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QUICK - what to say to coworker whose daughter died unexpectly??
Posted by: SDGuy
Date: July 14, 2008 11:40AM
Title says it all. Male co-worker's college aged daughter died suddenly last week. I thought he'd be away from work awhile - but it looks like he's at work today.

Any condolence I can think of saying sounds trite - also don't know if he would even want it mentioned. I'm sure others out there have dealt with similar situations - what would seem most appropriate to say?
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Re: QUICK - what to say to coworker whose daughter died unexpectly??
Posted by: Ammo
Date: July 14, 2008 11:45AM
"I am sincerely sorry."
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Re: QUICK - what to say to coworker whose daughter died unexpectly??
Posted by: Zoidberg
Date: July 14, 2008 11:48AM
Good God, I can't -- and don't even want to -- imagine what he must be feeling. Though I can remember trying to get back to work as soon as I could after losing a family member (grandparent, uncle) to keep my thoughts and body busy.

I think what Ammo said is all you can say. Avoid the "if there's anything I can do" because he's heard that and there's nothing you can do.



Now I know how my Dad felt when Elvis died. #RIPRobinWilliams
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Re: QUICK - what to say to coworker whose daughter died unexpectly??
Posted by: Markintosh
Date: July 14, 2008 11:51AM
Do say something. The worst part of going back to work is when nobody says anything.



“Live your life, love your life, don’t regret…live, learn and move forward positively.” – CR Johnson
Loving life in Lake Tahoe, CA
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Re: QUICK - what to say to coworker whose daughter died unexpectly??
Posted by: JoeBob
Date: July 14, 2008 11:53AM
I third what Ammo said.
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Re: QUICK - what to say to coworker whose daughter died unexpectly??
Posted by: gabester
Date: July 14, 2008 11:57AM
I'm an expert at the oral insertion of feet and other awkward objects, but I think this would be sufficient:
"I'm sorry for your loss. I cannot imagine what you must be feeling right now."
Leave it at that but let your co-worker talk if he wants to. If he doesn't want to he'll probably express appreciation for your comment and go back to work.
g=
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Re: QUICK - what to say to coworker whose daughter died unexpectly??
Posted by: Rolando
Date: July 14, 2008 11:57AM
"I don't pretend to understand what you're going thru"
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Re: QUICK - what to say to coworker whose daughter died unexpectly??
Posted by: karsen
Date: July 14, 2008 11:59AM
"There's nothing I can say that will make things better. Just know that I am sincerely sorry for your loss and I'm here for you need anything at all."



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Re: QUICK - what to say to coworker whose daughter died unexpectly??
Posted by: volcs0
Date: July 14, 2008 12:02PM
I deal with these types of loss on a daily basis, and parents all the time tell me that it is much more awkward for the other person than it is for themselves. Often, the parent ends up feeling like they need to comfort the other person.

As others have said here, you should just say, "I'm really sorry for your loss. I can't imagine what you must be going through." Don't be afraid to talk about it with him. He probably came back to work because he wanted to get back some of the normalcy in his life (part of which is now gone forever). Just try to be a friend.
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Re: QUICK - what to say to coworker whose daughter died unexpectly??
Posted by: SDGuy
Date: July 14, 2008 12:05PM
Quote
volcs0
I deal with these types of loss on a daily basis, and parents all the time tell me that it is much more awkward for the other person than it is for themselves. Often, the parent ends up feeling like they need to comfort the other person.

As others have said here, you should just say, "I'm really sorry for your loss. I can't imagine what you must be going through." Don't be afraid to talk about it with him. He probably came back to work because he wanted to get back some of the normalcy in his life (part of which is now gone forever). Just try to be a friend.

Thank you everyone - looks like this is pretty much the consensus (and does sound most appropriate) - I'll be certain to stop by his desk sometime today.
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Re: QUICK - what to say to coworker whose daughter died unexpectly??
Posted by: tuqqer
Date: July 14, 2008 12:10PM
From deep experience:

"(name), I am so, so, sorry."

