This is a rant. This is also my departed mother's birthday. Perhaps that is why this hit me so hard. This is always a hard day for me. That's all the apology I will offer up.
Today, I took a call at work. It was a concerned daughter calling with very bad news about her father. She was calling her ex husband, out of a VALID concern that her children would hear this bad news on the STREET, through the GRAPEVINE, and she wanted to stop this from happening, as they would be unprepared for it, and there is no GOOD way to hear that kind of news, and she wanted to come from a parent.
Now, I don't what the ex husband said before he left, but I sat the rest of the afternoon and watched gossips pass this information around, even calling people at home to alert them. I mean honestly!!
I am not trying to take anything away from people who are genuinely concerned.
FYI: People who are genuinely concerned call the PERSON involved, not EVERYBODY ELSE.
I do not know whether the children heard it on the street, but it certainly is a possibility with the way people hurried to pass the news around. Perhaps you have never had to deal with the GRAPEVINE when someone you love is sick. If so, YOU ARE BLESSED. Know it! Take a moment and thank God for your blessing.
A great deal of people have genuine concern and sorrow. Then there are the people who come to see your loved one only to rush off with the latest story of how bad they look, or how bad they are doing, what a shame it is for poor _______. This makes the sick person's family want to go on a rampage where tongues are cut out. Yep. It does.
Dealing with a loved one who is facing death is heart rending enough without having to deal with all the stories that get repeated and distorted along the line. This is the one aspect of a long illness no one ever talks about. Indeed, a lot of people don't even think about it. It's like a secret club. The only people who dare to speak of it have been through it already.
I once thought I was going to have to get into a throw down at Wal Mart with one of these people, who kept insisting they just wanted to come "one more time", "to say goodbye", when my mother had already drawn the line on visitors and I know for a fact that all he wanted was the story because in his small little mind, he could use that story as currency at the local restaurant. I didn't have to get into a throw down with him, but let me tell you, I would have gladly grabbed a bat and busted his head with no thought for the charges that would have no doubt been filed against me. And he would have had it coming, if you ask me. I could have taken my chances with a jury in Linn Co. and probably gotten off.
With that said, take a moment and think before you pass on gossip. I don't care if it's true or not. Any kind. Take one moment and consider the privacy of the family. There might be people they would like to be notified first so that they don't hear it on the street. They might want, oh, maybe 1 day, or two, to deal with bad news privately, as a family. They might not thank you for spreading their sorrow before they have had time to wrap their minds around it. They might even not consider it any of your business to even know it, let alone spread it around as fast as possible. They might not thank you for throwing it in their face as soon as you see them when it's all they can do to get their god forsaken groceries bought without crying. They may have trained themselves to only cry in their car, because it's the only privacy they have where they will not upset their children.
Your words have power. They can cause hurt that you may never know about, but can never make up. I once watched a movie called DOUBT that had a scene where a woman confessed to gossiping to a priest. He told her to take a feather pillow to the top of her building, slit it and let the feathers go and then come back the next day. When she came back the next day she said she had done as he instructed. Know what he said then? He told her to go gather them all back up again. In other words, there was no way to take back what she had done, no matter how hard she might try. It was a quite brilliant movie, I thought.
It's not like everyone isn't going to find out anyway. It's hard enough without having to make sure you have your "game face" on before you leave the house.
If you are really CONCERNED, have some RESPECT.
I don't think some people even know what respect is. They certainly do not seem to have any respect for themselves.
Much hurt is done with gossip. It seems to be the one sin no one ever feels bad about or any need to feel contrite for. Think about that for 1 minute. And in case you are under the impression that you are looked up to because you told it first? Not exactly.
Everybody already knows exactly what you are.