My Neighbour’s Cousin’s Father-In-Law Has the Same Thing

pulse-trace-163708_1280A few years has passed since a loved one had a heart attack and open heart surgery. It was an extremely anxious and stressful time. After daily hospital visits I would either phone or email friends and relatives with the latest updates. Many times, when relaying my distressing news, I ended up feeling that my anxiety had been minimized by others.

I lost count of the number of times I was told that this was routine surgery. They made it sound like an annual flu shot. Yes, it may be common place but to me, my loved one was still on the operating table for eight hours with a stopped heart. Hardly routine to me.

I lost count of the number of times I was told about a neighbour/friend/relative who had the same thing happen to them and had the same surgery. No medical event is exactly the same as another. Maybe they were trying to make me feel better but they made the event seem insignificant. It was not insignificant to me.

Others told me tales of friends with far worse illnesses. I would think to myself, “This isn’t a game of I Can Top That”. This was also the time I felt I had the right to be selfish. This was my story I was sharing with them.

After the death of an elderly person I have often heard the bereaved asked the age of the deceased. What does it matter? What is unspoken is what did you expect? They were old. The loss of a loved one, regardless of their age, is painful.

A few tips when someone shares their anxiety or grief:

  • Let the person talk.

  • Do not compare their pain with yours or someone else’s.

  • Ask questions, but not too probing or personal.

  • Stay in touch.

  • Recognize that everyone handles stress differently and it may explain their behaviour.

I will always remember and feel gratitude to those who supported me during the stressful weeks I have described.

  • They listened.

  • They did not judge.

  • They performed mundane tasks to make my life easier.

  • When I refused another casserole they were not offended.

  • They were there long after the crisis was over.

Good health to all of you. As always, I appreciate your comments.

About etiquetteottawa

Founder and Owner of the Protocol School Of Ottawa
This entry was posted in Commentary, Tips and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to My Neighbour’s Cousin’s Father-In-Law Has the Same Thing

  1. karenhickman says:

    Suzanne, so well said, my friend.

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