And if there's a way to get the person or their family food, do so. Any simple action that they would otherwise have to do and think about (such as getting them lunch or dropping off a to-go dinner at their home) during a time when they can barely think straight, will be remembered for years.



Mac Pro 2.8Ghz Quad-Core tower, 14G RAMYosemite 10.10 betaDual 24" ViewSonic LCDs11" i5 MacBook Air



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/14/2008 12:11PM by tuqqer.
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Re: QUICK - what to say to coworker whose daughter died unexpectly??
Posted by: maco
Date: July 14, 2008 12:33PM
One important thing to remember. Often times when someone loses a loved one, they get a lot of support at 1st. After that, in a matter of weeks the support drops off. Be there for that person in the weeks and months to come.
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Re: QUICK - what to say to coworker whose daughter died unexpectly??
Posted by: threeprong
Date: July 14, 2008 12:43PM
Maco makes a great point.
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Re: QUICK - what to say to coworker whose daughter died unexpectly??
Posted by: Dennis S
Date: July 14, 2008 12:43PM
You have to say something. When my sister was killed in a car wreck, it was a huge thing when people said anything. It didn't matter how they said it. In fact, the more bumbling it was, the more "charming" (for lack of a better word) it was.
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Re: QUICK - what to say to coworker whose daughter died unexpectly??
Posted by: MacMagus
Date: July 14, 2008 12:51PM
> Avoid the "if there's anything I can do" because he's heard that

Actually, this is one of those occasions where that works...

"I'm so sorry. If there's anything that I can do to make it easier for you here at work, if you need to step away, if you need someone to cover for you or anything just tell me."
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Re: QUICK - what to say to coworker whose daughter died unexpectly??
Posted by: ztirffritz
Date: July 14, 2008 12:51PM
I found that a Gift Card to a restaurant is also nice. Tons of people provide food in the first few days/weeks. You can't eat it all. The gift card is good for a long time and is a quick easy way to offer some support.



**************************************
Nothing to see here, move along.
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Re: QUICK - what to say to coworker whose daughter died unexpectly??
Posted by: tuqqer
Date: July 14, 2008 12:54PM
Quote
MacMagus
> "I'm so sorry. If there's anything that I can do to make it easier for you here at work, if you need to step away, if you need someone to cover for you or anything just tell me."

I second this.



Mac Pro 2.8Ghz Quad-Core tower, 14G RAMYosemite 10.10 betaDual 24" ViewSonic LCDs11" i5 MacBook Air
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Re: QUICK - what to say to coworker whose daughter died unexpectly??
Posted by: cbelt3
Date: July 14, 2008 12:57PM
What everyone said. And further...

Comments like "God has a plan" and "She's in a better place now" are incredibly painful to hear. Save the religion for church, unless they bring it up. Ask if they need anything.
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Re: QUICK - what to say to coworker whose daughter died unexpectly??
Posted by: Black Landlord
Date: July 14, 2008 01:00PM
Great advice here.
I offered condolences to a friend on the loss of his mother yesterday and he said "@#$%& happens". . . that's a first for me.
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Re: QUICK - what to say to coworker whose daughter died unexpectly??
Posted by: RAMd®d
Date: July 14, 2008 02:19PM
Great advice, particularly from ammo, Mark, and maco.

I cbelt3'scomment also especially relevant.



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Re: QUICK - what to say to coworker whose daughter died unexpectly??
Posted by: swampy
Date: July 14, 2008 04:37PM
I recently went through this with good friends who lost their 8 yr old daughter. She was healthy one minute, brain dead 3 hours later. (seizures that lead to cardiac arrest and revived too late, brain function gone). Of all things on Mother's Day.

It sounds so inadequate, but "Name, I'm so sorry for your loss" is about the best you can do and let them take it from there.

If you were close enough and had any photos of their daughter, get copies made and drop them off in the future (not right away). I had enough good shots of their daughter at various picnics and ball games that I made and had printed an iPhoto album "Memories of Delaney" and delivered it several weeks later. My friends teared up, but were very grateful.





If you don't stand for something, you'll probably fall for anything.
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