Author Topic: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!  (Read 71653 times)

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Lisbeth

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Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
« Reply #90 on: May 06, 2011, 02:07:12 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.
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southernangel

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Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
« Reply #91 on: May 06, 2011, 02:52:49 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.

Danismom

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Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
« Reply #92 on: May 06, 2011, 07:59:32 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. 

MommyPenguin

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Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
« Reply #93 on: May 06, 2011, 09:00:36 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.

Danismom

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Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
« Reply #94 on: May 07, 2011, 05:04:35 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.

Chivewarrior

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Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
« Reply #95 on: May 09, 2011, 07:24:45 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.)

Corbin

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Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
« Reply #96 on: May 13, 2011, 10:37:04 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)
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Poirot

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Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
« Reply #97 on: May 13, 2011, 10:42:37 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.
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Zenith

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Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
« Reply #98 on: May 16, 2011, 01:03:43 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.


Twik

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Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
« Reply #99 on: May 16, 2011, 10:23:31 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.
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Poirot

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Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
« Reply #100 on: May 16, 2011, 10:31:11 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.
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ladycrim

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Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
« Reply #101 on: May 16, 2011, 02:07:53 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.

Hillia

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Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
« Reply #102 on: May 16, 2011, 02:48:31 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.

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exitzero

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Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
« Reply #103 on: May 16, 2011, 03:17:03 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.  
« Last Edit: May 16, 2011, 03:37:38 PM by exitzero »

Elfmama

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Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
« Reply #104 on: May 16, 2011, 10:57:04 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.
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