'Callous' Comment to Widow After Husband's Death sparks outpouring of grief

A woman sharing the "inappropriate" condolences received by her newly widowed friend has sparked conversation online.

On Sunday, Mumsnet user Eastie77Returns shared the story which has since had hundreds of responses. She explained: "My friend's husband recently died. They were a lively, party-hard couple who hosted parties with epic drinking sessions and were known as users of recreational drugs. The husband died from an illness that could be linked to excessive drinking, but at this stage, none of us know exactly what killed him."

Following the husband's death, an online memorial page was set up for people to share their condolences. But one friend's message captured particular attention.

The poster explained: "One of our friends has written, 'RIP. Gone too soon, you were a lovely soul. Your lifestyle caught up with you in the end but you lived life to the full and not everyone can say that.'"

Woman looks upset confused at phone
A file photo shows a woman looking at her phone confused and upset. A story of “inappropriate” condolences left for a widow has sparked conversation online. fizkes/Getty Images

Her friends were shocked when they read the message and felt uncomfortable about it.

"She's not a native English speaker so I have no idea if she meant it to come across the way it did," wrote the Mumsnet user. "I'm veering between finding it comically inappropriate and a bit callous and not sure which of the two it falls under."

The Loss Foundation is a charity that works to support bereaved people and those around them. When someone has died, it can be difficult to know what to say or do. To aid with this, The Loss Foundation offers a few tips.

The charity says that it is a good idea to mention the loss the first time you see someone, this can pave the way for future conversations and let the bereaved person know you are available to talk.

But saying the right thing isn't always easy. The Loss Foundation says: "Don't offer the meaningless platitudes such as 'everything happens for a reason,' or 'time can be a great healer,' phrases like this can make it seem as though you are trivializing the loss."

The story on Mumsnet prompted other users to share their experiences of when someone said the wrong thing after a family death.

"My boss offered his condolences before my father died. He also asked—after my dad died—if I was going to take the day of the funeral as a holiday or unpaid leave," shared one commenter.

Another user wrote: "I got told to 'cheer up, it might never happen' at my dad's wake."

One Mumsnet user shared: "My mum and dad had been married 27 years. About 2 weeks after my dad died a relative told my sister 'your mum's a good-looking woman she'll find someone else.'"

"No one knows what to say after a death," said another commenter: "The most affectionate and well-meaning people often come out with howlers. But the sentiment of trying to help is there."

If you have a similar family dilemma, let us know via life@newsweek.com. We can ask experts for advice, and your story could be featured on Newsweek.