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Too Easily Offended?


Treebywater

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"There's going to be things that happen in life that the only thing you can do to make it through is be strong. It is much harder than you will ever think it could be. I have a friend whose mother passed away two years ago and she still has trouble with it. I can't say what I would do if I was her beause my mother is still alive and kicking but I am the type of person who moves on......I guess I just see it as being a part of God's plan and as much as we don't understand, He has a resaons for it and we'll eventually see that."

That was written in my church newsletter this week by one of our youth pastors who, while she isn't a close friend, I have at least considered a close acquaintence.

I read it and it really upset me. Now note that she was NOT talking about me. She doesn't even know that my Mom died as far as I know.

But still I found the message so offensive, and I'm trying to figure out WHY I reacted so strongly.

Part of it is the typical frustration of hating that people who haven't been through grief think that you can put a time line on it. Think that TWO YEARS is a LOOONG time. Think that 'moving on' means that you no longer 'have trouble' with the missing of the person who played a crucial role in your life.

It also bugs me because, as in all churches, we have SO MANY folks who are grieving mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, children, spouses--the whole gamut--and how disrespectful for them.

I also typically react to the whole, "God has a plan and even if we don't understand it we'll eventually see the reason," type of message. My theology doesn't jive with that. But even if I did fall more into that camp, it just seems an insensitive sentiment.

Plus, if I was her friend... I would be MORTIFIED that me and my grief were being used as an object lesson in an off-handed devotion for a weekly church newsletter.

All of that aside, why do I react so strongly? Is it because I had hoped to become friends with this person and I now would feel unsafe sharing a crucial part of who I am with her?

Is it because I NEED to 'move on' a little more myself?

What is it? Why am I so easily offended by something like this that isn't directed personally at me?

I don't know.

I do know that I lost my Mom over two years ago and not a day goes by that I don't miss her, don't think of her, don't wish that she was here with me. I know that like Michele so beautifully articulated I *hate* that because I am 'moving on' my Mom is becoming merely a memory.

I suspect that there are those who think I have surpassed my 'appropriate timeline' for grief because I still talk about how much I miss her. Because I still have days when I cry about what she's missing and how my life has changed. Maybe I do need to 'move on.' But most of the time I think that I am. I think that I am growing as a person and continuing to work through my grief.

I know that I can't imagine a time that I won't 'have trouble' with missing my Mom because I discover every day new ways in which I miss her. But I don't think that means I'm not moving on. Because I can see the difference in me. I can see how I am integrating this into who I am.

Two years isn't that long... It just isn't. I don't understand why people don't get that, and can't respect it.

I don't understand why grievers are made to feel like mental cases.

I don't understand why feelings become invalid and excessive at some magic time.

Ok. I'm done ranting.... I guess I just needed to get it out.

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If it is any consolation, I'm bothered by it too! Mainly as you said, how dare someone who hasn't been in those shoes, judge someone who is. Glad they are so sure they'd "move on", but what exactly does that mean. I've moved on, as in I get up every day and go about my life, have fun in it, plan for the future. But every single day, I miss my dad (who died 28 years ago next week) and my mum (who died 8 years ago last Sept). Sorry if that isn't what this person thinks I should do, but what the heck do they know? And I agree, if I were in those early years, when the pain and missing of them was so much more acute, those comments would have stung a lot more than they do now, and would have been no help in helping me feel better about my horrible loss.

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I don't blame you for being offended. That was a very insensitive thing for her to say. It is almost as though she is mad at the person who is still grieving her Mom.

Best advice I can give is to let her know that it was offensive and insensitive..or just chalk it up to some people are just ignorant.

Love,

Bobby

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Gosh Val.................I don't think ANYONE who hasn't walked the walk or walked in the other person's shoes should make such judgmental comments. And I figure for young gals who've lost their mothers it is especially difficult. You were pregnant the whole time your mother was sick. Carolyn was an infant when she passed away. You counted on sharing motherhood with your mother and that was snatched away from you. You are only in your 20's. I could go on and on as to why your grief has not dissipated. But I believe you already know all the reasons I would list.

