would you do this? how would you handle if it happened to you?

Rosie - posted on 07/01/2011 ( 26 moms have responded )

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i work in retail, and a man came through my register this morning. we were chit chatting, and talking about how hot it was, blah, blah. then he said he had to go to des moines after work then come back and he wouldn't get home until 11. i threw in my two cents and said i had to go to iowa city to the hospital so my son could see the eye doctor. usually the wait there is horrid, so i was griping about that. ok, somewhat normal conversation so far, then he proceeds to tell me about how he had to take his son there years ago for his cancer treatments. and how his son ended up not going home, he had passed away 6 weeks before his 18th birthday. he would be 31 now.
WTF do i say to something like that? i told him i was sorry for his loss. why do people you don't know have to put you on the spot like that? what does he want from me? gah!! why, why why???

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

JuLeah - posted on 07/01/2011

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Wow ... it still hurt him so much for him to bring it up like that .... you handled it well, what else could you say.

He wanted to be heard, be seen, as do we all. I think what he wanted from you, he received.

Jaime - posted on 07/01/2011

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But you said "maybe he was hitting on you in some sick way?"...that's not the same as sharing a story with someone that might provide a moment of comfort.

Jaime - posted on 07/01/2011

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Ya, that doesn't compute for me either, Katherine. I think it was moreso that he was reminded of his son and shared his story. Might have been a bit off guard, but I would have said something similar to what you said Dyan.

Katherine - posted on 07/01/2011

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Some people feel the need for compassion and empathy. If they meet someone with those requirements after such a loss, it's like a magnetic force.

Been there. Lost my best friend in a plane crash. The day after started talking to this guy at a party and just spilled my guts. Why? He seemed empathetic and I thought he was kind of cute and I just NEEDED someone.

Teresa - posted on 07/01/2011

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I would just have said, I am so very sorry for your loss. The U of I offers the best care available.

Sometimes people just need to talk about their hurts. They dont mean to put you on the spot. He must have seen you as a safe outlet for his story. Many people closer may not be comfortable hearing about his loss or grief.

26 Comments

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Amanda - posted on 07/03/2011

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Dyan,
While these conversations are never fun, you probably just irritated an old wound this gentleman had, and he shared a bit of his life with you. Working retail/customer service can be so hard because, overall, people just scratch the surface of one another's lives in situations like this, so when we are faced with the person who wants a little more, we just don't know how to react.

[deleted account]

Sounds like he has accepted the loss of his child and feels comfortable enough to talk about it. Maybe he wanted to remind you how precious children and time are :)

Vicki - posted on 07/02/2011

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I don't know, it wouldn't bother me, but then, I work for the ambulance service and deal with tragedy rather a lot! I view death as part of life, not something to be avoided. I don't see it as any weirder than 'Oh, my sister had a baby last week.' When someone close to you has died, it can be hard for that person or their passing to become unmentionable, when it may be the most significant thing that has happened in your life.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 07/02/2011

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Dana, I like your new name.

Joanna, how tragic for him....and wow....that is quite the info to drop on a potential new client.

Joanna - posted on 07/01/2011

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I just bought a new car last weekend... We pulled up to the dealership, and as I'm getting the kids out, a salesman comes over and is oohing and aahing over the baby... Then says "My fiancé and I just lost twins at 5 months, she has an incompetent cervix." Not joking... He hadn't even introduced himself! WTF is with people? Like, does he say that to everyone with kids right off the bat?

Stifler's - posted on 07/01/2011

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Well since I used to work in aged care that used to happen to me a lot. I used to just tell them that sucks and bad things happen to good people and all the usual "life sucks" style comments.

[deleted account]

He just needed a listening ear. You gave it to him. Better to let those feelings and thoughts out. You are a safe outlet because you are a stranger. Kind of like when we vent and seek advice on COM from complete strangers...

Charlie - posted on 07/01/2011

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I think you did the right thing , maybe mentioning the hospital and your child triggered his memory and he had to share ...some people find sharing theraputic I dont think he needed anything more from you than what you gave.

Katherine - posted on 07/01/2011

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Ok, maybe that's not how I meant it. It actually isn't. I'm deluded today.

Katherine - posted on 07/01/2011

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Why is everyone changing their names?

I'm just saying I could see where this guy is coming from.

Dana - posted on 07/01/2011

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I just don't get why a man sharing the death of his son would even be considered as hitting on someone. lol



I add "lol" but, it's an awkward "lol"

Katherine - posted on 07/01/2011

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Maybe he just thought what Dana said........maybe he was hitting on you a bit like I said........

BTW the profile pic is KICK ASS!!!!! Awesome!!!!! DUDE! LMAO.

Rosie - posted on 07/01/2011

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i just feel like he was expecting me to say more to him. IDK, it was just really awkward. why would someone put a stranger on the spot like that?

Katherine - posted on 07/01/2011

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One of my friends went to the bar and met this guy who had just lost his wife.....he was pining over her and they started talking. Now they're married lol.

Dana - posted on 07/01/2011

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I doubt he was hitting on her. lol Losing a child is hard to get over. I imagine the conversation reminded him of his son and his loss.



In times like that, I try to be as compassionate as I can be.

Katherine - posted on 07/01/2011

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You handled it the right way. That's about all you can say, ya know? Geez, maybe he was hitting on you in some sick way?

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