip that's something like a 12-hour drive away) one year to the news that my friend's younger sister had died. My mother told me this as I was getting out of the car of my ride and into her car to go home. Considering that I almost took a ride home that would have had me getting back after the funeral, I was rather put-out she hadn't called me and told me while I was there! Sure, there's nothing I could have done from there but that's the sort of thing you interrupt with. Especially since I came back from Pennsic emotionally exhausted, as people often do after their first Pennsic, and was then hit over the head with another surprise news. (So surprising that I actually refused to process it at first, parsing it as another person with the same first name who I don't like much, and asked if I had to go to the funeral.)
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: Corbin on May 13, 2011, 09:37:04 AM
When I was 16, I was riding on a motorcycle with my boyfriend Phil, when we were hit by another car. I don't remember the accident, but I know phil gave me his helmet. When I woke up in the hospital, with a broken arm and leg, I asked if I could see Phil.

The nurse said "when you get up walking, we'll take you to the morgue."

Almost 30 years later, I still occasionally dream about it.   :'(
This is heartbreaking, and I am so sorry.

I think one of the worst things about it is I could see the nurse not realizing that you didn't know. She thought she was being supportive and helpful, offering to help you find closure, when in fact she was traumatizing you.

(hugs)
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: Poirot on May 13, 2011, 09:42:37 AM
I'm sure you're right Corbin. Now I see that she was probably an exceptionally caring person, but at the time, it ripped my heart out.

The doctor had been in the room before the nurse, and I'm sure she assumed the doctor told me.
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: Zenith on May 16, 2011, 12:03:43 AM
When I was 16, I was riding on a motorcycle with my boyfriend Phil, when we were hit by another car. I don't remember the accident, but I know phil gave me his helmet. When I woke up in the hospital, with a broken arm and leg, I asked if I could see Phil.

The nurse said "when you get up walking, we'll take you to the morgue."

Almost 30 years later, I still occasionally dream about it.   :'(

Oh wow, I....I don't know what to say, that was beyond pale. I'm so sorry.
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: Twik on May 16, 2011, 09:23:31 AM
I'm sure you're right Corbin. Now I see that she was probably an exceptionally caring person, but at the time, it ripped my heart out.

The doctor had been in the room before the nurse, and I'm sure she assumed the doctor told me.

Unfortunately, I've heard enough stories that it's not inconceivable that she knowingly broke bad news that way.

However, her response actually does make sense if she assumed you knew already. In which case, it's just a terrible miscommunication, not deliberate coldness.
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: Poirot on May 16, 2011, 09:31:11 AM
Twik - I hope it was just an assumption gone awry. It is sad indeed if someone in a professional cargegiving position would be so deliberately callous.
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: ladycrim on May 16, 2011, 01:07:53 PM
I was in college and still living at home when my great-aunt called to tell my parents and me that my great-grandmother had passed away (at age 106, bless her).  My parents were gone at a seminar all day, and I had to be somewhere else by the time they got home.  I called their cell phones, but they (knowing good manners!) had their phones shut off while in the seminar.  I couldn't leave a voice mail telling my dad that his grandmother had passed on, so I did all I could think to do: called their phones every 20-30 minutes, hoping they'd turn them on while on a break.  I also held out hope that they'd call me at some point during the day, but of course this was the one time they didn't.  The day went by, I had to leave, and I still hadn't reached them.  I was practically in hysterics by this time, hoping they'd come home before I needed to go, but they didn't.

So I wrote a note.  I just didn't know what else to do!  I worded it as gently as I could, but it was still a note.  Luckily, Mom got into the house before Dad, saw the note, and was able to break the news to him.  So it worked out as well as it could have, but I still felt terrible about it.
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: Hillia on May 16, 2011, 01:48:31 PM
My mom was in cardiac intensive care following major open heart surgery.  She was not doing well, had not woken from the anesthesia after 4 days.  Late one night, I got a call from a doctor telling me we had to get to the hospital.  I was disoriented (he woke me up) and said something like, 'Right now?' He said impatiently, 'You know she's gonna die, right?'

Well, no, no one had said that to any of us at that point.  We knew it wasn't good but we had no idea of how 'not good' it was.
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: exitzero on May 16, 2011, 02:17:03 PM
My friend's uncle was feeling really unwell, so he went to urgent care.

They did some various things like blood work, etc., then told him to wait in the waiting area.

Awhile went by and someone came out and said, "are you the patient with leukemia?"

He says, "no".

Same thing happens a little while later. Again, he informs him that he is not the patient who has leukemia.

Some more time goes by and someone comes out and says, "Aren't you Mr. So-and-so?"

"Yes".

Then, (somewhat accusingly) "You ARE the patient with leukemia!"

Thus the man finds out he as leukemia.  
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: Elfmama on May 16, 2011, 09:57:04 PM
That seems to be standard practice.  >:(  When I had my first real fibromyalgia flare, I went in for testing. (Didn't know at that time it was fibro, of course.) 

Several days later I got a phone call from someone at the doctor's office.  "You have rheumatoid arthritis.  Tell us your pharmacy so we can call in a prescription."  No appointment to discuss treatment, no referral to a rheumatologist, nuthin'.  Just "you have this life-altering disease, take a painkiller and don't bother us with your whining."

Wrong diagnosis -- I wasted a year going through every anti-inflammatory on the market.  A patient shouldn't have to sit her doctor down and say "I don't think I have ____, because I don't have the hallmark symptoms a, b, c, and d.  I want a referral to a specialist."  But I did.
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: ClaireC79 on May 18, 2011, 06:31:47 AM
Not as bad because I was already sure of the result but when I got the results of the biopsy back for celiacs it was by way of 'tell your siblings and parents to be tested if they haven't already'
'so I take it the biopsy was positive?'
'yes, markedly so but we already knew it was going to be.'

Sadly I was aware already it was going to be positive due to the change in my health since cutting out gluten and the blood tests gave it away - if they are over 200 then you never get a negative biopsy, mine were 197 so pretty close
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: Shiraz_Much? on May 27, 2011, 12:32:55 PM
When I was 9, I got off the school bus on the corner of our street.  My brother, then 7, was riding his bike towards me.  He stopped in front of me and said "Guess who died today?"  :o  I said "Um...I don't know" and then he proceeded to say the name of my grandmother who I was extremely close with.  I remember it like it was yesterday and I'm 38 now.  :'(

I ran home and into the house to say to my parents "M told me something....is it true?" and they just nodded and I burst into tears.  It was years and years before I could even speak of her without crying, and I am not an overly emotional person. 

I do understand that he was young....but it hurt so much to find out that way.
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: ArizonaGirl77 on May 27, 2011, 12:51:05 PM
My grandfather died in 2009 in a horrific car accident. He was as much my father as my biological father was and he and I were immensely close. His death absolutely, 100%, no doubt about it WRECKED ME.

So my - now EX - husband shows up at my friend's house where I was staying that weekend to "comfort"me. First thing he does upon walking in the house? Begins discussing this HORRIFIC car accident he passed on the way to said friend's house (it was NOT my grandfather's accident as that had been in CA and we were in TX). I just looked at him and said "REALLY?" and then walked out to him asking my friend "What is HER problem? I didn't say anything wrong!"  ::)

Fast forward  a week and a half and I'm supposed to be packing for the trip to the funeral. However, I could not pack! I just couldn't! I knew if I packed and got on that plane that it meant Grandpa was really gone. So it's the night before the funeral and I'm out on the porch with EXH and he asks me when I'm going to pack. I fall apart and explain why I cant. He then takes that opportunity to go on an HOUR LONG DIATRIBE against me about my "over dramatization" of this event! It was just my GRANDFATHER why do I have to be such a DRAMA QUEEN all the time! I'm so immature! I need to grow up! It went on, and on, and on, and on, and on! It was horrible! And, YES, he DID know how close Grandpa and I were!

Then, while I'm out of town for the funeral, I talked to him like 3 times in the week I was gone and each time he'd make snide comments about how nice my vacation from the kids must be, how I must be enjoying my vacation, was I going to come home with a suntan? Etc. It was my friend that got me through it! She called me every night, texted me throughout the days, and helped me stay strong!

It is still a horrible memory for me to even think about!
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: Donna on June 02, 2011, 09:24:55 PM
I loved my mother very much, but she was dreadful at delivering bad news.  There was a family in our little town with kids the same age as all of us.  I was talking to my mother on the phone when I was about 23.  She said 'Weren't you friends with Neighbor Girl?"  I said yes.  She said "Well, she killed herself by <insert gruesome manner here>."  Then she went on to a different subject while I sat there in shock.

When my grandmother died she called and said "Do you have any plans tonight?" I said yes, and I described what I had planned.  She said "Well, Grandma died."  She gets something of a pass on that one; my grandmother was her mother, and it had been a terrible day for her, but my grandmother and I had been especially close and I just fell apart.  She called the next day and apologized, but I wasn't mad at all because I couldn't imagine what it was like to have your mother die.  When she died and I got to experience it first hand, I totally understood.  But still, when my Great-Aunt died, my mother had my sister call me.
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: LeeLee88 on June 03, 2011, 02:55:50 PM
I loved my mother very much, but she was dreadful at delivering bad news.  There was a family in our little town with kids the same age as all of us.  I was talking to my mother on the phone when I was about 23.  She said 'Weren't you friends with Neighbor Girl?"  I said yes.  She said "Well, she killed herself by <insert gruesome manner here>."  Then she went on to a different subject while I sat there in shock.

