Pillars, Crutches, and Other Manner of Support Systems
A Day, This Day

More Thoughts on People

I’m still mulling people’s reactions to each other, or perhaps I am still mulling how people live their lives so separate from each other. Or maybe I’m mulling how I’m still disappointed in people, but I'm coming out of that into a disappointed acceptance.

The other day I received in the mail a condolence card from my colleagues. I cried as I read through their comments, touched that were sending out their thoughts to me and that they had made this gesture. But then I caught myself: so, they all knew that my father had passed away and yet they hadn’t said anything to me face-to-face. At first they got a sort of pass because it was possible that they hadn’t known that he had died, but now I know that they had known and yet they thought that “I’m sorry for your loss” on a card was sentiment enough. Maybe it is—in their worlds—but not in mine.

Yes, I know. My father died and your life goes on unaffected. Well, if my father hadn’t led by example never to curse I would say “f%#* you” to all those who are so callous. I’m in an angry mood, maybe it’s a stage of reacting to people’s reactions when called to rise to the occasion. First, disappointment, then anger. What comes next? Maybe, as a few of you suggested, cut the dead wood. Forget about those people who don’t want their lives to intersect with mine or who don’t know how to intersect with other people.

Yes, I should focus on my one colleague who gave to me a bottle of wine with a smiley face on it—Happy Wine—because she knew I’d “been having a tough time.”

I am going to resist retreating again from people. And I am going to try not to absorb the lesson “not to expect anything from people.” I am going to try to continue living my life according to the rule “What is hateful to you, do not to your fellow man,” because I prefer some tears of disappointment in others over tears of disappointment in myself.

Life lessons. Is that what life is all about? Is life like a billboard on a busy road? We keep passing the signs displaying the lessons, but only after we’ve driven by them countless times do we finally understand what they’re saying. Unfortunately, there are lots of drivers who are so focused or distracted or inept that they never look around, and so they never see the signs.

The latest sign: I’m going to stay focused (and not feel bad about it) of comprehending the signs and not letting the sign-less distract me.



People are so often caught up in their own lives that they lose sight of other's pain and grief. I think we are all guilty of that at one time or another, I know I am.

I remember feeling that way when my mom died, so what you are feeling is normal for the grief process.

I am sorry, I haven't had much time to visit blogs and didn't know about your father, but I am truly sorry for your loss, as small a comfort as that is, my thoughts are with you.


This is a good lesson for us all in what not to do when someone you know loses someone they love. Don't give a bottle of "Happy Wine," with a smiley face. When in doubt, look the person in the eyes, maybe put your hand on their shoulder, and tell the person, "I'm so very sorry for your loss." That, to me, is so much better than giving a platitude like, "He/she is in a much better place now."

I'll never forget when I was pregnant and in danger of losing my son at 23 weeks and a friend said, "Well, the body does these things for a reason and it's usually for the best." That was the last thing I wanted to hear, and 13 years later, it obviously made an impression on me because I still remember how upset I was.

The people that didn't reach out to you will one day realize what you're going through because they'll have to go through grief themselves. Maybe then they'll be more sensitive to others around them.


Each person is at a different place in their life's journey and it does no good to lament their inability to connect in a caring and compassionate way. Pity them that they will have to learn this lesson the hard way.
Some of that anger comes from feeling that it's not enough, but it will never be enough. I'm a nurse and when my father in law died suddenly of a heart attack sitting in his chair, I raced to his house when one of my sons called me. There was nothing I could do, even if I had been there when it happened, the outcome would have been the same.
But the grief and then anger I felt that the knowledge I held was of no use when it REALLY counted for me was tough to reconcile. It took me a long time to understand that I am not in control of the ebb and flow of life. I am just another human being carried on its tides.
No matter how long those who have been a part of my life have been gone, I still feel their absence keenly. There are times when I might easily drown in my sorrow. But then I look around me and see my children, grandchildren,nieces,siblings,friends all the people who are important to me that are still here and I know I need to leave that sorrow behind and just be grateful to still be here enjoying them.
It is a terrible thing to lose your father now just when you have come out of such an ugly divorce. It would be a terrible thing to lose him 5 years from now. If he lived to be 110,your sense of loss would be no less because we are never ready to lose those we love.
Take good care of yourself, your children and your mother and in doing so, you honor him and the life he led.
In the meantime, my heart to yours, feels your pain and is very sorry for it. I am thinking of you and wishing you some peace.


I don't know if this will help, but as someone who is struggling with fighting cancer, I can tell you I've had my own brushes with people saying ridiculously awkward, inappropriate things (or NOTHING), all in the name of "comfort." I've learned that a lot of the time, the INTENTION is good and valid, it's just the delivery that comes out all wrong. Like you, I get frustrated and hurt when people come across so insensitive. But I'm trying hard to look past the words and focus on the INTENT, which almost always comes from a good, honest, caring place. The DELIVERY is what's clumsy, not the feelings.

That doesn't mean you're not allowed to be royally pi$$ed off, my dear! In fact, you're allowed to feel anything you like, for as long as you like. I'm so sorry about your father. I'm so sorry many of your friends and coworkers have disappointed you. I sincerely hope you will get through this, and will be stronger and wiser for having worked-through it as thoughtfully as you have. Good luck, my dear, Godspeed!


I've had this page up for hours now, trying to formulate a coherent thought on the subject. But I guess all I want to say is this: I understand that it takes courage to not retreat, and to put yourself out there, and I applaud that, but I also think it's okay to be hurt, too.

Laura of Rebellious Thoughts of a Woman

Deni, I'm sorry about your loss, no matter how long ago it was. Maybe this loss and this understanding is part of the transition to seriously being a midlifer when you learn that putting things into perspective is not just your persepective, but other people's.

JC, the insensitive things people say, or the way people express their feelings that are so inadequate.

I wonder if the people who didn't reach out will never really be able to reach out. Are there some things that are jsut innate, that cannot be learned?

rockync, perhaps we really do live in bubbles and only some bubbles are able to connect--to merge. And those mergers, and blendings is really where we need to celebrate life, rather than lament.

The ebb and flow. It's so hard that all continues as if unaffected, but I guess that's how we have continued in a steady thread of memories of lost loved ones from our days in the caves to today. Maybe this is strengthening my ties to the past and the future.

Joan, it is a sad testament that English teachers are so incapable of expressing themselves--or of thinking that they need to express themselves. Is there intent if nothing is said? I guess I'm glad that I have been presented with this "opportunity" to see who are friends and who are colleagues. As much as I may intellectually understand that people are in their own worlds, it just doesn't make the leap into excusing them.

April, thanks. I appreciate your comment, applause and hug both.


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