The red-headed, freckled man made his way down the line at Mom's funeral visitation, offering his condolences. He reached my brother-in-law and said, "Congratulations." No joke! But man it was funny. We roared, a note of levity in an otherwise somber situation. You can imagine the flaming shade of red the man's face turned. His discomfort just made us laugh harder. Apparently, he confused a wedding receiving line with a funeral.
Chad Douglas recently sat down with Randy Stocker. Randy's story is just tragic. He lost two daughters and his mother in a senseless distracted driving accident. It's moving, and very relevant story. If you haven't read it, check it out here .
Randy helped develop ten suggestions for people dealing with someone in mourning. If you've ever lost a loved one, you'll read that list and nod. Here's a man who knows, and his suggestions are right on target. One of the things Randy said in his interview with Chad was, "Don't say dumb things."
Now the red head at Mom's visitation said a dumb thing. But it was a slip of the tongue, harmless and not in any way malicious. It's the insensitive, crass remark that stings. At my sister's funeral, a man told my dad it's a good thing he had nine children, because he still has eight left. Sit with that sentence for awhile. What kind of moron implies that one child is dispensable because there are other children left?
My friend's five-month-old baby caught a bacterial infection and died within hours. It happened on Mother's Day. She was told it wasn't her fault, she was a first-time mom and didn't know any better. She also endured comments like, "It was your first baby, you'll have more." Just shocking, painful, ridiculously insensitive remarks.
It's human nature to want to fill silence with words, but words matter. The worst saying ever: "Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never harm me." What a load of bunk. Physical injuries heal, emotional injuries fester.
Not everyone's been in a position of suddenly losing a loved one. All of us have had experience dealing with a person who has experienced a death. Please read Randy's story. They are words to live by.