When my grandmother died she called and said "Do you have any plans tonight?" I said yes, and I described what I had planned.  She said "Well, Grandma died."  She gets something of a pass on that one; my grandmother was her mother, and it had been a terrible day for her, but my grandmother and I had been especially close and I just fell apart.  She called the next day and apologized, but I wasn't mad at all because I couldn't imagine what it was like to have your mother die.  When she died and I got to experience it first hand, I totally understood.  But still, when my Great-Aunt died, my mother had my sister call me.

To the bolded: sounds a lot like what my mom did when a good friend of mine committed suicide.  My friend and I had mostly lost touch after we began college, but still sent a couple e-mails, things of that nature, and I knew she was going through a bit of a rough patch, but had no idea she was so bad off.  I was far away in another state with a boyfriend, and my mom called me to tell me what happened, and obviously, I got very emotional.  She told me that was unnecessary, and so I hung up on her.  Luckily, my boyfriend's mother was a grief counselor, and he took me right to her after calling her to say what had happened.  He even fielded a phone call from my mom the very next day asking if I was still upset, and when he confirmed that obviously I was, she goes, "Good grief, she's not over that yet?!".  He almost dislocated his jaw, it fell to the floor so hard.
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: boxy on June 06, 2011, 08:55:04 AM
I flew home after a visit with my folks - including a nice visit with my gramma.  The next morning I opened my emails (which were plentiful after being gone a week) and there was one from my mother saying, "gramma died last night." 

Unbelievable.
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: Lauren on June 25, 2011, 11:13:00 PM
My dad got his biopsy news really bad. The receptionist called up and said 'You have to come in so we can discuss your cancer treatment' This was just after being in hospital for two weeks suffering from sceptecemia from it.

My parents being in complete shock, went out for lunch and turned their phones off. A family friend told me and by the time they got home I was hysterical as they just weren't answering their phones.
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: amylouky on July 13, 2011, 10:49:44 AM
Sounds about like how I got my biopsy results.. I got a voicemail from my doc's assistant, telling me that my appointment with the oncologist was set for X date/time.. only problem was that no one had bothered to tell me that I had cancer yet.   ::)
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: Twik on July 14, 2011, 03:55:28 PM
My mother has an unfortunate tendency to start with, "I have bad news about so and so..."

And then tell the story from the start. The "start" being something like, "Well, there was this Big Bang, and the Universe started to form...."

I've been reduced to begging, "But what about so-and-so!" long before she reaches, say, the discovery of fire and flint tools.
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: girlysprite on July 18, 2011, 09:56:23 AM
Luckily I have no experience with people who delivered bad news in bad ways. I have been the messager myself, and I did a good job though it wasn't easy in one particular case.
I was in the hospital after a call from my BIL that something had happened to my sister. I went over there and got the big bad news from a police officer. I called my mother to say that I'd be over at her house for something important, so I could tell it face ot face. I figured I would let brother come over too, for the same reason.
I call him and tell him he should come over, there is something about my sister. Now, my sister has been in the hospital before because of an overdose (no, not an accident). My brother thinks its something like that, that she is on the stomach pump again and gets angry at her and me, and even starts shouting. Luckily, I managed to stop him in his stacks before he manages to say anything bad, and tell him to just get over there. Which he luckily did. He had heard from my mom already in the meantime, and was a sobbing mess when he tried to apologize to me.

Maybe my brother sounds like a bad guy here, but he had already raced to the hospital twice before in three years before that, because of voluntary overdose from my sister. He is quite hot tempered and jumped to the wrong conclusions - but then again, who would expect a death call on any given day? he apologized and meant it, and I wasn't even upset with that in the first place (had other things to be upset about) so it was fine.

And yeah, close relatives who have to relay the big bad news should be given a lot of leeway. It's not something you're trained in, and with a head full of grief it's easy to blurt it out all wrong.
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: Kimberami on July 19, 2011, 12:36:26 PM
When I was 16, I was riding on a motorcycle with my boyfriend Phil, when we were hit by another car. I don't remember the accident, but I know phil gave me his helmet. When I woke up in the hospital, with a broken arm and leg, I asked if I could see Phil.

The nurse said "when you get up walking, we'll take you to the morgue."

Almost 30 years later, I still occasionally dream about it.   :'(

That broke my heart.
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: NutMeg on July 23, 2011, 05:01:09 PM
I found out a close friend had died via a phone call in the middle of the night that woke me from a dead sleep. I checked afterward, the call was less than a minute long. It consisted of mutual friend screaming hysterically "X is dead, X is dead! She *insert gruesome method of killing oneself*. I have to go, the police are here." *click*

I swear, I almost went back to sleep because the phone call was so short and so bizarre that I hadn't really processed it at all. And then I suddenly realized what the words meant, and I was awake.
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: jedikaiti on November 07, 2011, 06:46:58 PM
Then, they planned the funeral for Saturday, the day before my birthday. I think it's pretty safe to say that birthday was the worst birthday I've ever had. :'( Everyone tried to be happy and give me a nice birthday dinner, but I was trying so hard not to bawl my eyes out.

My BF's family scheduled his grandfather's funeral for the same day as his b-day. "Are you SURE you want to do it on Tuesday?" he asked. "Of course, why not?" they replied.

It was DURING the funeral that they remembered it was his b-day, and came up with the bright idea of having a "party" with the leftover food from the funeral. His very good friend, who had come with him to the funeral, put her foot down and dragged him off for a decent dinner and a few drinks.

I know, I'm late to the thread. I'm new to the board and catching up.
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: Mental Magpie on November 07, 2011, 10:07:46 PM
Then, they planned the funeral for Saturday, the day before my birthday. I think it's pretty safe to say that birthday was the worst birthday I've ever had. :'( Everyone tried to be happy and give me a nice birthday dinner, but I was trying so hard not to bawl my eyes out.

My BF's family scheduled his grandfather's funeral for the same day as his b-day. "Are you SURE you want to do it on Tuesday?" he asked. "Of course, why not?" they replied.

It was DURING the funeral that they remembered it was his b-day, and came up with the bright idea of having a "party" with the leftover food from the funeral. His very good friend, who had come with him to the funeral, put her foot down and dragged him off for a decent dinner and a few drinks.

I know, I'm late to the thread. I'm new to the board and catching up.

Don't worry about it; old threads get revived all of the time.

Your friend should have spoken up about it being his birthday that day, too.  When there is so much else going on, especially with death (I told my mom, who didn't believe me about something, to go ask my dad about it...three days after he had just died  :-X :-[), people tend not to realize things.  I can't really fault his family for not remembering it was his birthday (though really, you would think someone would have remembered and I would be upset if I were him, too), but they definitely ruined everything by then trying to use the leftover funeral food for a party.  That's what would have ticked off me.

Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: Lady Macbeth on November 07, 2011, 11:00:11 PM
My grandma died when I was 18. I was on my way to work (still lived with the parents) when my mom's car passed me as I was stopped at the light by the house. She leaned out the window and told me to come home instead of going to work. Grandma had been sick a while so I knew what she was going to say when I got home.

Mom had called my boss to tell her I wouldn't be able to work that evening and why (I was really close to Grandma). My boss responded with, "Why can't she work? She doesn't have to go to the funeral tonight!"

Grandma died two days before my senior prom. She knew she was on her way out and had ordered that the visitation/funeral not be held until after prom. I am still touched by her thoughtfulness, but it was a pretty bittersweet prom.
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: TeamBhakta on November 07, 2011, 11:21:19 PM
BG: One of my uncles has emphysema from years of smoking. He refuses to do things the doctors suggest, like his breathing exercises. So consequently he is feeling worse as the months pass.

Last year, his son posted something on FB along the lines of "He's down to 20 %  (of something or other) now." I didn't see the post, so I don't know if the whole line was  "20 % lung capacity" or "20 % chance of survival." But all the older relatives who don't have FB heard about it from the younger relatives who saw it on FB and everyone ended up going "Oh no  :o  *runs to phone* Auntie, is it true about your husband Ill Uncle ? Is it really 20 % now ?  :'( " Auntie swore her son was incorrect and didn't know where he got that from.   
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: hobish on November 08, 2011, 11:31:05 AM

I don’t know why I didn’t post this before, except maybe it was too raw. Sometimes I wish my family had that urge to hold off on news, but they don’t. I guess I can understand, there are times I work a lot and if they always waited for me to be done work they’d barely be able to reach me. Still, finding out that your uncle/friend/cousin died when you’re sitting at work is pretty awful. The worst was from a friend, though, who I have to admit I still wonder if she was really just trying to be a drama queen. Gish says I think the worst of people, but … I don’t know, this was bad … Sabrina was a friend of my sister’s, and Drama Queen Friend knew her, too from school. One day I get a message to my work email from DQF with the header: Did you hear about Sabrina? Attached was a news article detailing how Sabrina had been about to cross the street when she was hit by a 17 year old drunk driver. She initially survived, but the driver backed up in an effort to turn the car and drive off and instead caught Sabrina again and dragged her 17 feet to her death. I have really never forgiven DQF, and I doubt I ever will. That wasn’t a matter of fumbled wording … it was an email attachment. There was forethought. I haven’t thought about that in a long time, but I still remember it like it was yesterday.


