Monday, December 6, 2010

Condolences Etiquette

Berteaux Funeral in Champs Elysees, Paris (LOC)Image by The Library of Congress via Flickr

Recently an old student of mine passed away in a car accident. Her father and infant daughter were also killed in the crash. This is a horrible tragedy and I feel greatly for her family and her ex-boyfriend. I have been keeping them in my prayers.
One thing that has bothered me about this situation is the lack of etiquette by the teenagers and other young adults who are supposed friends of the deceased and the baby's father. Not just so much the etiquette, but also just common decency and respect.
This young girls ex-boyfriend, and the father of her baby has a facebook. I have seen tons of posts on his facebook. Some very inappropriate. But I wonder how many of these people actually took the time to write a note, go to the wake or funeral or give this young man a call or visit?
Taking 3 seconds out of your life to post "RIP" on someone's wall with no follow up is not a proper condolence.
I really feel for this younger group of adults and teenagers who have grown up with this technology, that has many benefits, but also many down falls. One is the lack of connect between really people. We have become so self-centered that we can not take anytime out of our lives to help someone who is grieving and needs support.
But it is not just younger people. We have become a nation of apathetic and self-centered people. People rudely on there phones in restaurants, the check out line, not holding doors for each other, pushing are way through crowds, cursing in public. I even over heard a man complaining how no one held the door open for him while he was pushing his crying baby in a stroller. But his wife was right behind him rudely talking on her phone the whole time! she could not be bothered to open the door for her husband or check on her crying baby, but they both expected strangers to hold the door for them! How can someone expect others to help them out when they won't but any effort out themselves.
This attitude seems to continue when we offer condolences. People don't take anytime out to help those who are grieving. Companies don't give people anytime off to attend funerals or wakes. What happened to bring casseroles for grieving families? People don't even take the time to dress appropriate to a wake or funeral.
I do know that this young man has some great friends that he can lean on and help him through this difficult time. Some good people who are taking time out of their busy lives to help him get through this difficult time. At his young age he is learning one very important lesson. Who his real friends are, and what makes a real good friend.

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