Author Topic: "But he's not dead yet!"  (Read 3910 times)

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yokozbornak

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"But he's not dead yet!"
« on: November 15, 2013, 04:24:03 PM »
This is a bit of an unprecedented situation for me.  I had been working a very PT job one night per week, but I resigned about a month ago because my DH's changing work schedule and the need for my family time.  I also agreed to continue to be on a "sub" list in case they need emergency help on a night when I am available.  During my last night there, I mentioned to the district manager that my FIL was very ill and had been in ICU and that my DH had been out of state to help his mom, etc.  She followed up with about a week later and asked me how he was doing, and I told her that he was finally on the mend and was expected to be released from the hospital soon.

Today in the mail received a package from the local corporate office that contained a book on grief and a sweet note from someone that I've never met offering condolences on the loss of my FIL.  I am at a loss about how to handle it because FIL is not dead and is headed for a full recovery.  I would just let it go if I were never planning to work there again, but I will most likely end up working at least occasionally for this company so I feel like I should clear the air. AT the same time, I don't want to embarrass anyone who is making an attempt to be kind and thoughtful especially since I have never met this person. 

Would you say anything?  If so, what would be the best approach?

bopper

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Re: "But he's not dead yet!"
« Reply #1 on: November 15, 2013, 04:28:01 PM »
You could mention to the district manager what happened...that you are happy that the other employees are supportive, but that your FIL is still alive!

sweetonsno

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Re: "But he's not dead yet!"
« Reply #2 on: November 15, 2013, 06:18:40 PM »
Whoops! I'd actually send them a card/email directly. If they are working in an official capacity, they'll pass on the news. If they were just trying to make a nice gesture as an individual, then you aren't going to inadvertently get them in trouble.

Something like this:

Dear Soandso:

Thank you so much for the kind gesture of the card and book, but my FIL hasn't passed away. I may have been unclear about his condition when I was speaking to you/DMů he was ill and in the ICU, but he is expected to make a full recovery. Again, I do appreciate your thoughtfulness and I look forward to working with you again in the future.

Best,
yokozbornak

girlmusic

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Re: "But he's not dead yet!"
« Reply #3 on: November 15, 2013, 08:04:15 PM »
Anyone else thinking of Monty Python right now?? "I'm not dead!"

yokozbornak

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Re: "But he's not dead yet!"
« Reply #4 on: November 15, 2013, 08:51:35 PM »
Anyone else thinking of Monty Python right now?? "I'm not dead!"

I was totally going for that! 

I am not sure what role this lady plays in the organization so I may find out before sending anything.  It was truly a kind and thoughtful gesture which is why I am reluctant to say anything, but at the same time, it feels wrong to not acknowledge that she reached out to me and I can't do that without correcting her. 

m2kbug

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Re: "But he's not dead yet!"
« Reply #5 on: November 15, 2013, 10:11:51 PM »
Is it standard practice for the hospital to send this type of material to the bereaved?  I think a heads-up to DM or corporate might be a good idea in that before material like that goes out, they need to double check and be sure this material is even warranted.  I can't imagine how well books like this would go over with other families and patients when no one actually passed away or isn't anywhere near it.  This doesn't need to turn into an "issue," but sometimes people need some reminders.  A mistake just got made.

Otherwise, if this was personal with the DM and staff, I think I would be more likely to not say anything unless it came up at some point.  A book about grief can be useful beforehand too, so just take it as a kind gesture?

Promise

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Re: "But he's not dead yet!"
« Reply #6 on: November 15, 2013, 10:51:28 PM »
I'd leave it alone. If someone asks you about him, you can share about how wonderful that he recovered. I'd still send a thank you, but I wouldn't embarrass anyone about this. It was a kind gesture.

yokozbornak

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Re: "But he's not dead yet!"
« Reply #7 on: November 15, 2013, 10:53:53 PM »
Is it standard practice for the hospital to send this type of material to the bereaved?  I think a heads-up to DM or corporate might be a good idea in that before material like that goes out, they need to double check and be sure this material is even warranted.  I can't imagine how well books like this would go over with other families and patients when no one actually passed away or isn't anywhere near it.  This doesn't need to turn into an "issue," but sometimes people need some reminders.  A mistake just got made.

Otherwise, if this was personal with the DM and staff, I think I would be more likely to not say anything unless it came up at some point.  A book about grief can be useful beforehand too, so just take it as a kind gesture?

This wasn't from a hospital, but from my place of work.  I think it was just a kind gesture from a confused co-worker.  I haven't worked for this organization very long, and I was at a satellite office so I spent very little time in the main corporate office.  The note was very specific and mentioned how sorry she was for the loss, etc.

kareng57

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Re: "But he's not dead yet!"
« Reply #8 on: November 15, 2013, 11:13:05 PM »
Anyone else thinking of Monty Python right now?? "I'm not dead!"

I was totally going for that! 

I am not sure what role this lady plays in the organization so I may find out before sending anything.  It was truly a kind and thoughtful gesture which is why I am reluctant to say anything, but at the same time, it feels wrong to not acknowledge that she reached out to me and I can't do that without correcting her.


I think a note such as sweetonsno suggested would be perfect.  It was a thoughtful gesture and therefore deserves some acknowledgement, but you still want to set the record straight.