-hobish, holder of grudges
 :-[
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: violinp on November 09, 2011, 08:32:53 AM

I don’t know why I didn’t post this before, except maybe it was too raw. Sometimes I wish my family had that urge to hold off on news, but they don’t. I guess I can understand, there are times I work a lot and if they always waited for me to be done work they’d barely be able to reach me. Still, finding out that your uncle/friend/cousin died when you’re sitting at work is pretty awful. The worst was from a friend, though, who I have to admit I still wonder if she was really just trying to be a drama queen. Gish says I think the worst of people, but … I don’t know, this was bad … Sabrina was a friend of my sister’s, and Drama Queen Friend knew her, too from school. One day I get a message to my work email from DQF with the header: Did you hear about Sabrina? Attached was a news article detailing how Sabrina had been about to cross the street when she was hit by a 17 year old drunk driver. She initially survived, but the driver backed up in an effort to turn the car and drive off and instead caught Sabrina again and dragged her 17 feet to her death. I have really never forgiven DQF, and I doubt I ever will. That wasn’t a matter of fumbled wording … it was an email attachment. There was forethought. I haven’t thought about that in a long time, but I still remember it like it was yesterday.


-hobish, holder of grudges
 :-[

How awful!  :( Loads of hugs to you, hobish!
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: ZaftigWife on November 18, 2011, 12:20:00 AM
Sounds about like how I got my biopsy results.. I got a voicemail from my doc's assistant, telling me that my appointment with the oncologist was set for X date/time.. only problem was that no one had bothered to tell me that I had cancer yet.   ::)

I went to Urgent Care about pain, nausea, and vomiting; doctor said it was probably my gallbladder and sent me for an ultrasound.  Afterwards the UC nurse called me and said she had made an appointment with a surgeon for a biopsy.  Biopsy?  For a gallbladder?  Then she started yelling at me that I had to see a surgeon NOW because I had a mass on my liver.  Nice way to give that news!  ::)

(FTR - my gallbladder had to come out, and the mass on my liver was benign and did not require a biopsy.)
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: keelhaulrose on December 08, 2011, 03:09:07 PM
Hey everyone, I was gone for... a long while (as in Rosebud is no longer a bud and we've had a second bud in the family), but I've been lurking lately and came back because I have to share what my mother did when my grandfather passed recently.
Grandfather's passing was not unexpected, he had been sick and unresponsive for quite some time, and we had been told we had days, a week if were were lucky, and four days later he passed. My grandmother told my dad, who told my mother. Now, my mother and my grandfather didn't get along for a while, so she was pretty emotionless when she told me. Whatever, I can't force emotions, and at the time I was just too drained to say anything.
Since I had a ton of emotions myself at the time, and when I have too many I do something unrelated to give myself some time to step back, I went to check Facebook. Lo and behold, there was an update from my mother saying "*dad's name*'s father passed today, keep us in your thoughts and prayers" or something along those lines.
Problem is  that she was friends with a lot of my cousins. And because their parents were thinking of the best ways to break the news or taking the time to visit my grandma and postponing the news they hadn't been told. So they logged onto Facebook to see that. Luckily once I caught it I told her to take it down, and she did, but the damage had been done.
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: Mental Magpie on December 08, 2011, 09:14:16 PM
First, welcome back!

That is awful.  I don't know why people don't think about how others will feel hearing news like that.  I'm glad you caught it though.
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: VorFemme on December 08, 2011, 11:13:47 PM
Hey everyone, I was gone for... a long while (as in Rosebud is no longer a bud and we've had a second bud in the family), but I've been lurking lately and came back because I have to share what my mother did when my grandfather passed recently.
Grandfather's passing was not unexpected, he had been sick and unresponsive for quite some time, and we had been told we had days, a week if were were lucky, and four days later he passed. My grandmother told my dad, who told my mother. Now, my mother and my grandfather didn't get along for a while, so she was pretty emotionless when she told me. Whatever, I can't force emotions, and at the time I was just too drained to say anything.
Since I had a ton of emotions myself at the time, and when I have too many I do something unrelated to give myself some time to step back, I went to check Facebook. Lo and behold, there was an update from my mother saying "*dad's name*'s father passed today, keep us in your thoughts and prayers" or something along those lines.
Problem is  that she was friends with a lot of my cousins. And because their parents were thinking of the best ways to break the news or taking the time to visit my grandma and postponing the news they hadn't been told. So they logged onto Facebook to see that. Luckily once I caught it I told her to take it down, and she did, but the damage had been done.

Yeah - one of my cousins posted our grandmother's death on his FB status while my mother was still running around getting things set up to ship her body from where she died to where the funeral was to be (old family homestead where she & grandfather had retired back in 1979 and he'd passed away in 2001 - his family had been there for several generations and they are buried there together).  But I didn't get "the call" from my mother until she got home from the funeral home...........almost two hours after my daughter called me after reading HER Cousin-once-removed's FB status.............

When I had no inkling of what was going on because Mom had left her cell phone at home & only made ONE call to one of her sisters to start the notification "chain" of phone calls when she dropped by the house to pick up the outfit that Grandma was to be dressed in (she lives a mile from the nursing home).........but had too many other places to be, people to see, and things to arrange to stop & make the phone calls till after Wednesday night church services (preacher's wife & pianist). 

Not happy with Cousin but not really ticked off, either - sometimes things don't work out well on timing...............
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: emwithme on December 09, 2011, 03:38:57 PM
Grandfather's passing was not unexpected, he had been sick and unresponsive for quite some time, and we had been told we had days, a week if were were lucky, and four days later he passed. My grandmother told my dad, who told my mother. Now, my mother and my grandfather didn't get along for a while, so she was pretty emotionless when she told me. Whatever, I can't force emotions, and at the time I was just too drained to say anything.
Since I had a ton of emotions myself at the time, and when I have too many I do something unrelated to give myself some time to step back, I went to check Facebook. Lo and behold, there was an update from my mother saying "*dad's name*'s father passed today, keep us in your thoughts and prayers" or something along those lines.
Problem is  that she was friends with a lot of my cousins. And because their parents were thinking of the best ways to break the news or taking the time to visit my grandma and postponing the news they hadn't been told. So they logged onto Facebook to see that. Luckily once I caught it I told her to take it down, and she did, but the damage had been done.

Something similar happened to me when my (97 year old) grandmother (who brought me up after my mum died when I was a teenager) died earlier this year, but I (fortunately) hadn't logged on to facebook first thing, so I was told by my aunt over the phone rather than an (albeit very well-worded) message to my cousins and myself from another cousin. 

As for the PP who said that a funeral was held on their birthday, I must admit to being quite direct with my aunts about this.  My grandmother died a week before my birthday.  I just asked that the funeral not be on my birthday - my mother died on Mother's Day, and I *really* didn't want another special day marred by a sad occasion.  My family were very understanding and, in the event, outside events meant that the funeral was over four weeks after Gran passed.
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: magicdomino on December 09, 2011, 04:47:38 PM
I'm afraid my sister found out about our mother's death the hard way.  We had been told that Mother was failing, so the next day,  Sister was going to drive up from where she lived, about 4 hours away.   She mentioned that she would be stopping along the way, then would continue to come see Mother.

I got a call at 7:00 am, stating that Mother was about to pass.  I tried to call Sister, but she had already left.  This was before cell phones, and the old car phones were a rare luxury item.   Brother (who was staying with me) and I went on over to the nursing home. 

Mother passed a couple of hours later.  Brother and I hung around for an hour or so longer packing stuff and settling things, but finally we had to leave.  We were hoping Sister would stop by the house first.  No such luck; she had changed her mind and driven through, then arrived at the nursing home only a few minutes after we left, just in time to see the funeral home people wheeling out the body.   :-[

Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: Cami on December 13, 2011, 11:43:13 AM
Mymother and I lived 1500 miles apart. She died very unexpectedly at a young age. She had been admitted to a hospital for an ailment that is normally recoverable, which I knew. I had been in touch with the hospital several times and had confirmed that I was her emergency contact. On the second day of her hospitalization, my aunt called me at the crack of dawn to ask me when I was flying in.  "Why?" I asked. Silence, then my aunt said, "I guess they didn't tell you. When I called to check on her this morning -- expecting to talk to her like I did last night, the phone was re-routed to the nurse's station and they told me that overnight your mother became critically ill. She's now in ICU, but is not expected to  last the day." 

Total shock. I then raced around trying to get a flight, call work, deal with my young dd, etc etc -- all while dealing with the fact that I too was quite sick. In the midst of this mayhem, I called the hospital to reconfirm that I was her next of kin and I should be called about her condition and to complain that I had not been notified that she had taken a sharp and unexpected turn for the worst.

The nurse's response, "We can be on top of everything. This is your problem, not ours."

I did make it there before my mother died. After she died and we went to my aunt's house, the phone was ringing and my aunt grabbed it. It was the morgue at the hospital wanting to speak to me.

Them: "Hey. Whatcha wanna do with your mother's body? We need to know. We've called umpteen times and we need to know."

Me:  "Huh? It's 3am on Sunday morning. You need to know right now?"

Them: "Yeah. We can't just keep her dead body chilling here forever, you know."

Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: Mental Magpie on December 13, 2011, 12:21:24 PM
Mymother and I lived 1500 miles apart. She died very unexpectedly at a young age. She had been admitted to a hospital for an ailment that is normally recoverable, which I knew. I had been in touch with the hospital several times and had confirmed that I was her emergency contact. On the second day of her hospitalization, my aunt called me at the crack of dawn to ask me when I was flying in.  "Why?" I asked. Silence, then my aunt said, "I guess they didn't tell you. When I called to check on her this morning -- expecting to talk to her like I did last night, the phone was re-routed to the nurse's station and they told me that overnight your mother became critically ill. She's now in ICU, but is not expected to  last the day." 

Total shock. I then raced around trying to get a flight, call work, deal with my young dd, etc etc -- all while dealing with the fact that I too was quite sick. In the midst of this mayhem, I called the hospital to reconfirm that I was her next of kin and I should be called about her condition and to complain that I had not been notified that she had taken a sharp and unexpected turn for the worst.

