Usually, when the death of someone you loved is announced, lots of calls and texts flood your phone to ascertain the truth. This is normal cos people genuinely want to know if the death report is true or a prank. That said, I have reservations I need to get off my chest. It’s about emotional intelligence and sometimes the lack of it. Stay glued.
Related: New Year vibes: Dark Clouds
The ‘How are you’ question
How are you is a multimillion-dollar question packed with layers and layers of hidden agendas. For the past weeks, I’ve had lots of people asking ‘how are you’ the least chance they get. Half the time, I don’t know what exactly the response to that question. I was trained to respond ‘I’m fine’ whether I’m fine or not.
In my honest opinion, it is the absurdest ice breaker.
The Useless Questions and Statements
Forgive my ‘useless questions and statements’ sub-heading but that’s how I feel. I feel it’s about time we displayed compassion with our enquiries. Please note that I don’t have anything against anyone who asked me any of these questions.
1. When someone loses a relative, don’t ask how the person died.
Reason number one is, it doesn’t bring the dead back to life. All it does is awaken the pain and tears all the time.
2. When did it happen?
3. Was he or she sick or an accident?
I don’t know the response to give you, self
4. I know how you feel.
Liar number 1. In fact, this point should have been number one on my list of useless questions.
5. I hope your morale is high.
Next question, please.
6. Don’t cry plenty.
What are you going to do about it, please?
7. Call me if you need someone to talk to.
Counsellor, well done (In a Nigeria man’s voice)
8. Be strong…
Next question, please.
9. Take it easy…
But I’m calm o
10. Everything will be alright…
11. He or she (the deceased) is in a better place….
We need the person here not the better place
12. Please let me know if there’s anything I can do for you…
Rolling my eyes. Biggest scam phrase in the history of mankind. Please I need lots of funds to organise funeral.
How to be sensitive 101
So, a good friend of mine whatsapped me this morning and this was what ensued:
Refiloe: Hi PK
Pe Kay: Hi Refiloe
Ref: How are you doing? And please don’t say you’re too blessed to complain
PK: You just clipped my wings
Ref: I’m sorry but I would really like to know how you are doing
PK: I don’t know how to answer this question
Ref: You can start with I miss my mother and take it from there
PK: I miss her. I haven’t cried yet and I don’t know if it’s normal or not
Ref: Was she sick before she passed on?
PK: Yes please
Ref: Did you spend a lot of time with her then?
PK: Was with her every morning and evening from the first day she was admitted to the last day
Ref: Then that’s why you haven’t cried. My sister didn’t cry for my grandma because she has been around her more often than we were
PK: Is it normal
Ref: It is PK. We mourn in different ways PK
PK: Thanks for the insight
Related: The Captain’s Wife’s Tears
Things I do often
1. I work a lot as it gets my mind off the ‘death’. This allows me to think about something other than my loss.
2. Mind my own business. Simple matter.
3. Writing. I write a lot nowadays (don’t ask further questions or ask to peep)
4. Get some sleep at least (I try)
5. Eat healthy as I can (I try)
6. I laugh when I can and go quiet when I want to. I make a conscious effort to make room for a wide array of emotions.
Conclusion of the matter
No offence but when you’re not sure what to say to someone who is bereaved, say nothing. Silence has a lot to teach all of us.
End of announcement.