I think it was an honest miscommunication - IMO there's little to be gained by going to Corporate to track down how this happened.

yokozbornak

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Re: "But he's not dead yet!"
« Reply #9 on: November 15, 2013, 11:49:06 PM »
Anyone else thinking of Monty Python right now?? "I'm not dead!"

I was totally going for that! 

I am not sure what role this lady plays in the organization so I may find out before sending anything.  It was truly a kind and thoughtful gesture which is why I am reluctant to say anything, but at the same time, it feels wrong to not acknowledge that she reached out to me and I can't do that without correcting her.


I think a note such as sweetonsno suggested would be perfect.  It was a thoughtful gesture and therefore deserves some acknowledgement, but you still want to set the record straight.

I think it was an honest miscommunication - IMO there's little to be gained by going to Corporate to track down how this happened.

I never suggested that I was going to corporate to complain or say anything so I am not sure where that idea came from.  I also mentioned that I thought it was a kind gesture. I am trying to figure out how to handle it to ensure the least amount of awkwardness now and in the future since there is a possibility I will run into this person in the future.  I only suggested that I might try to find out her position in the company to figure out the likelihood of running into her if I am at the corporate office at some point (i.e. if she is a weekend employee, the likelihood of me running into her is very slim).

kareng57

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Re: "But he's not dead yet!"
« Reply #10 on: November 15, 2013, 11:50:36 PM »
Anyone else thinking of Monty Python right now?? "I'm not dead!"

I was totally going for that! 

I am not sure what role this lady plays in the organization so I may find out before sending anything.  It was truly a kind and thoughtful gesture which is why I am reluctant to say anything, but at the same time, it feels wrong to not acknowledge that she reached out to me and I can't do that without correcting her.


I think a note such as sweetonsno suggested would be perfect.  It was a thoughtful gesture and therefore deserves some acknowledgement, but you still want to set the record straight.

I think it was an honest miscommunication - IMO there's little to be gained by going to Corporate to track down how this happened.

I never suggested that I was going to corporate to complain or say anything so I am not sure where that idea came from.  I also mentioned that I thought it was a kind gesture. I am trying to figure out how to handle it to ensure the least amount of awkwardness now and in the future since there is a possibility I will run into this person in the future.  I only suggested that I might try to find out her position in the company to figure out the likelihood of running into her if I am at the corporate office at some point (i.e. if she is a weekend employee, the likelihood of me running into her is very slim).

English1

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Re: "But he's not dead yet!"
« Reply #11 on: November 27, 2013, 07:42:04 AM »
I think you have to send her a message, otherwise she'll continue to think that he has passed away and when the truth eventually comes out, she'll feel very embarrassed. It was a well-meant gesture. Someone had their wires crossed.

You've had a good suggestion already.

I would put something like

Dear X

I was very touched that you were thinking of me at a difficult time and that you took the time to contact me and send the book.

However, although FIL was very ill in the ICU, he is making a recovery, and is not now expected to pass away. I was was sure you would want to share in our good news,

thank you again for the kind thoughts,

X

BeagleMommy

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Re: "But he's not dead yet!"
« Reply #12 on: November 27, 2013, 10:35:42 AM »
I think you have to send her a message, otherwise she'll continue to think that he has passed away and when the truth eventually comes out, she'll feel very embarrassed. It was a well-meant gesture. Someone had their wires crossed.

You've had a good suggestion already.

I would put something like

Dear X

I was very touched that you were thinking of me at a difficult time and that you took the time to contact me and send the book.

However, although FIL was very ill in the ICU, he is making a recovery, and is not now expected to pass away. I was was sure you would want to share in our good news,

thank you again for the kind thoughts,

X

I like this.  It appreciates the thought and gift while telling the giver that FIL is on the mend without making it seem like she goofed.

PastryGoddess

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Re: "But he's not dead yet!"
« Reply #13 on: November 27, 2013, 04:11:01 PM »
Anyone else thinking of Monty Python right now?? "I'm not dead!"

I'm happpyyyy!  I'm happppyyyy! *conk*

Softly Spoken

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Re: "But he's not dead yet!"
« Reply #14 on: November 30, 2013, 05:38:06 PM »
Anyone else thinking of Monty Python right now?? "I'm not dead!"

I'm happpyyyy!  I'm happppyyyy! *conk*
I have to admit that I 1) thought of this as well and 2) was afraid that the situation the thread title described was actually much worse. I thought the opposite etiquette problem had occurred (reading ehell's work etiquette section, as well as sites like retailhellunderground and customerssuck has made me paranoid) . You see, I thought the title was an actual quote from a supervisor/boss/manager! :P  Before reading this thread I envisioned the poor OP had asked for time off to spend with her sick and dying FIL only to be told something along the lines of not getting time unless it was to go to his funeral! :-\ Yes, I have become horribly jaded and cynical.

Instead, the OP received a touching gesture of sympathy and support...that made an unfortunate assumption and/or reflected a miscommunication somewhere regarding her FILs condition.

I think any response to her employer's good intentions should definitely start with gratitude and appreciation. They can focus on how the good of the company's gesture can be answered by the equally good news that their sympathy was premature and her FIL will get better.

OP you basically get to find a very classy way to convey "Thanks anyway!" Your employer's intentions were good and you get to give them an 'A'  for effort. Your gratitude will help smooth away their potential embarrassment at rushing to counsel your grief when you are fortunate enough to have no death to grieve over. Better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it. Do not be afraid to correct them, it was one of the few 'positive' mistakes I have seen an employer make. :)
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