A dying cliche


It turns out that you can google things to say when someone dies and get ready made sympathy messages to deliver verbally or write in a card. Gosh they’ve thought of everything. It got me thinking about the things people say when they don’t know what to say. I’ve heard (and read) quite a lot of these in the past day or so, and I’ve said some of them myself so this is no poke at those who’ve used the cliches below. It’s funny that we always feel compelled to say something and usually that thing has already been said, or doesn’t help much anyway. It is of course only out of love and concern and sometimes overwhelming grief that we do not know how to express. I have always found the use of the word passing as a euphemism for death very strange. It reminds me of those psychic reality shows. Also the formal language that we suddenly slip into when expressing our sorrow I also find strange. But hell, death is strange and I’ve yet to meet the person who knew just the perfect thing to say. Although, a friend of mine, when listening to my own sorrow simply said, that’s really sad. For the rest of us, when we face difficult times, and we desperately search for words, we reach for a cliche. Here’s a few I found after a little google surfing.

Our thoughts and prayers are with you at this difficult time.

She/he is at peace now.

God has called her/him home.

Thinking of you during this time of loss.

Sending all my love and hugs.

Sorry to hear of your loss.

I’m so sorry (ye old faithful).

She/he was taken too soon.

I guess it was expected.

He/she is in a better place now.

My condolences.

I’m so sorry to hear about his/her passing.


2 responses »

  1. I feel bad for those who don’t know what to say…I’ve been there. But having JUST lost my mom…I can understand why it’s hard to know what to say. I GET what they are trying to say, but geesh, it’s hard! I can only say ‘it’s ok’ or ‘thank you’ in response to their comments. Is THANK YOU even an appropriate response? hmmmmmm…

  2. I dislike using cliches, but often do, because people know what they mean, and communicate something if you can’t think of the right words.

    I had coffee with Gary this morning, and after one silence, I said I didn’t know what to say. And he said that was fine, because sometimes you just can’t find the words, and a human presence is sometimes enough in itself.

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