I think it as a flip, callous remark that was made and I'm upset ~ and I'm in a totally different place than you are. I would dismiss it IF you can and move on. And you are right.......I would be hesitant sharing my innermost feelings with this person. I hope she never has to learn what our side of the road is like.

I was going to suggest perhaps writing a letter to the pastor or something ~ but that route may just prove more disturbing for you in the long run.

Sorry any of us must deal with folks who have much to say about which they know so little especially in the forum that this person chose.

Love,

Kasey

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I think it was a totally callous remark from someone who hasn't lost someone they have loved.

It doesn't matter to me how devoted you are to your faith and an afterlife and "meaning" to the things that happen in life- you don't "get over" the loss of a loved one.

The loss of a loved one changes who you are, and while you move forward- you can't just "move on" without taking that love and the impact of that loss along with you....

I compare my grief to having had my leg amputated....sure I will get used to having lost that body part...but I'll never walk the same and will be reminded everyday in big ways and in small ways, that that limb is gone.

Does it mean we won't ever be joyous or happy again...no...of course we will- and that is part of grieving and healing and abides by no ones timeline but our own....

But those who can hide behind faith or a lack of experience who says we need to "get over it" can bite me. Sit down with them after someone they really love dies and see if they feel the same way.

I doubt they will.

(((Val)))

We get it. Shame on that person.

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Val,

First off, hugs to you today!

No, you are not hypersensitive, but this passage in your church newsletter did strike a little too close to home. At first, I did think the youth pastor was making a reference to you, and it got MY ire up! One should never use personal examples of another person's experience without that person's permission. To do so would be broadcasting personal information to people who really have no right to that information.

The writer is clearly inexperienced in both dealing with death AND writing for a newsletter! I agree with Kasey, that you should write a letter to your pastor and the youth pastor. People who have been untouched by loss would be enlightened by what you could share, and it would go a long way in validating all those experiencing grief.

The "God has a plan, we'll get the answers later" is a pat answer given by people who don't know what else to say. Grief allows us, or rather, FORCES us to dig a little deeper and search for a satisfying answer. But the old, reliable answer allows the inexperienced to flap their jaws and believe that they are providing some comfort. And quite possibly, they do, for some people.

But it isn't as simple as just "being strong." We grow because we can be weak and broken human beings. And when the pieces are mended back together, they never quite fit the same way. Katie put it so well to describe it as having a limb amputated. Life is forever changed! But it's ok to miss what was lost.

So write the letter, Val, if you want to and know that it will help at least ONE person, if not more.

Many blessings,

Karen

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I assume the youth pastor is herself young? One thing I would be wondering is why she wrote such a piece in the first place. It seemed a little forced, hence the pat phrases, as if it were an assignment rather than something from the heart.

She probably would be surprised, maybe even distressed, to hear that some thought it offensive or callous or insensitive. Most likely she wrote it with very good intentions, but it's clear that she doesn't have a deep understanding of all the issues involved. If you believe she has the potential to learn and grow, maybe you SHOULD try to become a friend for her benefit if not yours. Or write your own article for the bulletin, not directly criticizing hers but hitchhiking off of it and exploring grief in a more meaningful way.

I must admit that the "God's plan" part bothers me most of all. But that's just me, and I won't go there today.

My Aloha,

Ned

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Val,

I am totally offended by that letter...the implication is that anyone still grieving after two years isn't strong...that is a hurtful, offensive statement. And the fact that it is made by someone who hasn't lost a parent, just adds insult to injury!

What the heck does it mean to be " the type of person who moves on" anyways? Does it mean not thinking about your loved one every day? Does it mean not expressing your feelings of sadness and grief?

It is simply such an outrageous note--I feel like writing your church a letter (kidding!). As Katie said, we are like amputees. We will learn to walk again--but we will never stop missing the lost limb.

Best,

Leslie

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Got to say this rubs me the wrong way too. My first reaction was "well, get back to me when you've lost your mom, then we'll see." And just what does it mean to "be strong" and "move on?" Like none of us are? Goodness, it'll be 3 years on my dad in April and I can't say that I'm "over it" yet. Mom's will be 2 years in July......I'm with Katie on this one: I don't think you're ever really over it, you just learn how to go on living with loss.