The nurse's response, "We can be on top of everything. This is your problem, not ours."

I did make it there before my mother died. After she died and we went to my aunt's house, the phone was ringing and my aunt grabbed it. It was the morgue at the hospital wanting to speak to me.

Them: "Hey. Whatcha wanna do with your mother's body? We need to know. We've called umpteen times and we need to know."

Me:  "Huh? It's 3am on Sunday morning. You need to know right now?"

Them: "Yeah. We can't just keep her dead body chilling here forever, you know."
:o

  :o :o

 :o :o :o

I would be reporting both of them.  I would not have been nice to that nurse.  "So ailing patients aren't your problem?  What the *naughty words* are you doing working as a nurse?!"

As for the morgue, what the?  Who makes calls at 3am and expects them to be answered!?

I am sorry about all of this, I can't believe those people put you through more in a difficult time.

Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: ladycrim on December 13, 2011, 04:51:19 PM
Hey everyone, I was gone for... a long while (as in Rosebud is no longer a bud and we've had a second bud in the family), but I've been lurking lately and came back because I have to share what my mother did when my grandfather passed recently.
Grandfather's passing was not unexpected, he had been sick and unresponsive for quite some time, and we had been told we had days, a week if were were lucky, and four days later he passed. My grandmother told my dad, who told my mother. Now, my mother and my grandfather didn't get along for a while, so she was pretty emotionless when she told me. Whatever, I can't force emotions, and at the time I was just too drained to say anything.
Since I had a ton of emotions myself at the time, and when I have too many I do something unrelated to give myself some time to step back, I went to check Facebook. Lo and behold, there was an update from my mother saying "*dad's name*'s father passed today, keep us in your thoughts and prayers" or something along those lines.
Problem is  that she was friends with a lot of my cousins. And because their parents were thinking of the best ways to break the news or taking the time to visit my grandma and postponing the news they hadn't been told. So they logged onto Facebook to see that. Luckily once I caught it I told her to take it down, and she did, but the damage had been done.

I found out that my cousin's other grandfather died when I read it on FB.  I called my mother to find out why she didn't tell me, only to learn it was news to her too.

I used that as an object lesson when my grandmother passed away last month, and swore I wouldn't post it to FB until the family had all been told.  My hand was slightly forced the next day, though, when another relative posted a condolence on my wall and accidentially put that my mother had died instead of my grandmother.  I had to post fast so I wouldn't get panicked questions!
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: violinp on December 13, 2011, 05:01:40 PM
Mymother and I lived 1500 miles apart. She died very unexpectedly at a young age. She had been admitted to a hospital for an ailment that is normally recoverable, which I knew. I had been in touch with the hospital several times and had confirmed that I was her emergency contact. On the second day of her hospitalization, my aunt called me at the crack of dawn to ask me when I was flying in.  "Why?" I asked. Silence, then my aunt said, "I guess they didn't tell you. When I called to check on her this morning -- expecting to talk to her like I did last night, the phone was re-routed to the nurse's station and they told me that overnight your mother became critically ill. She's now in ICU, but is not expected to  last the day." 

Total shock. I then raced around trying to get a flight, call work, deal with my young dd, etc etc -- all while dealing with the fact that I too was quite sick. In the midst of this mayhem, I called the hospital to reconfirm that I was her next of kin and I should be called about her condition and to complain that I had not been notified that she had taken a sharp and unexpected turn for the worst.

The nurse's response, "We can be on top of everything. This is your problem, not ours."

I did make it there before my mother died. After she died and we went to my aunt's house, the phone was ringing and my aunt grabbed it. It was the morgue at the hospital wanting to speak to me.

Them: "Hey. Whatcha wanna do with your mother's body? We need to know. We've called umpteen times and we need to know."

Me:  "Huh? It's 3am on Sunday morning. You need to know right now?"

Them: "Yeah. We can't just keep her dead body chilling here forever, you know."
:o

  :o :o

 :o :o :o

I would be reporting both of them.  I would not have been nice to that nurse.  "So ailing patients aren't your problem?  What the *naughty words* are you doing working as a nurse?!"

As for the morgue, what the?  Who makes calls at 3am and expects them to be answered!?

I am sorry about all of this, I can't believe those people put you through more in a difficult time.

POD! How awful for you CamiCar!
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: JadeAngel on December 13, 2011, 09:04:44 PM
When my grandmother died the family had her cremated. At the time no-one felt up to dealing with the ashes (her passing was rather sudden)and the crematorium assured us that there was an extended 'grace period' during which they would store the ashes until the family was ready to collect them. I wasn't in on all arrangements for her memorial, but somehow we all received the impression that the grace period was six months.

Except apparently not, because one day about two and a half months later, my grandfather was pottering around his home when there was a ring on the doorbell and he opened the front door to have a courier thrust a box containing his wife's ashes into his hand with a curt 'Delivery. Sign here'

My grandfather had been doing quite well up until that point, but being confronted like this with the ashes of his late wife distressed him considerably. I should note that we spoke to the crematorium and they were most apologetic, but that does not change the fact that my grandmothers ashes were transported by motorcycle courier and presented without any warning to her grieving widower, which should definitely not have happened.
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: Groundsgirl on December 29, 2011, 03:29:27 AM
I was the deliverer of bad news once and there is probably a story being passed around my distant relatives about the time when Soandso died and his granddaughter was rude about it.

In my defense I was sound asleep when the person called and asked about my grandfather.

When I was 18, my beloved grandfather was dying of lung cancer. He was at my mothers house under hospice care when the end finally came (peacefully and gentle as my mother, my grandmother, and I sat holding his hands and singing to him). The rest of the family had dispersed to go handle whatever needed to be handled to arrange the funeral and the contacting of relatives and so on.

I was home alone and exhausted mentally and physically. I took a nap and was woken by a phone call from a distant relative. She asked me how he was doing. I answered, "Fine, I guess. He is dead now." and hung up the phone.

Looking back on that makes me squirm a little.  :-\
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: Mental Magpie on December 29, 2011, 07:31:10 AM
I was the deliverer of bad news once and there is probably a story being passed around my distant relatives about the time when Soandso died and his granddaughter was rude about it.

In my defense I was sound asleep when the person called and asked about my grandfather.

When I was 18, my beloved grandfather was dying of lung cancer. He was at my mothers house under hospice care when the end finally came (peacefully and gentle as my mother, my grandmother, and I sat holding his hands and singing to him). The rest of the family had dispersed to go handle whatever needed to be handled to arrange the funeral and the contacting of relatives and so on.

I was home alone and exhausted mentally and physically. I took a nap and was woken by a phone call from a distant relative. She asked me how he was doing. I answered, "Fine, I guess. He is dead now." and hung up the phone.

Looking back on that makes me squirm a little.  :-\

Ouch.

All I can hope is that the caller realized from your voice that you were mostly asleep.  As someone that was there when he died, I also give you a pass for being under enormous amounts of stress.  When my mom called me to tell me my dad had passed, the phone call was short.  I completely understand why she wanted to get off the phone.  I hope your relatives understand, too.

My condolences for your grandfather's passing.
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: GreenEyedHawk on December 29, 2011, 03:49:44 PM
My paternal grandmother passed away in October of 2010.  She had been ailing for quite some time; she was a diabetic who did not take care of herself, so all the issues that come with that were troubling her, as well as advancing Parkinson's disease and heart trouble.  She had been in a vegetative state for about three months when my father called me and told me they were planning to take her off life support and, as he put it, "Let her find her way."  I had not seen her for many years, but I remember her as a tough, no-nonsense, formidable woman.  I did not want to see what my mom later described as "all 98 pounds of her" comatose in a hospital bed.  I wanted to remember her the way she was.

As it was, my parents were going to fly to Thunder Bay to be there when she was removed from life support, and I was planning to join them later, when they were to call me to tell me Gramma had passed so I could be there for the funeral.  However, that meant that when they called, I was basically going to have to drop everything and head to the airport Right Now.  I told my manager at work, who was fortunately sympathetic and told me to just do whatever I had to do.  The owner, however, not so much. 

See, at the time I was working at a dog daycare, and my schedule was, I would work on the daycare floor in the mornings, managing the large dogs, and in the afternoons I would take grooming appointments.  I was the daycare's only groomer.  So when I told the daycare owner what was going on, and that at some point during the week it was likely that I was going to have to drop everything and leave at a moment's notice, her response was, "But what about the grooming customers?"  I just stared at her and said, slowly and distinctly, "My.  Grandmother. Is.  DYING."  Her response? "I know, but what about..."

I know interrupting is rude, but I broke in and snapped.  "I SAID, my grandmother is dying.  I am going to Ontario for her funeral.  I don't care what you tell the grooming customers but I'll bet they'll be a lot more understanding than you!"  Yes, I know it was rude, but I was upset and stressed out.  The owner looked taken aback; I'd never spoken to her...or any boss, really...like that before or since.

For the record, I made it to Thunder Bay for the funeral, stayed a few days, and was back at work the following Monday.  Total days of work missed?  Half a day.  I ended up leaving halfway through the day Thursday, the manager was smart enough to simply not book any clients on Friday, the funeral was on Saturday, after which I called the manager and told her I'd be back Monday.  She told me I could take a few more days if I wanted.  It was kind of her, but at the time I just couldn't afford to.  As good as the manager was, after that I just couldn't take the owner anymore and quit shortly thereafter.
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: Elfmama on January 31, 2012, 02:45:31 PM
My DD#2 found out about her friend's murder in a really bad way.

Since initials confuse the heck out of me in stories, I'm going to assign psuedonyms here.

