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What NOT to Say at an Alzheimer’s Funeral

What NOT to Say at an Alzheimer’s Funeral

Your friend’s Mom died after some years of living with Alzheimer’s. You know it’s been hard for your friend. So when you go to the funeral, you want to console her.

Therefore, you say one of 5 rudest, most insensitive things people say at funerals to the bereaved.

1. “She’s in a better place now.”

A statement made by people who actually have no idea at all whether that could possibly be true and usually didn’t even know the person well enough to be able to make such a comment.

Your theology at someone else’s funeral is not wanted nor appropriate, unless you are actually the minister.

This is what you say: “I’m so sorry.”

2. “It’s a blessing her suffering is over.”

Is it also a blessing that your friend is now bereaved and alone? Is that a divine plan or just the result of stuff happening.

This is what you say: “I’m so sorry.”

3. “Be brave. She would have wanted that.”

How very presumptuous of you and who the heck are you to give instructions like that so a newly-bereaved person?

This is what you say: “I’m so sorry.”

4. “God wanted her home with Him.”

This is the kind of theology which, besides being presumptuous, also portrays God as something between Bad Santa and the kind of loving father who hands out slices of poisoned cake to the kids.

Keep your bizarre theories of the divine to yourself and just say, “I’m so sorry.”

5. “It was all part of Gods’ plan.”

Oh yes, I love to think of God as being the Divine SWAT team leader, don’t you? Looking for people to snuff out violently and suddenly. Let’s get a grip here, shall we?

Life lesson number one: stuff happens and sometimes it happens to you or people you care about. Everyone dies. Everyone. We’re built that way. God doesn’t even have to plan 1,000 ways to kill you and yours because everyone dies. It’s right there in our basic God-given or biologically-directed DNA.

So just bite your tongue on the life theory and say, “I’m so sorry.”

Do you know why people babble on with all these meant-to-help but appallingly insensitive comments? It’s because they really ARE sorry. They really DO wish they could make things better. That’s why they come out with dreadful cliches guaranteed to make you think these are the most insensitive people on the face of Planet Earth.

They really do want to take your pain away. They want to help you, to make you feel better, so that they could feel better.

The thing is: most grownups know that bad things happen and that everyone dies. And everyone dies of something. And if you live long enough to even have Alzheimer’s, then you are probably a lot nearer the end of your life anyway. So near the end that at least 90 percent of everyone with Alzheimer’s will die of the usual suspects in elder life — heart disease, cancer, liver problems, lung problems and so on.

No one whose family member has died expects you to take away their sorrow. That is their journey to follow and they will, because sensible people know that we all die.

What they would really like, what would REALLY comfort them, is for you stand right there with them and say “I’m so sorry.” That way, you share the burden with them.

That’s all it takes to bring real comfort in the midst of sorrow and loss.

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