Claire writes: ‘When Dad died in the autumn, the first person I told face to face said: ‘I’m sorry for your loss’. I felt like that phrase distanced us. I’d have liked him to say ‘I’m sad to hear that – he was a good man’. That would have been about him and Dad, because Dad had played a significant role in the community they were both part of. It felt as though he was saying what he thought he should say and not what he felt.  Right in that moment, I wanted him to show some connection. 

Sadly we have experienced a number of friends and family dying over the last 5 years, and I have noticed how others respond when someone says ‘I’m sorry for your loss’ The reply is almost always ‘That’s OK’.

What do we really feel, mean or want to say? And how do we communicate that in a way that connects us with others rather than distancing us. At the moment, when it’s true, I prefer ‘I’m sad to hear that’. Because I am.’

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