DD#2- Terry
Her friend -- Jenny
Jenny's mother -- Debbie
Murdered friend -- Sarah

I didn't know Sarah, but in her teens Jenny was like our third daughter.

About mid-morning one day, I got a call from Debbie.  "I really need help.  Jenny just called me from school.  She and Terry and their friends are in the nurse's office in hysterics.  Their friend Sarah was  murdered by her ex-boyfriend over the weekend.  I'm at work and can't leave right away. Can you go to them?"

I said "I'm out the door, Debbie.  Do you want me to bring Jenny home with me?"  And I grabbed keys and purse and Elfqueen and booked.

We found half-a-dozen girls in hysterics, and it was good that there were two of us.  All we could do was hug them and rock them and let them cry and tell me the story.  :'(

They had found out via school grapevine. "Did you hear about that female dog Sarah?  She got herself murdered last Saturday." 

Dear gods.   "Got herself murdered" as if she had any responsibility for what happened.  Terry and Jenny grieved for several years over her death, but I don't think they'll ever forget how they found out.

Some deaths there's no good way to find out. Jenny's parents were separated, and her father lived out of state.  She called us in the middle of the night a couple of years later.  Her father had died the week before, but his body had just been discovered.  :(  Try hearing that from a police officer.
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: violinp on January 31, 2012, 02:50:38 PM
My DD#2 found out about her friend's murder in a really bad way.

Since initials confuse the heck out of me in stories, I'm going to assign psuedonyms here.

DD#2- Terry
Her friend -- Jenny
Jenny's mother -- Debbie
Murdered friend -- Sarah

I didn't know Sarah, but in her teens Jenny was like our third daughter.

About mid-morning one day, I got a call from Debbie.  "I really need help.  Jenny just called me from school.  She and Terry and their friends are in the nurse's office in hysterics.  Their friend Sarah was  murdered by her ex-boyfriend over the weekend.  I'm at work and can't leave right away. Can you go to them?"

I said "I'm out the door, Debbie.  Do you want me to bring Jenny home with me?"  And I grabbed keys and purse and Elfqueen and booked.

We found half-a-dozen girls in hysterics, and it was good that there were two of us.  All we could do was hug them and rock them and let them cry and tell me the story.  :'(

They had found out via school grapevine. "Did you hear about that female dog Sarah?  She got herself murdered last Saturday." 

Dear gods.   "Got herself murdered" as if she had any responsibility for what happened.  Terry and Jenny grieved for several years over her death, but I don't think they'll ever forget how they found out.

Some deaths there's no good way to find out. Jenny's parents were separated, and her father lived out of state.  She called us in the middle of the night a couple of years later.  Her father had died the week before, but his body had just been discovered.  :(  Try hearing that from a police officer.

Got herself murdered...that's just sick. So many hugs to everyone involved.

My dad had to leave school to identify the body of his murdered uncle. Apparently, the adults were too busy to take time off work, so it fell to the high schooler boy to see the gruesome sight.  :'(
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: The TARDIS on April 19, 2013, 08:22:18 PM
I know this topic is old, however I wanted to add something I witnessed a few years ago.

Two doctors at a hospital where I worked were discussing a patient that died unexpectedly. The doctor in charge of the patient had not spoken to the family yet. Unbeknownst to them the man's wife was in the hall going to the room, and heard the doctors talking. The wife's cell phone had died which made her unable to be reached. What a horrible way to find out that her husband died :(
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: Minmom3 on April 19, 2013, 10:24:57 PM
Mymother and I lived 1500 miles apart. She died very unexpectedly at a young age. She had been admitted to a hospital for an ailment that is normally recoverable, which I knew. I had been in touch with the hospital several times and had confirmed that I was her emergency contact. On the second day of her hospitalization, my aunt called me at the crack of dawn to ask me when I was flying in.  "Why?" I asked. Silence, then my aunt said, "I guess they didn't tell you. When I called to check on her this morning -- expecting to talk to her like I did last night, the phone was re-routed to the nurse's station and they told me that overnight your mother became critically ill. She's now in ICU, but is not expected to  last the day." 

Total shock. I then raced around trying to get a flight, call work, deal with my young dd, etc etc -- all while dealing with the fact that I too was quite sick. In the midst of this mayhem, I called the hospital to reconfirm that I was her next of kin and I should be called about her condition and to complain that I had not been notified that she had taken a sharp and unexpected turn for the worst.

The nurse's response, "We can be on top of everything. This is your problem, not ours."

I did make it there before my mother died. After she died and we went to my aunt's house, the phone was ringing and my aunt grabbed it. It was the morgue at the hospital wanting to speak to me.

Them: "Hey. Whatcha wanna do with your mother's body? We need to know. We've called umpteen times and we need to know."

Me:  "Huh? It's 3am on Sunday morning. You need to know right now?"

Them: "Yeah. We can't just keep her dead body chilling here forever, you know."
:o

  :o :o

 :o :o :o

I would be reporting both of them.  I would not have been nice to that nurse.  "So ailing patients aren't your problem?  What the *naughty words* are you doing working as a nurse?!"

As for the morgue, what the?  Who makes calls at 3am and expects them to be answered!?

I am sorry about all of this, I can't believe those people put you through more in a difficult time.

I have a horrible 2nd hand morgue story:  Used to have a neighbor, who had married right out of high school when she got pregnant with twins with her boyfriend, only to find out that he was a heroin user and nobody in his family had bothered to tell her.  They got divorced a few years down the line, and a few years after that, she re-married.  Ex never turned his life around.  Went to rehab and got out a few days before his birthday.  Partied a bit too hard on his birthday, and died of an OD.  Friends brought him home to his current girlfriends home, rang the bell, and left him on the door step.  HOWEVER, because my neighbor was the mother of his only children, SHE got the middle of the night call, although she wasn't told for over a week that it was a drug OD, she was told it was a car accident.  And, as the mother of his minor heirs, SHE had to release his body to his aunt for burial, as his mother was in too poor health to handle anything.  She had to go down to the morgue and sign the papers to do it, too, she couldn't waive anything over the phone.  She fumed for months over that mess.
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: kareng57 on April 19, 2013, 11:35:53 PM
I know this topic is old, however I wanted to add something I witnessed a few years ago.

Two doctors at a hospital where I worked were discussing a patient that died unexpectedly. The doctor in charge of the patient had not spoken to the family yet. Unbeknownst to them the man's wife was in the hall going to the room, and heard the doctors talking. The wife's cell phone had died which made her unable to be reached. What a horrible way to find out that her husband died :(


While this is terrible, I really don't think that there was any misconduct here.  Just very bad timing, no one was at fault.
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: BarensMom on April 20, 2013, 12:03:53 AM
I know this topic is old, however I wanted to add something I witnessed a few years ago.

Two doctors at a hospital where I worked were discussing a patient that died unexpectedly. The doctor in charge of the patient had not spoken to the family yet. Unbeknownst to them the man's wife was in the hall going to the room, and heard the doctors talking. The wife's cell phone had died which made her unable to be reached. What a horrible way to find out that her husband died :(

While this is terrible, I really don't think that there was any misconduct here.  Just very bad timing, no one was at fault.

Two healthcare professionals discussing a patient in the hallway is a blatant violation of HIPAA.

One morning, my mother and I were eating breakfast.  The phone rings and I answer it.  It was the cousin who lived with my maternal grandmother.  Cousin tells me, "I think Grandma is dead.  She's cold and not moving.  I called the police."
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on April 20, 2013, 08:38:49 AM
Mymother and I lived 1500 miles apart. She died very unexpectedly at a young age. She had been admitted to a hospital for an ailment that is normally recoverable, which I knew. I had been in touch with the hospital several times and had confirmed that I was her emergency contact. On the second day of her hospitalization, my aunt called me at the crack of dawn to ask me when I was flying in.  "Why?" I asked. Silence, then my aunt said, "I guess they didn't tell you. When I called to check on her this morning -- expecting to talk to her like I did last night, the phone was re-routed to the nurse's station and they told me that overnight your mother became critically ill. She's now in ICU, but is not expected to  last the day." 

Total shock. I then raced around trying to get a flight, call work, deal with my young dd, etc etc -- all while dealing with the fact that I too was quite sick. In the midst of this mayhem, I called the hospital to reconfirm that I was her next of kin and I should be called about her condition and to complain that I had not been notified that she had taken a sharp and unexpected turn for the worst.

The nurse's response, "We can be on top of everything. This is your problem, not ours."

I did make it there before my mother died. After she died and we went to my aunt's house, the phone was ringing and my aunt grabbed it. It was the morgue at the hospital wanting to speak to me.

Them: "Hey. Whatcha wanna do with your mother's body? We need to know. We've called umpteen times and we need to know."

Me:  "Huh? It's 3am on Sunday morning. You need to know right now?"

Them: "Yeah. We can't just keep her dead body chilling here forever, you know."

What in the-  I'm with Mental Maggie!  Those women deserved to be reported for that! 
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on April 20, 2013, 08:55:56 AM
My DD#2 found out about her friend's murder in a really bad way.

Since initials confuse the heck out of me in stories, I'm going to assign psuedonyms here.

DD#2- Terry
Her friend -- Jenny
Jenny's mother -- Debbie
Murdered friend -- Sarah

I didn't know Sarah, but in her teens Jenny was like our third daughter.

About mid-morning one day, I got a call from Debbie.  "I really need help.  Jenny just called me from school.  She and Terry and their friends are in the nurse's office in hysterics.  Their friend Sarah was  murdered by her ex-boyfriend over the weekend.  I'm at work and can't leave right away. Can you go to them?"

