Awkward Situation...Need Advice.

confused68March 31, 2009

I hesitate to post this but I am sincere and this was the only place I knew to come and get the truth. Yesterday I was at my new house I am building and I hadn't seen one of the workers for a couple weeks. I knew his wife had recently had heart problems and had asked him how she was a couple times. Well you can guess the rest. She had passed away two weeks ago and NO ONE had told me. So I basically made this guy say it. It was probably the first time he had actually had to say it. Needless to say I felt AWEFUL!!! I am still just sick and can't seem to shake it. I can't help but think it was made worse though by the fact that everybody started trying to wave me off and making shhhh gestures and generally acting weird about it. He had to have noticed that. Some other guys kinda grabbed me and pulled me away and so I didn't get the chance to continue the conversation in a normal fashion. If given the chance I would have said, "I am so sorry for your loss. I had no idea. I will be praying for you and if there is ANYTHING I can do for you just let me know." I feel like that would have been far less awkward. As it was...he just worked for about ten more minutes and then went to his truck and left. As I said...I feel TERRIBLE. It has made me scared to ever bring up a sick person and show concern again because...well... sick people often die! I wanted to come on this forum where there are people dealing with this personally and try and find out if I did anything wrong. I feel like I should apologize to the guy but I don't know if that would only make it worse. I have never had to deal with death that close to me, but my gut feeling is if I lost a spouse or a child, I would want everyone to feel like laughing around me still but at the same time not be weird and treat me with kit gloves and whisper behind my back. I THINK I would want everyone to not be afraid to talk about my deceased loved one around me and just cry with me if I needed them to. I don't think I would want everyone to just act like nothing had happened. I don't know...I can't say. I just feel really bad about what I did and need some advice about how to go forward with this guy.

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You didn't do anything wrong. You showed care to this man when you asked him about his wife. He is in mourning, but not angry at you. Trust me on this. My mom just died last week, and it is worse to have someone NOT ask. Yes, you didn't know she died, and when you asked about her that made him think of her, and it probably sent waves of sorrow over him. But you cared. My own in-laws still have not acknowledged my mom's passing to me, and that is much worse than having them bring it up. You did nothing wrong.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2009 at 3:32PM
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I agree, you did NOTHING wrong. You only asked about someone you had not heard about. In fact, the others workers should have told you about the death. They are the ones wrong. He will deal with it in his own way. You might talk to a pastor or even a funeral home to find out what if anything you could say. You had already ask about her health so he does know you are only concerned. Could you send him a card? What are other people thoughts on this?

    Bookmark   April 2, 2009 at 8:37PM
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I agree with the other posts that you did nothing wrong. I also agree that its worse to say nothing. I know after my mother passed I would often cry if anyone said something nice or compassionate to me. It wasn't because "they" upset me I just couldn't control my emotions. Peoples reactions are often different but you did the right thing by inquiring. You shouldn't have been pulled away before you could finish the conversation. There will be a time in the future where you can approach this person again and by all means take the opportunity to express your condolences.

You are a good person to care about someone's feelings.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2009 at 2:37PM
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anree is right and you have to approach this person again. After my wife passed away I would be overcome when asked about her but when a person did not ask I would wonder if they cared at all. When you ask and it causes great emotion it does not mean you did anything wrong. It has been six months now for me and it is still very hard to talk about her.
I appreciate it when a person asks about her and will listen, even if I do become emotional I feel better because they took the time to talk.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2009 at 9:41PM
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I don't think you did anything wrong i think that when the man returns you could go up to him and say how sorry you are for his loss. i still get after 2 years from people who we are not close too ask how Al is and i tell them that he passed away, and they get a real funny look on their face and change the subject. or you get people you know and they don't say anything, this in my opinion makes me mad at them rather than the first not close people.
i think this man is still in shock, after only a little while and i think it's very nice of you to offer your sympathy to him and his family.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2009 at 1:06PM
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I myself just recently lossed my father and people around me wanted to know what happen, how did he die ectra. I myself was not able to tell them since his death was very sudden, no present illness but he did have health problems. So as I said I felt very overwhelmed by well wishers asking me what did he die of. I mean to me it is very personal. However I am not here to say you did anything wrong, but it sounds like the worker was not ready to talk about what happen. We all go through different types of grief. So I beleive you did what you felt was correct in this situation, but you should have just left it at that saying sorry and telling him if there was anything he needed that you were there. But you should take into consideration its not all about you its about your worker who is grieving the loss of his wife.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2009 at 5:41PM
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I don't think I would approach him again as soon as he comes
back to work except to give him a card in which you have
expressed your sympathy. He can read it in the privacy of his
home and know that you care.

Men don't feel comfortable showing emotion in
front of others, especially in front of guys.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2009 at 9:58PM
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Hello: yes, I would agree with Janis... this is almost exactly what I had planned to write, other than ad that if you know the man's address, to send flowers and a card with your condolences. To reiterate what others have said, it sounds as if you did nothing wrong. I sense perhaps all those around you who were tying to shush you and stand between the two of you, may have made the situation worse, as neither of you really had an opportunity to respond.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2009 at 9:46PM
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I do know how you feel because the same thing happened to me. I was told that some good friends of ours had a daughter that was seriously ill. They live in a different state than we do so when I saw them I naturally asked how their daughter was doing. To my shock she had passed away and I, also, had not been told. I apologized over and over but I left there feeling just like you do. But, I will tell you this, when I read your post I sure didn't feel that you had done anything wrong. We're not psychics so if we aren't told of the change there's no way we can know. So, now I have to think about my own situation and stop blaming myself. We both meant well and I'm sure the people understood that. They just need time. Giving him a card sounds like a wonderful idea. He will understand and appreciate it. So, please don't blame yourself. Best of luck. BT

    Bookmark   April 25, 2009 at 3:13PM
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Your only human, and do not worry , I am sure he will understand...You did not know , not feel guilty over this...You were just showing concern in regard with his wife, he knows this .....I would go up to him next time and just offer your sincere apology and condolences..

My son recently died in a car accident and 3 months later I am returning to work, so many people are still offering me support in front of some people who are present in the conversation yet do not know the circumstances and I am placed in the position in explaining my son's death to them...It is a bit awkward but I am so understanding of their discomfort...But I enjoy talking about my son, however painful, I wouldn't want people hushing all around me...I accept the human spirit of kindness.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2009 at 2:42PM
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You did not do anything wrong. I had the expierence with loosing both my parents a year apart. There are lots of small towns here and I am always running into someone I have not seen in a while and they always ask, 'how's your Momma and Daddy'?
It was hard to say the first time, 'well, he died on march 19' or 'She lived a little over a year after Dad passed'.
It pretty much happens to all of us. I know that I would burst into tears no matter where I was if I had to talk about my Dad very much in the first year after he died.
Talk to the man. Give him a chance to talk about it if he wants to, and let him know that you are there if he needsd anything.
God bless

    Bookmark   August 3, 2009 at 6:01AM
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