Author Topic: In Life and Death: Making Assumptions  (Read 2227 times)

John-Danielle Marie's Daddy

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In Life and Death: Making Assumptions
« on: June 15, 2009, 12:54:57 PM »
In Life and Death: Making Assumptions
By Joe Primo

Assuming people's feelings can lead to embarrassing gaffes in many situations -- when something is lost or gained, when a baby is born or when someone dies.

We tend to believe that losing is always bad and gaining is always good. But I know many new moms experience profound sadness over the loss of their old lifestyle, feeling their career dreams and freedoms dissipated with the birth of their new little bundle of "joy."

Similarly, I've heard children express gratitude that a parent died because that parent was abusive or unavailable to them. I've heard losers rejoice because they finally get to rest their bodies and minds, no longer having to pursue a victory.

Often times, I think we would be more available to each other if we ditched the "Oh that is so wonderful!" and "I'm so sorry!" choruses that follow major life events. I prefer words like "You're a new mom! What has it been like for you?" or "You're dad died. How has it been going?" Sometimes I might get a hostile response -- "What do you think?!?" -- but then I clarify, "I'm not sure, that's why I'm asking."

I think it is easy to put value statements on events: good or bad. It takes the pressure off of us. Rather than opening ourselves to the wide variety of responses we might hear -- especially uncomfortable ones -- we often diffuse the situation with our assumptions. I doubt that it's intentional, but when we make assumptions, even if they're minor, we can enhance a person's pain.

Imagine the woman who cares for her dying husband at home. When he dies, everyone tells her she must be so sad, things must be so hard. But, actually, she is relieved that it is finally over. People might cause her a lot of guilt and confusion because she feels one way while they assume she feels something else.

Our assumptions on are shaped by our personal experiences or feelings about what is "the norm." But if we allow people to tell their story, and to express themselves without judgment or assumption, we will find that there are few collective norms, and that every person's story and experience is as unique as their fingerprints.

by Joe Primo/Good Grief
Wishing You All Continuous Comfort & Peace,
John-Danielle Marie’s Daddy
1/4/95-2/20/06 (head trauma-motor vehicle accident)
“Her friendship was an inspiration, her love a blessing”

Paula (Adam's Brokenhearted Mama)

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Re: In Life and Death: Making Assumptions
« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2009, 07:26:15 AM »
I so agree with the caring, thoughtful way of thinking vs assumptions. I have learned the hard way via my own experiences and by participating in many groups and reading that by just simply acknowledging someone loss without value statements is the most sensitive route to go.

Cheryl - Brett's Mom

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Re: In Life and Death: Making Assumptions
« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2009, 10:42:20 PM »
John... You must do a lot of reading. You always find many thought provoking & emotional reads. I used to read a lot as a child and a teen, but grew away from reading as my kids were born and were growing up....until my son died!! I have read many, many books in the past (almost) 4 years. Some have helped and some did nothing for me. Some has had to do with grief, some have been religion associated. After 4 years I am still searching for peace and for 'faith'. After 4 years I still search words for the meaning of 'life'......I lost what I thought was the meaning of life when my son died. I always read what you have brought to share John...thank you!!
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Re: In Life and Death: Making Assumptions
« Reply #3 on: June 23, 2009, 09:44:00 PM »
Life is a very beautiful gift from God, to his the world he have created for us to settle and live in is a great honor. To be with people whom we love is something worth to remember. But as times goes by the one we love have to passed and rest in peace. If you remember the sudden death of some people who eaten the Nestle cookie dough that is believes to be infected by E.coli, many loose their babies and love’s ones. Nestle have denied it but many still doubted and assume that the FDA has been bought off. I am a brother of one person who died in that Nestle cookie dough issues, and until now I can see my little brother eating his favorite cookies. Well that is life, there is always an end to everything, and nothing is permanent. (See more at: newbielink: [nonactive]) May all our love ones who passed away will rest in peace.