I said "I'm out the door, Debbie.  Do you want me to bring Jenny home with me?"  And I grabbed keys and purse and Elfqueen and booked.

We found half-a-dozen girls in hysterics, and it was good that there were two of us.  All we could do was hug them and rock them and let them cry and tell me the story.  :'(

They had found out via school grapevine. "Did you hear about that female dog Sarah?  She got herself murdered last Saturday." 

Dear gods.   "Got herself murdered" as if she had any responsibility for what happened.  Terry and Jenny grieved for several years over her death, but I don't think they'll ever forget how they found out.

Some deaths there's no good way to find out. Jenny's parents were separated, and her father lived out of state.  She called us in the middle of the night a couple of years later.  Her father had died the week before, but his body had just been discovered.  :(  Try hearing that from a police officer.

That's awful!! 
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: nuit93 on April 20, 2013, 06:49:12 PM
Ten years ago (next month, actually) a close friend of mine committed suicide.  I found out he had died many months later, and how he had died not too long after that.

His parents had gotten the call when they were on the way to the airport to pick him up from college.  They didn't tell his sister HOW he had died, and she didn't know for the longest time how to reach out to his friends to let them know.  She ended up sneaking into his room when they weren't home and finding his phone book, so I got the call around October.  It wasn't until the following January or so that his parents would even tell her how it had happened.
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: The TARDIS on April 20, 2013, 11:48:11 PM
I know this topic is old, however I wanted to add something I witnessed a few years ago.

Two doctors at a hospital where I worked were discussing a patient that died unexpectedly. The doctor in charge of the patient had not spoken to the family yet. Unbeknownst to them the man's wife was in the hall going to the room, and heard the doctors talking. The wife's cell phone had died which made her unable to be reached. What a horrible way to find out that her husband died :(

While this is terrible, I really don't think that there was any misconduct here.  Just very bad timing, no one was at fault.

Two healthcare professionals discussing a patient in the hallway is a blatant violation of HIPAA.

Exactly. That's why I posted it in this thread of "Bad ways to get bad news." I hope they were fired. Unfortunately, I don't know whether they were or not, as I changed hospitals shortly after the incident.
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: kareng57 on April 20, 2013, 11:52:26 PM
I know this topic is old, however I wanted to add something I witnessed a few years ago.

Two doctors at a hospital where I worked were discussing a patient that died unexpectedly. The doctor in charge of the patient had not spoken to the family yet. Unbeknownst to them the man's wife was in the hall going to the room, and heard the doctors talking. The wife's cell phone had died which made her unable to be reached. What a horrible way to find out that her husband died :(

While this is terrible, I really don't think that there was any misconduct here.  Just very bad timing, no one was at fault.

Two healthcare professionals discussing a patient in the hallway is a blatant violation of HIPAA.

Exactly. That's why I posted it in this thread of "Bad ways to get bad news." I hope they were fired. Unfortunately, I don't know whether they were or not, as I changed hospitals shortly after the incident.


Okay, I don't want to get this thread locked but I'm in a country that is not governed by HIPAA.  Not all hospital rooms are private and it's very possible that a patient's roommate could end up overhearing medical information.  Definitely not ideal, but just the way that it is, here.
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: Iris on April 21, 2013, 04:08:16 AM
*snipped*

One morning, my mother and I were eating breakfast.  The phone rings and I answer it.  It was the cousin who lived with my maternal grandmother.  Cousin tells me, "I think Grandma is dead.  She's cold and not moving.  I called the police."

I can kind of see this. Late-ish at night one night I heard a knock on the side window of my house. It was my elderly neighbour saying "Can you come help? I can't wake *husband* up and he's all cold." She was really just in total denial that he'd gone, even though it had been coming for a while. Walking over there is the only time in my life I've ever given myself a pep talk actually out loud.
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: Twik on April 22, 2013, 10:56:53 AM
*snipped*

One morning, my mother and I were eating breakfast.  The phone rings and I answer it.  It was the cousin who lived with my maternal grandmother.  Cousin tells me, "I think Grandma is dead.  She's cold and not moving.  I called the police."

I can kind of see this. Late-ish at night one night I heard a knock on the side window of my house. It was my elderly neighbour saying "Can you come help? I can't wake *husband* up and he's all cold." She was really just in total denial that he'd gone, even though it had been coming for a while. Walking over there is the only time in my life I've ever given myself a pep talk actually out loud.

Yes. The cousin here isn't breaking bad news badly - they're in shock and looking for help, or at least to be told they've done what they can.
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: Lillie82 on October 10, 2013, 03:41:11 PM
If you followed country music at all during the 1990s, you might remember that eight people who were part of Reba McEntire's show were killed in (I think) 1991, when their small plane crashed.

Seven of those were musicians; one had the job title of "tour manager."

McEntire wrote in her autobiography about the crash, and about how the media reported the deaths of "seven musicians and the manager" of the Reba McEntire show. Since McEntire's husband was a different kind of manager for her (I think they call him "career manager") his children by his first marriage thought their father was dead, at first after seeing the media reports.  :o What a difference a few words, make, in reporting!

And recently, a local newscaster in my community made a pretty bad blunder when reporting a death, although here the issue was not so much about loved one's finding out that the person had died; they had known that before the news did.

The deceased was a young person who had several conditions and disabilities. One of which was autism. I think he had a seizure disorder and died of complications of that. A local newscaster posted that he "died of autism."  :o Can you imagine how freaked out young children with autism would be after reading / hearing that?

While it's common for people with autism to also have other health problems, including this seizure disorder, autism doesn't cause death.
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: livluvlaf on May 29, 2014, 03:02:21 PM
My mother has an unfortunate tendency to start with, "I have bad news about so and so..."

And then tell the story from the start. The "start" being something like, "Well, there was this Big Bang, and the Universe started to form...."

I've been reduced to begging, "But what about so-and-so!" long before she reaches, say, the discovery of fire and flint tools.

LOL - I feel your pain ... My own mother is the very same way!!

Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: AnaMaria on August 06, 2014, 02:10:53 PM
In college, I listened to a guest speaker at a campus-ministry who told a story about being hit by a car and breaking his leg when he was in grade school.  Of course, cell phones weren't commonplace yet and his parents' employers had to be contacted via phonecall. 

His father's boss approached him and said, "Hey, first off, your son is okay- but he broke his leg and is at the hospital right now.  I'll sign you out for the day and you can head right down there."

His mother's boss stopped her in a hallway, took her by the shoulders and said, "Your son was hit by a car.  Get to the hospital right now."

Of course, poor mom came rushing into the hospital in hysterics to find dad and son (with his leg in a cast) watching cartoons and eating popsicles.  Mom was less than amused.
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: Pandora on September 05, 2014, 07:53:29 AM
 I remember when American Airlines Flight 587 crashed in Queens, New York a couple of months after 9/11. When it was quickly determined it was not an act of terrorism there seemed to be an attitude of Thank Heavens. Hey, 265 were just killed, but it wasn't by terrorism!  :-\
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: Pandora on September 05, 2014, 08:16:30 AM
 Several posters have written about crass health care providers. I once had the son of a patient in the long-term care facility I worked in call and ask me if his father was going to "croak" anytime soon. I came up with some response along the lines of Well, we never know for sure about these things .... this produced a long tale of woe regarding how he was going to have to take time off work without pay and make costly travel arrangements to see Dad while still alive and he wanted to make sure Dad was close to croaking before he did all this.

 Ribbit, ribbit .......  ???
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: gingerzing on September 05, 2014, 09:54:08 AM
I have a funny one, but still not a good way to deliver the news of a death. 

When my father passed away, most of the family had come down.  (He had been very ill and had been in a nursing home for the last 5-6 months)  After he passed, different siblings called their family members to let everyone know and that the next day we got the funeral planned.
The day after, my mom's sister (AuntyG) asked if I wanted to leave the house for a little bit.  She needed to meet up with my cousin/her son T to give him something.  Cousin T lived in the same BigCity as my folks, but didn't visit much because of his work schedule. 
AuntyG and I meet up with CousinT to get him said item and then went out for lunch.  As we were waiting for our meals, AuntyG started saying about how she knew that CousinT probably couldn't get the time off at such short notice and that my mom would understand.
CousinT started to look confused.  I nudged AuntyG.  She suddenly realized in all the calling she had done the day before, she hadn't got ahold of CousinT.  Or had gotten a voicemail and wanted to tell him not leave it as a message.  Then promptly forgot that she while she HAD called him, she hadn't actually talked to him.
AuntyG then said in a surprised and shocked voice, "Oh dear.  That's right I forgot to tell you that UncleZing passed away Tuesday afternoon." And oddly all of us laughed at the absurdity of the statement. 

I am quite sure that the people in the booth next to us thought us completely mad or at the very least terribly insensitve.   My father, however, would have thought it quite funny.
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: GratefulMaria on October 03, 2014, 01:42:03 PM
DH is military and was active duty during the Gulf War.  We lived on post, and most of the service members were deployed.  The wives (almost all the spouses were female) had evolved a habit of phoning ahead of visits to each other's quarters, or hollering through a window on our way over, or something.  No doorbells without advance warning.  That's what a notification team did.  The day after DH got home, our doorbell rang, and my reptile brain was gearing for the worst when I got up to answer it -- only to glance over and see him sitting in the living room, unpacking.

When my father died, the hospital's response could have been used for a training video.  He had a heart episode at home, and an ambulance came for him.  We were ushered to a separate waiting room when we showed up, and the ER physician came in while they were working on him to update us on his condition.  He was also very professional and compassionate when he came to tell us he had died.  Then a grief counselor came in to talk to us, and after that another staff member brought us to a private area to see him.  My father's cardiologist was in the area and made it a point to approach us with his condolences.  The most wonderful thing to me, though, was what the ER doc said to my mother:  "You did everything right."  It saved her years of self-recrimination, and I'll always be grateful to him.

