“Why didn’t you…”
Have you ever said these words? Many people have. It’s a common question the bereaved experience after loss, particularly if or when a loss may have been preventable. It’s also a form of distancing; of inserting a barrier in the conversation.
“Why didn’t you [insert second-guessing statement here]? I would have [insert action].
…(and so this would never have happened to me).”
And while I understand why you think or say these kinds of things, I need you to understand how very much your words are not helpful.
It’s easy to second-guess a situation when you are looking back on it from the outside. It’s easy to think or say you would have done things differently, but you don’t know for certain. Nobody knows how they would react to any given situation until they are in the midst of it. And yet people ask these questions anyway.
Notes for the Support Team – Words Matter:
Original question: Why didn’t you…?
Rewritten: I’m so sorry for the death of your child. It’s never fair. He should be here.