Condolences, But

After the passing of my father, I have received many kind comments, many from Facebook friends. Thanks to everyone for their concern.

And here it gets kind of funny… My father, the editor and studious thinker, always, always, always had a caveat. He would make a statement of fact and then add, “BUT…”

Even on the Sunday before his death, the gathered family listened with rapt attention as he struggled to say the right things. I recall him saying, “Where I am now spiritually and emotionally is the best time and place of my life. BUT it’s not the end yet.” During that pause, one brother interrupted, “There’s the big BUT again.” We all laughed.

I am going to make a suggestion to my readers: When you discover a friend has lost a loved one, tell them you are sorry, and do not add “BUT.” Either you are sorry or you are not. You many want to console or help them through a tough time. That is good. Just keep in mind that when we say “BUT” after our empathetic words, we are, in essence, telling them that their feelings should be different.

If you have to say “BUT” bring that BUT to this forum; don’t tell your friend or loved one you’re “sorry, BUT.”

As the son of my father, I find myself saying “BUT” a lot. And I have learned to use it less. I found that what seems to help communicating is to replace “BUT” with “AND.” People don’t mind my “AND” as much as my “BUT.”

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One Response to Condolences, But

  1. Jim says:

    That is funny, but/and in part because of Dad’s annoyance at /dislike of others loudly or repeatedly saying “but” in humorous conversation with him, as if homonym-itically referencing a “butt”, I guess to tease him. But/and remember, theoretically, there’s always another different view, so there is always a potential “but,” even in regard to sorrow/loss/bereavement.

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