Linda

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As she stated, "Her mom is still alive & kicking"! My opinion is, She hasn't got a clue! :roll: Kind of big words for a person that doesn't get it!

Don't waste your time with it. Consider the source and maybe it's time for you to move on Val. :wink:

New friends are for the heart! :wink:

I think what you need to keep in mind here is this:

YOUTH MINISTER :roll::wink:

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I wouldn't let it get to you. It was such a simple minded and forced "reflection" that you're better off letting it bounce right off of you.

If I were her mom, I'd be pissed. I raised a kid who believes she'll be over my loss in short order because "it's part of god's plan." I guess then we should also really be celebrating when a loved one gets cancer because it was all part of god's plan to begin with. . . so it has to be good.

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(((Val))),

I found the words of your youth pastor to be very cold, calloused and unknowing. I resent people who "don't have a clue" telling others how they should just accept it, get over it and move on. Her reference to her mom being "alive and kicking" was cold. When her mom passes will she say "my mom is no longer alive and kicking" so I'm moving on now?GRRRR Oh Val, this one makes me see red. I'm sorry to get carried away like this , but there is no wonder, in my mind, as to why you found this hard to accept. Furthermore, no two people have the same bonds with their friends and loved ones. No one should stand in judgement of others... I have had similar things said to me and it hurt me. Many of us here do understand. If you are too easily offended then so am I.

Sue

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I think it's inexperience. We had something similar happen in our church while Bill was here -- a seminary student was giving a sermon one Sunday (one of his first). It had to do with our response to trials. We weren't the only ones offended. He learned.

I think when people are speaking or writing to a group (particularly in a church), that if they're going to talk about a topic like grief, they either need to have experienced it, or they need to solicit content from someone who has.

I think that's probably what upset you -- that someone who doesn't understand your pain was trying to suggest an appropriate response.

You know what? There's nothing wrong with telling her so.

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Val,

You are an articulate young woman. You are a STRONG young woman. You have dealt with the loss of your mother and the birth of two children as well as the slight bit of stress having a husband deployed can bring. Since you've been married, you have had to deal with the possibility that from this good-bye or that good-bye, your husband may not come back.

Never, for one moment, think that you are NOT strong because of a comment from someone who has never walked the walk. I admit, I haven't lost my parents, but I have lost some very near and dear people in my life and I miss THEM every day. I cannot begin to imagine what life would be like without my mother, and I truly think it would be offensive to "be strong" and "get on with it" in a short time frame.

I would think that a pastor would take time to reflect and pull on a cloak of empathy before putting pen to paper - "How would I really feel if ...?"

I think you would only be helping this pastor to either tell her how you feel or send her a letter explaining it. A letter would allow you to put down everything you are feeling and not forget a point you want to make.

....and I think you should write an article on strength, not on grief, since what I took from the article was that if you are still grieving after two years you cannot be strong - and that a load of BS. Strength and courage, you've seen it and you've lived it, write it.

XXOO,

Becky

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Val,

My Mom died 2 and a half years ago, and I still miss her acutely. As a matter of fact, the missing has taken on a new and sharper nature in the last few months. I am very open about it with my close friends, and I actually went kind of weepy and "black" during Christmas over it. The concept that anyone would try to limit this natural and appropriate event occurring within me is baffling. To me, it would be like someone telling me to just get over being left-handed. It is what it is, and I just don't care what anyone else thinks about it. Mary Colleen

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Hi Val,

I just wrote a long response and then accidentally deleted it...darn it!

The gist of what I wrote was that I agree with you - I think it was entirely inappropriate for her to pass judgement on anyone who is grieving, and then to go on and say essentially that she will manage it better and that we ALL should. She has ZERO clue, and sadly she will have a clue when she loses her mom or a loved one. And if she is able to not "have trouble with it" and believe it's God's will, etc....well, then..Amen, sister! I'm all for that. But to speak of something in such a superior tone that frankly, you know nothing about, and judge people for it...naah.

I think you should let her know, in a constructive criticism sort of way, that her comments were inappropriate and uninformed. I'm trying to give her a little pass b/c she seems a bit naive, yet feels a bit superior with her title, and obviously has deep faith...but come on. That's one of those you write, re-read, and hit delete.

Hang in there, Val...

