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What not to do when somebody’s dead

May 8th, 2015 | Posted by Amy Boughner in Personal

An interesting thing has happened in this whole process of visitations and funerals and wakes and I wanted to pass it on.

You see, my dad knew a lot of people in his life. Like A LOT. Many of these people came to the visitation we held on Thursday night. Many more came to the visitation we held on Friday afternoon.

During these visitations the five of us, Dad’s kids, and his partner of 15 years moved around the room talking to people, listening to stories. I actually planted myself near the door on both nights because for some reason I felt comfortable greeting people.

Now, here comes the “seriously?” moment:

More than one person approached Dad’s partner and said something akin to “do you remember me?”

Now, this puts a person currently going through grief in the situation of either pretending that they do, in fact, remember you or admitting they don’t, in fact, remember you and embarrassing you both.

So, here’s the rule, when you are a friend or colleague of the deceased, no matter how close you were, when you walk up to their partner, children or other immediate family member you say: “Hello, X, my name is Y, we met at Z, I’m so sorry for your loss.”

This is not about you. It is not about making you feel good that you were such a good friend that of course everyone remembers you. Even if they would remember you under normal circumstances, these are not normal circumstances.

I was so exhausted when I got home yesterday I was surprised to remember that we have a dog.

The dog that I have tattooed on my ankle.

The dog that turns 10 this year.

These are the people you’re dealing with.

Just tell us how you knew him:

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