There’s an Elephant in the room

In my final post, for the moment, on the language we use around bereavement, I would like to simply encourage you to talk. I know that often I say, the most important thing is to listen, and I stand by this. However, there is something that can sometimes be worse than talking and that’s to never acknowledge the bereavement in the first place.

Take a look at the last for posts here:

  1. Be Careful What You Say – Part 1
  2. Be Careful What You Say – Part 2
  3. Please See Me Through My Tears

We can be fearful of that by saying the name or by acknowledging the bereavement can make it worse. You cannot. I don’t want to say much more than this other than to leave this poem with you.

Elephant in the Room by Terry Kettering

There’s an elephant in the room.
It is large and squatting, so it is hard to get around it.
Yet we squeeze by with, “How are you?” and “I’m fine,” and a thousand other forms of trivial chatter. We talk about the weather. We talk about work.
We talk about everything else, except the elephant in the room.

There’s an elephant in the room.
We all know it’s there. We are thinking about the elephant as we talk together. It is constantly on our minds. For, you see, it is a very large elephant.
It has hurt us all.

But we don’t talk about the elephant in the room. Oh, please say his (her) name.
Oh, please say his (her) name again.
Oh, please, let’s talk about the elephant in the room.

For if we talk about his (her) death, perhaps we can talk about his (her) life. Can I say his (her) name to you and not have you look away?
For if I cannot, then you are leaving me….
alone….

in a room….
with an elephant.

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