Monday, December 17, 2012

Sympathy

This is as close as I'm going to get to commenting on Sandy Hook Elementary. Obviously, my thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected... actually, let me stop there. Did that sound genuine to you, or did it just sound canned?

So, let's say that someone at work just lost one of their grandparents or something. Usually, we'll pass around a sympathy card to be signed by each of us. I never know what to write on those things. Sure, I feel sorry for them, but it doesn't seem genuine to go with one of the Generic Expressions of Sympathy that everyone seems to use. You know, "very sorry for your loss", "keeping you in our thoughts and prayers", and so on and so forth. But any time I try to come up with something different to write, it always ends up sounding worse, usually much worse. And so, Generic Expression of Sympathy it is. Every time.

It's not just cards, though. Pretty much anything where only words are involved - emails, Facebook status messages, even phone calls - I can't do it. Sure, I could call you after you just had something bad happen to you and offer my condolences or whatever, but what am I going to say? I always just stutter and sound dumb. Maybe the fact that I called is good enough and it doesn't really matter what I say (let's hope so!), but the thought that you would maybe just "rather be alone" keeps me from even getting that far. Because unless you're an actual relative, I basically assume that you'd rather the rest of us just "respect your privacy during this difficult time", and so our only avenues for expressing sympathy are cards and Facebook, I guess.

I guess what I'm saying is this. When someone in your family dies, I won't be among those adding a comment to the corresponding Facebook thread. But that certainly doesn't mean I don't...umm...feel sorry for you? That didn't sound right. You see what I mean? I care, but I can't make it sound genuine.

I should note: the last two paragraphs do not refer to any specific incident. The Sandy Hook tragedy just got me thinking - specifically, about whether I should post anything on Twitter or Facebook about it that day. I didn't, because like I said, no matter how much I'm affected by something, I can't do better than a Generic Expression of Sympathy.

This is why I just let Amber handle the sympathy expressions in our household.

1 comment:

bubba0077 said...

It's even worse when you're agnostic and can't even say say they're in your prayers.