The art of social grace

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The other night the boys called their Great-Grandmother, who isn't doing so well after Great-Grandpa's death, to cheer her up a bit until next we can visit. Liam is just like me, someone who says more than needs to be said, someone who shares too much for whatever reason. During the visitation Liam walked up to Great-Grandma and said: "Really sorry that your husband died and all. I love you." When he said "died and all," he literally gestured towards the casket. I furiously scribbled mental notes about emphasizing social graces to the boys. I realized that it was his young way of expressing condolences and in his mind he thought that he was demonstrating exemplary social grace. 

Before we dialed her number the other night we sternly instructed him on what to say and what NOT to say. He wasn't to mention anything about Great-Grandpa's death, dying, caskets, things like that. He nodded his head solemnly and we dialed her number and handed him the phone.

"Oh HI Great-Grandma," he chirped. "So how are you doing? I'm sorry again about you-know-what, about you-know-who dying but Mom and Dad told me not to talk about that to you so I won't."

11 Comments

Honesty is so over rated.

This was so adorable. Truly. Not to be a downer on your comments section but when my son passed away, the condolences like this from little kids seemed to help me a million times more than what grownups had to say.

What a sweet (and funny) kid. It had to have made her smile, even just a little.

At my husband's grandmother's funeral, when our almost 2-year-old son saw his great-grandmother in her casket, he said "Night-night" then pretended to snore- LOUDLY! Of course, we were mortified, but I have to say, it was the funniest thing and made everyone laugh. Sometimes a child's innocence is the best medicine.

When I was about 7 years old, my mother's 40-year-old brother died suddenly of a brain hemorrhage. The family was in shock, speaking in hushed tones around the house, and preparing for the funeral. Who knows where I picked up the expression, but I remember remarking innocently in front of Mom and my grandparents: "What happened? Did Uncle John kick the bucket?"

At the original visitation, it's amazing he even had an idea what to say! Most adults don't even have that.

I'd say that probably meant a lot to your grandmother.

That is too cute.

For the second time today I'm reminded of my mom's story of visiting cousins in KY. They had a portrait over the mantle of a bride in a casket. Apparently she was the only daughter and she died right before her wedding day. So a picture was taken/done of her in her casket and it was hung prominently over the fireplace.

Mom said the kids were always told to not stare at it and to ask no questions about it. So she said of course they stared every chance they got!

I think Liam was really polite to acknowledge her loss and then offer her his condolences and affection. I know that I have been guilty of not acknowledging someone's pain, innocently, because I thought it would upset them if I brought it up. But sometimes people are just happy that you recognize their loss, feelings, etc., and want to take time to hear them out. It lets them know that you care. We try to be so socially and politically correct by NOT saying anything that maybe we just come off cold and uncaring sometimes.

Children are so innocent. Liam is a sweetie.

I think it's great that your son can still acknowledge the pink elephant in the room. I find that when they no longer do... That's the end of innocence.

Liam is a delight, he really is! I hope I end up with a classroom of kids just like him!

I bet, coming from her one of her precious little guys - it settles differently than and coming from an awkward grown-up :)

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