Sunday, July 25, 2010

Sharing History: Hero or Villian?

Today, my husband and I visited the Detroit Historical Museum; we really enjoyed wandering through the three floors of exhibits. I was pleased to see that both young children and adults were engaged.

One exhibit in particular, called:  HEROES OR VILLAINS? presented biographical information and artifacts on 16 prominent individuals of the metropolitan Detroit area.

In a remarkably unbiased way, each man and woman was described on display panels. Nearby, were a few panels with quotations by their contemporaries;  these panels--though black and white--were flaming with accusatory and angry sentiment!  Heroes or villains?

Such contradictions are not restricted to public personalities; we each live in shadows and sunshine. 

And at funerals, conversation can drift in either direction. Is it acceptable to "speak ill of the dead"?  That is for you to answer.

The Coach says:  never discuss a person's 'shadows' in a condolence note.

You may have memories of the deceased from work or leisure that offer a unique perspective. Sharing history (memories) is one of my favorite Keys For Comfort. It does come with an unbreakable rule: never shock, humiliate or belittle the person who died.  Be your own censor, bite your tongue (or pen,) dig deep if you have to, but be kind as you share history. Your condolence note should resonate with words so precious that they will be re-read!

Hero or villain? The answer does not belong in a memorable condolence note.

Share this thought with a friend. And thanks for caring.

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