Poor DS1, though.  He was in high school at the time, and already at school when my father got sick, so I needed to have him called to the office to let him know and let him decide whether to stay for the rest of the day or not (he opted to stay, and actually went on a field trip to do cleanup at an area farm).  A few weeks later, I went to have him dismissed for an orthodontic appointment I had forgotten to mention ahead of time, and he had a bad couple of moments until he realized the reason he was called out of class.  (Footnote, another place that did it right -- they set a room aside for us, guidance counselor spoke with me, gave me privacy to tell him, then she came back in to speak with him for a bit.  Really well done.)

I do worry about not screwing up this kind of thing, to the point of mentally preparing how to handle it ahead of time.  DS1 (24) lives with his girlfriend, and I could see contacting her in some circumstances; they live less than two hours drive from here, so telling him something in person is also an option.  DS2 (21) is at school thousands of miles away, but his girlfriend is from out there and her nearby parents are tactful and warm-hearted people.  He's also a full-time student, and there's on-campus staff to call upon if needed.  Both sons have someone loving and kind close by.
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: sleepy59 on October 03, 2014, 02:39:38 PM
My ex-husband was diagnosed with cancer 3.5 years ago, when we realised that he was terminal and near the end (he didn't ever tell me or the kids that it was terminal but the updates I got from my ex-mil gave it away) I had one boy at university, one boy at college locally and my daughter in school.  I spoke to both of my boys to find out how they wanted to be told.  My oldest asked me to text him, he said if he was in a lecture he wouldn't answer the phone but would be able to read a text.  My middle son asked me to text him if he wasn't at home.  I told me daughter that I would come to school to tell her.  I didn't want any of them to risk finding out from someone other than me.

When the time came I was at work, my husband took the call from my ex-sil and then called me.  I sent the oldest a text and he replied he was on his way home.  My middle son was about to walk to college with a friend so my husband told him.  I then drove to school to tell my daughter.  Her school was fantastic, the head teacher gave me her office and went to get my daughter from class.  She told me later she knew what was going on when she saw that her headteacher had tears in her eyes!  We were given the privacy we needed and then the head stepped in to organise the practical things like getting my daughters resources from class and her locker and arranging storage for her bike until we were ready to go back to school to get it.

All three have since told me that we handled the situation in the best way, the oldest wasn't afraid of the phone ringing, the middle one was supported by his friend and my daughter knew how much support she had.

On the other extreme one of my daughter's friends found out her cousin had died by overhearing a phone call, apparently it wasn't an unexpected death but the girl hadn't even been told her cousin was ill so for her it was a complete shock.
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: Sara Crewe on October 07, 2014, 05:17:39 PM
The only time I've been in this position was professionally.  I was at court and an elderly couple asked for my help finding out when their son would be produced from the cells.  I ring downstairs, he isn't there.  That isn't uncommon if someone misses the cut off time for transport.  I therefore ring the police station (over the road from the court) and the custody sergeant puts me on hold.  The next thing I know, I'm speaking to a  Superintendant.  It turns out the son died in custody the night before  (nothing dubious, there are cameras in UK police stations and no one did anything wrong).

The police asked me to get the couple over to the police station so they could break the news so I had to escort an elderly couple over there knowing their son was dead. (They weren't my clients so i didn't have any legal obligation to tell them anything and I thought a 5 minute delay so they could be told in private in the presence of someone trained to do victim notifications was a good idea).

I still remember it 15 years later.
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: Peppergirl on October 09, 2014, 10:49:22 PM
When my grandfather died, we were notified like so:

Me: (answering phone and hearing it's the nursing home, asking to speak with my dad).  *Dads-name* is out in the garage right now, I'll let him know you called.

Staff member:  This is urgent! Mr. (my maiden name) has just collapsed and died!

Me:   :o

Also (aside from the horrifying way in which I was told), it was a bit of a shock because he was in a nursing facility not so much due to his physical decline, but for Alzheimer's disease.  Yes, I realize that it eventually causes death but this was a heart-attack.  Also, he wasn't that old - just 70 or so.   

I was 19 years old and a brand new mom at the time, so I was already extra sensitive.  It was traumatizing.  I'll never, ever forget it. 

Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: jtimenow on October 22, 2014, 11:59:10 AM
I found out my grandmother died by reading it in the newspaper. My mother was not speaking to me or my sister and moved my grandmother from her nursing home and wouldn't tell us where she moved her. I was 8 and 1/2 months pregnant and Thanksgiving was two days away. I opened the paper and there was my grandmother listed. My mother also didn't mention us in the obituary. I had to call my sister to tell her. It was horrible.

My mother is mean like that though. She loves the shock value.
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: Diane AKA Traska on October 25, 2014, 01:34:50 PM
I found out my grandmother died by reading it in the newspaper. My mother was not speaking to me or my sister and moved my grandmother from her nursing home and wouldn't tell us where she moved her. I was 8 and 1/2 months pregnant and Thanksgiving was two days away. I opened the paper and there was my grandmother listed. My mother also didn't mention us in the obituary. I had to call my sister to tell her. It was horrible.

My mother is mean like that though. She loves the shock value.

Uh, wow.  There are no words to describe how few words there are!

It's threads like this that make me a tiny bit glad (and massively guilty for the glad feeling) that Mom lingered a few days before passing.  Her death was not a shock.
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: Specky on October 26, 2014, 03:13:57 PM
During a phone call from my parents when they called to address a completely different matter:

"Oh, yeah, and your Grandfather died."

Finally found out that he had died several weeks prior, the services had been held, and folks were told that I just didn't want to come.  Thanks.
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: nutraxfornerves on October 26, 2014, 04:14:49 PM
This one is not as serious. A friend told me this story about some of her relatives. Junior, the oldest child, had gone off to a university on the other side of the country. He developed acute appendicitis and had to have emergency surgery before it ruptured (he recovered perfectly). The university health service called his parents.

By all reports, the university person handled it well. That is, once the university person could tell the story. Dad answered the phone. Dad was not the kind of person who did well in a crisis.  The caller got as far as "Mr. Smith? I'm so-and-so from university health services. Your son, Junior, has been admitted to our hospital..." At which point, Dad toppled over in a dead faint. Mom took over and got everything sorted out.

For the rest of his life, Dad never again answered the phone. 
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: LilacGirl1983 on July 15, 2015, 06:48:25 PM
When my grandpa's 2nd wife was in the hospital dying from lung cancer we were told it was only a matter of days. We went in and visited right away. Next day in the afternoon I check facebook to find out that she had passed that morning and some of my cousins were already posting it. Umm not everyone has been notified! My mom was there when she passed but I figured she was to upset to call.
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: Chipmunky on August 05, 2015, 02:46:47 PM
DH has a terrible habit of leaving his phone on silent after work. April 2014, his Dad was trying to reach him couldn't get through.

FIL calls my phone, immediately says "I need to speak to my son." No hello, no preamble. I hand the phone over, hear FIL ask DH if he is seated, and then tells DH "BIL's dead."  DH doesn't remember hearing anything beyond that point, but I heard FIL talking about travelling to BIL's city that night, and where to meet them (we took two vehicles). BIL was only 27. There's really no good way for a parent to tell their child that a sibling is gone, or vice versa.

On a somewhat lighter note, my paternal grandmother (PG) lived with us starting when I was 2. She was in her late 80s, had very advanced alzheimers, and she was very mean, especially to me (she had no idea who I was). She died a few months after I turned 6. My mom walked in to check on her that morning, discovered she'd passed during the night, and quietly got me ready for school and on the bus before calling Dad (who was out of town) and the non emergency lines to report the death. She did not want me overwhelmed and upset by a bunch of strange people in the house to remove the body, and at that time it was only her at the house to handle everything (no funeral, direct cremation, and a jerk of an assistant Medical Examiner trying to imply she had done something wrong).  She did come to pick me up early from school, explained to the principal and guidance counselor what was going on (they in turn told my teacher) just as an alert in case I seemed off or whatever the next few days.

When I got in the car and was informed of PG's death, to my mom's surprise/relief, my reaction was to pump my fist and say "Yes!" (Remember, my sole impression of this woman was 4 years of a mean lady who tried to pinch and hit me, and whom I had to call Grandma).  I apparently made the guidance counselor nervous over the next few weeks due to my lack of negative emotional response to PG's death.
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: Minmom3 on August 05, 2015, 08:40:40 PM
My husband died last January.  We knew it was coming in the next day or two, but when DD#1 (not young, she's 30) got to the hospital to go up to his room, security had her check in, and told her he wasn't in his room, that she should check at home, maybe he'd gone there.  Poor girl started crying then and there, knowing he'd died overnight, and security had a nurse come and talk to her and ask if she wanted to see him in the morgue.  DD said she'd wait until the rest of us got there, and started phoning every one. 

I really, REALLY want to talk to an ombudsman at the hospital and ask them how they plan to improve that, because that was a wretched way to find out for my poor girl.
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: ------ on August 05, 2015, 10:14:06 PM
My husband died last January.  We knew it was coming in the next day or two, but when DD#1 (not young, she's 30) got to the hospital to go up to his room, security had her check in, and told her he wasn't in his room, that she should check at home, maybe he'd gone there.  Poor girl started crying then and there, knowing he'd died overnight, and security had a nurse come and talk to her and ask if she wanted to see him in the morgue.  DD said she'd wait until the rest of us got there, and started phoning every one. 

