Author Topic: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!  (Read 70511 times)

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Lillie82

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Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
« Reply #150 on: October 10, 2013, 04:41:11 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.

livluvlaf

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Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
« Reply #151 on: May 29, 2014, 04:02:21 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!!


AnaMaria

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Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
« Reply #152 on: August 06, 2014, 03:10:53 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.

Pandora

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Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
« Reply #153 on: September 05, 2014, 08:53:29 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!  :-\

Pandora

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Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
« Reply #154 on: September 05, 2014, 09:16:30 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 .......  ???

gingerzing

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Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
« Reply #155 on: September 05, 2014, 10:54:08 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.

GratefulMaria

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Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
« Reply #156 on: October 03, 2014, 02:42:03 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.

sleepy59

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Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
« Reply #157 on: October 03, 2014, 03:39:38 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.

Tia2

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Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
« Reply #158 on: October 07, 2014, 06:17:39 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.

Peppergirl

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Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
« Reply #159 on: October 09, 2014, 11:49:22 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. 

« Last Edit: October 09, 2014, 11:52:02 PM by Peppergirl »

jtimenow

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Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
« Reply #160 on: October 22, 2014, 12:59:10 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.

Diane AKA Traska

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Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
« Reply #161 on: October 25, 2014, 02:34:50 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.
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Specky

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Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
« Reply #162 on: October 26, 2014, 04:13:57 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.

nutraxfornerves

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Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
« Reply #163 on: October 26, 2014, 05:14:49 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. 

Nutrax
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