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Val,

Don't overthink it and measure yourself against her comments. Her writing was cold and callous and clueless. Sometimes people are like that, they have all the answers, until something happens to them.

I remember one Fathers Day, I was out to dinner with someone and we were talking about parents and I had a teary eyed moment. The other person asked me what was wrong, and I said, almost apologetically, that I just was feeling the loss of my dad since it was Fathers Day and all (it sort of irked me that I had to point that out, that they weren't already sensitive to the fact that Fathers Day + no dad = sad). To which the other person replied, Really, after 10 years? I would think you would be over it by now. I managed to stammer, "over losing my dad?" and they replied, "well, at least to the point of not crying over it".

You don't really have answers for those type of people- to be perfectly honest, they don't really deserve one!

Val, as always, you are right where you are supposed to be.

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Val,

I hurt for all those that lost

a love one and read the comments

of that youth pastor..

----------

That youth pastor must be trying

very hard to WIN the best

''Church Bulletin Bloopers''

of the year.

----------

You could and should write

a letter to that youth pastor

suggesting a (well) compose

apology to the person he hurt

and to all the people that read

his callous comments on grief

snd to think before writing in

the future or to write only on

subject he knew about.

Jackie

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I would be mad. Just reading what she wrote makes me mad and offended and I am blessed to have my mom. My reaction is how dare she judge and my other reaction is feeling sorry for her, maybe she is not that close to her mom b/c if she was, she wouldn't be able to "move on" so casually within two years.

I understand the need to continue living and t h ere are many definitions of movign on, but I can understand how the pain must still be fresh.

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I agree with all who have posted...what in the world does it mean to have to "move on" or "get over" the loss of someone you deeply love? No one can ever understand that hole in your life after such a loss, unless they have experienced it themselves. My sister left this earth almost 3 years ago...every day I want to talk to her & the reality of not being able to still takes my breath away. I continue my life but it will never be the same without her. I still come to this board for solace because, outside of my husband, I realize that with other people I have exceeded the "grieving expiration date". I hope the youth pastor at your church develops some compassion, some finesse with their style of writing & choice of topics, or chooses another line of work. They are not helping, they are hurting.

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Dear Val -

I am so sorry that happened to you. It was cold and insensitive to anyone who has lost a loved one. Altho my mom is still alive, my dad passed away 23 years ago and believe me, not a day goes by that I don't think of him, miss him and wonder what life would have been like had he lived.

As a Stage IV cancer survivor, it bothers the h*ll outa me that someone would think that my teenage son would have a date mandated to him at which point he would just think, OK, mom's gone - I'm over it now!! Your mom is your mom, they carried us inside themselves, they nurtured us, worried about us, loved us......how do you just forget that on a certain date??

It just goes to show how rude and insensitive people can be. People just don't get it unless they have walked in others shoes. I had posted a thread not too long ago about rude, stupid remarks that people make. It nevers end. Just last night, I was at a parent/swimmer pasta dinner for my sons swim team as they are going into their huge end of season sectional meet this weekend. I am sitting at a table with all these parents who KNOW I have cancer and there was a dad there who is a 3 year survivor of prostate cancer. We were talking about the "shave down" party this Friday night where the boys shave their heads, legs, etc. This mom actually had the nerve to say that she is not allowing her son to shave this year because "I cried so hard last year when he came home with a shaved head - he looked worse than a cancer patient". Some of the other moms looked like they wanted to just fall thru the floor. But its just an example of people who live in oblivion of other people feelings - who feel like bad stuff only happens to other people.

I agree that you should let her know what she did was offensive. Hopefully, she will realize that she is young and inexperienced in those matters and actually welcome your input. If not, then maybe she should leave the subject of grief to a grief counselor!!

You hang in there, Val - I am sure your mom is looking down from heaven and thankful that you still hold her so close in your heart!!!

Hugs - Patti B.

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Hi Val,

yeah... what they said!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

IF you haven't walked in my shoes then don't even pretend to know what it's like.

My BEST friend has said to me on more than one occasion... "we all have to go through it. Eventually we lose our parents."

WELL f#$K u. I still love her but times like that that is all that comes to mind. Not very nice thoughts from a nice Christian girl like me.

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