I really, REALLY want to talk to an ombudsman at the hospital and ask them how they plan to improve that, because that was a wretched way to find out for my poor girl.

 ((((((Minmom3))))))  :'( :(
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: nuit93 on August 05, 2015, 11:32:59 PM
My husband died last January.  We knew it was coming in the next day or two, but when DD#1 (not young, she's 30) got to the hospital to go up to his room, security had her check in, and told her he wasn't in his room, that she should check at home, maybe he'd gone there.  Poor girl started crying then and there, knowing he'd died overnight, and security had a nurse come and talk to her and ask if she wanted to see him in the morgue.  DD said she'd wait until the rest of us got there, and started phoning every one. 

I really, REALLY want to talk to an ombudsman at the hospital and ask them how they plan to improve that, because that was a wretched way to find out for my poor girl.

Big hugs! I'm so sorry that happened.
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: jedikaiti on August 06, 2015, 01:32:37 AM
I think you absolutely should! That is horrible!
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: Kariachi on August 06, 2015, 10:30:00 AM
DH has a terrible habit of leaving his phone on silent after work. April 2014, his Dad was trying to reach him couldn't get through.

FIL calls my phone, immediately says "I need to speak to my son." No hello, no preamble. I hand the phone over, hear FIL ask DH if he is seated, and then tells DH "BIL's dead."  DH doesn't remember hearing anything beyond that point, but I heard FIL talking about travelling to BIL's city that night, and where to meet them (we took two vehicles). BIL was only 27. There's really no good way for a parent to tell their child that a sibling is gone, or vice versa.

On a somewhat lighter note, my paternal grandmother (PG) lived with us starting when I was 2. She was in her late 80s, had very advanced alzheimers, and she was very mean, especially to me (she had no idea who I was). She died a few months after I turned 6. My mom walked in to check on her that morning, discovered she'd passed during the night, and quietly got me ready for school and on the bus before calling Dad (who was out of town) and the non emergency lines to report the death. She did not want me overwhelmed and upset by a bunch of strange people in the house to remove the body, and at that time it was only her at the house to handle everything (no funeral, direct cremation, and a jerk of an assistant Medical Examiner trying to imply she had done something wrong).  She did come to pick me up early from school, explained to the principal and guidance counselor what was going on (they in turn told my teacher) just as an alert in case I seemed off or whatever the next few days.

When I got in the car and was informed of PG's death, to my mom's surprise/relief, my reaction was to pump my fist and say "Yes!" (Remember, my sole impression of this woman was 4 years of a mean lady who tried to pinch and hit me, and whom I had to call Grandma).  I apparently made the guidance counselor nervous over the next few weeks due to my lack of negative emotional response to PG's death.

I had the same positive reaction when my step-grandfather died.

The man had been horrible from the moment he met my Grandmother (for one thing, who leaves his wife, who's on the dead end of cancer, can't work, etc, to handle house and kids alone so he can move in with the minister's wife while the man is in a coma?), abusive towards the kids from the start, and it sure didn't stop when grandkids came into the picture. We're talking "I don't like your table manners so you eat out of a dog bowl on the floor now" sorta deal. So we avoided visiting, for years, because my dad was not having that man around his kids. Pretty sure he would have preferred the man not be around his family at all, but he settled for just us.

Well a few years back guess who got cancer. And guess who didn't get treatment because the Lord would do right by him. Karma bit him hard.  >:D

So he dies on a Sunday and we don't say anything to the family but we are happy. On Monday, I had my Psych 101 class. So I go through my normal routine, but I'm happy so I go and buy myself some nice chocolates because I never have to worry about this guy hurting my family again.

Psych teacher asked what the occasion was, I said my step-grandfather had died and apologized for not bringing enough for everyone to celebrate but I didn't have that kind of money.

She didn't seem all that surprised a few months later when I asked how to tell when you need mental help.

(Please note that I don't normally condone evil laughter at someone's illness, but it was just so thematically perfect and he was so awful)
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: z_squared82 on August 06, 2015, 01:36:42 PM
My father left me a voicemail my senior year of college. “Hey, check the obits on OurCity.com. It looks like (kid I went to grade school with) was killed. Love you, bye.”

Although I hadn’t talked to this classmate in *years*, he and I had the same birthday. The only two in the class who could say that who weren’t twins. It hit me hard, being reminded of my own mortality.

I told my mother to talk to her husband about how inappropriate that was and didn’t talk to Dad for a few weeks.
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: gepetto on August 07, 2015, 12:11:16 PM
My late husband had lung cancer and actually passed rather suddenly away at home.  The ambulance got here and the first question I was asked was, "does your husband have a do not resuscitate order?"

I live in a small town, so one of the EMTs drove me in my car to the hospital. When the receptionist asked me what was wrong with my husband, I didn't know what to say.  Before I could whisper, "I think he's dead, hon" the EMT told her it was a "total code."  He even stayed with me when I was ushered into the little room to wait for the doctor. 
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: Miss Understood on August 09, 2015, 05:41:55 PM
About a month after my mother died, while I was still reeling from the loss, my father called me at my then-boyfriend's house (now my DH) and announced with no preamble that my brother (only sibling) had been in a terrible car accident.  I almost collapsed to the floor thinking that he must be dead - actually it turned out he was badly injured but his injuries were not life-threatening.  I know my Dad was still a little out of his head too because of my Mom (more than I was even) but I still wished he could have started off with "he's going to be ok, but..."

Speaking of DB, when I was in college I went to a tree-decorating party at his house and he randomly said "oh that is terrible about 'John Smith' isn't it?"  I had not heard that John, who had grown up down the street from us and was my classmate for 8 years of grammar school, had died in a drunk-driving accident the week before.  Kind of spoiled the festivity of tree-decorating.
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: dawnfire on August 16, 2015, 05:34:09 AM
I found out my maternal uncle had passed away from a group email from my cousin. The other people on the Email had already been told of his passing. My aunt (uncle's sister) was supposed to call me but didn't. I don't know whether she genuinely forgot or wanted us to look bad as she didn't (still doesn't) like my husband.
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: diesel_darlin on August 16, 2015, 07:24:32 AM
My Mom found out that her Uncle, my Grandpa's last surviving sibling, had died when my Grandma saw his obituary in the paper.  >:(
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: Otterpop on September 08, 2015, 12:59:03 AM
My Mom found out that her Uncle, my Grandpa's last surviving sibling, had died when my Grandma saw his obituary in the paper.  >:(

I found out my uncle died, two weeks after the funeral when my aunt sent out a memorial card.  My cousin was supposed to phone me but deemed me non-essential after all other family, co-workers, neighbors, mailpersons, bin emptiers, dog walkers, etc. were notified.

Yeah, after that and other "you don't matter unless I need something" incidents I have nothing to do with them.
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: gmatoy on September 08, 2015, 02:43:34 AM
Not quite the same thing, but I was having lunch with someone when the news came on and said that a missing child had been found, dead. I expressed my sorrow and then said that I was glad that the family knew and could give her a decent burial. The other person started to rail at me, I was cruel and insensitive, hearing that was never a good thing, and on and on. Finally, when I could get a word in edgewise, I asked if she had ever been in that situation.

She had not.

I had. My brother went missing and was later found. I remember that we were crushed that he was dead, but we felt blessed to know where he was.  I never spent any more time with the other person.  I felt like she wanted to think the worst, no taking the time to find out why I would say such a thing.
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: Winterlight on September 09, 2015, 06:23:03 PM
This one is not as serious. A friend told me this story about some of her relatives. Junior, the oldest child, had gone off to a university on the other side of the country. He developed acute appendicitis and had to have emergency surgery before it ruptured (he recovered perfectly). The university health service called his parents.

By all reports, the university person handled it well. That is, once the university person could tell the story. Dad answered the phone. Dad was not the kind of person who did well in a crisis.  The caller got as far as "Mr. Smith? I'm so-and-so from university health services. Your son, Junior, has been admitted to our hospital..." At which point, Dad toppled over in a dead faint. Mom took over and got everything sorted out.

For the rest of his life, Dad never again answered the phone.

When I gave out health information to people, for years I'd say, "Ask for my mom. If she's not there, dad is OK but trust me, talking to mom would be easier for everyone!"

My husband died last January.  We knew it was coming in the next day or two, but when DD#1 (not young, she's 30) got to the hospital to go up to his room, security had her check in, and told her he wasn't in his room, that she should check at home, maybe he'd gone there.  Poor girl started crying then and there, knowing he'd died overnight, and security had a nurse come and talk to her and ask if she wanted to see him in the morgue.  DD said she'd wait until the rest of us got there, and started phoning every one. 

I really, REALLY want to talk to an ombudsman at the hospital and ask them how they plan to improve that, because that was a wretched way to find out for my poor girl.

Wow. They really need an overhaul. I hope you do talk to them, because nobody needs to be treated like that.
Title: Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
Post by: songbird on October 28, 2015, 10:58:12 AM
My father met my mother's cousin E when both men were serving in the Army during WW II.  Interestingly, they share the same surname.  It's a fairly common name.

After the war, my father spent a lot of time with E and E's older brother M.   E and M introduced my father to my mother. 

A few years ago, my parents purchased cemetery plots from a burial society; my mother's cousin M is the president of the burial society.

My father passed away earlier this month at age 88.  When I spoke with the funeral director, I gave him he information about the cemetery plots.

I was so grateful when, a short time later, he called me back to tell me "the president of the society must sign off on some paperwork.  I noticed that the president is M [last name], and I'm wondering if M is a relative."

Thank goodness he did not cold call my mother's 90 year old cousin.