Sorry to Hear That

It often accompanies news of a death. People say, or increasingly these days, post on Facebook, “I’m sorry to hear that”. Do they realise how self-centred they sound?

Do they blurt this out because it’s a standard response? Is it the expected thing to say when someone else’s loved one dies? What are they sorry about? Are they really sorry about the person’s passing? Or is it the anguish and heartache of those left behind? Or, as the statement suggests at face value, are they sorry they had the misfortune of finding out about someone’s death? Do they secretly wish to wind the clock back a few moments and quietly slip away before the friend with the grim face has a chance to share their sad news?

When did this start? I admit I only began noticing this recently. I never really gave it much thought in the past. I’ve probably been  as guilty as those I’m pointing my finger at now, until I actually stop to think about the actual words they use and the meaning implied. Most likely unintentional, and maybe the messenger doesn’t even catch on to the literal meaning, or chooses to ignore it, but maybe people simply need to think a little harder about what they say before someone else takes their response too literally, and in extreme cases may cause another unnecessary death. And the cycle continues…

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