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Les's avatar

What should I say to my Hindi friend who has recently lost his mother?

Asked by Les (9622points) February 3rd, 2011

I hope this isn’t a stupid question…

I have a fairly good friend whose mother has recently passed away. Normally I would write something about keeping him “in my prayers” or something along those lines, but I’m pseudo-agnostic anyway, and he is Hindi. I don’t want to say something generic like “I’m thinking of you…”, because he is a good friend, and I think it should be a bit more personal.

What does the collective think? Do you have any good quotes or lines about loving mothers? (BTW.. I didn’t know his mother.)

Thanks, all!

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21 Answers

Likeradar's avatar

“I am so, so sorry about your mom. Please let me know anything at all I can do to make this time better for you.”

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I would just tell him that you are sorry about his mother.

seazen's avatar

May you know of no further sorrow? My condolences? Or:

मेरी संवेदना

You may copy/paste that and practice the pronunciation: don’t worry – it says My condolences, not you’re an asshole.

Baddreamer27's avatar

Im sorry you are going through the loss of your mother. Please let me know if you need anything….

Les's avatar

@Likeradar and @lucillelucillelucille : Yeah, I suppose I could just say that, but I wanted to sound more eloquent or something. I don’t know. I appreciate your responses, though.

@seazen : “May you know no further sorrow.” is very nice. I like that a lot. Thanks for the help.

bkcunningham's avatar

@Les send fruit. It is believed to release the soul. You could send a note that says something like:

May you find peace in your time of sorrow in knowing your mother is being lead from the darkness to the light.

Les's avatar

@bkcunningham : That is beautiful. Thank you for both suggestions.

Likeradar's avatar

Meh, I’m not sure if a pre-rehearsed line is really better than awkward sincerity in a situation like this. Speak from the heart. Awkwardness isn’t always bad.

bkcunningham's avatar

@Les you are welcome. It fits with the Hindi beliefs.

Les's avatar

@Likeradar : I’m not trying to sound rehearsed. I just want to know if anyone has experience with this, or any ideas. I appreciate yours, I just like to have some things to think about. Not that any death is easy, but this was unexpected and tragic… I don’t want to sound callous. Not that your suggestion did… oh.. I just feel so terrible, and I don’t know what to say.

lillycoyote's avatar

Something simple, the same thing you might say to anyone. It doesn’t really matter that he’s Hindi. Say “I’m so very sorry for your loss” or call him by name and say “Bob (you know, his real name) I’m so very sorry about your mom.” HIndis, everyone, we all love our mom’s as much or as little as anyone does. And I never say “in my prayers.” If I want to say something like that at all, I say “in my thougthts” because you really never know for sure what, whether or if someone mourning a loved one believes or want’s religion brought into it. The simpler and more heartfelt the better, I think, no matter what a person’s beliefs and background might be. Having lost both my parents, unless you know exactly what the perfect thing to say is, the shorter, the simpler, the better. It is always better to say to little than too much, and the more complicated you try to make it, the harder you try, the more likely you are to say the wrong thing. Again, I think it’s better to say too little than too much and most certainly better than saying the wrong thing. You’ll be fine. Just say enough to acknowledge the loss so that your friend knows you care and understand that it is a loss.

Likeradar's avatar

@Les No worries! I think it’s awesome that you’re getting advice on this! :)

Les's avatar

@lillycoyote : Wonderful.. I will definitely take your advice and be short and caring. I think that is what @Likeradar is saying, too. There are no words for healing pain, so just enough to say that I am there for him and thinking of him, that is what I will do. I usually only say “prayers” because most people I know are Christian, and that’s the thing to say. But, as I said, I don’t really pray, so that is actually fairly hollow of me to say.

Thanks, and of course, if there are further suggestions, I’d love to hear them.

filmfann's avatar

Don’t feel like you need to say anything. Just give them a hug for a moment, nod, and move on.
Some things are best said silently.

Les's avatar

@filmfann : I would do that, but I live 1,000 miles away. :-(

KatawaGrey's avatar

I have noticed that there are two things that grieving people always seem to need. One is a wordless hug. You can’t do that because you are so far away. The second, however, is to talk about the deceased. You don’t know about your friend’s mother? Ask about her. You will learn some odd little tidbits about his mother and he will cry. He may say some things that don’t make sense but talking about a dead loved one is one of the most therapeutic and wonderful things for someone experiencing grief.

lillycoyote's avatar

@Les Yes, that is the bottom line. There simply is nothing you can say, in words, that can make it better, that can change anything, no matter how much you want to, when someone has lost someone they love. It is really enough, for most people, it was for me, that your loss is acknowledged and that people care. And a few, quick, simple words can accomplish that. You don’t want to over think it.

gailcalled's avatar

During the acute phase of grief, what specific words you use doesn’t matter. He is not thinking about your eloquence but his own grievous loss.

You can find poetry or other appropriate writings, songs or quotations for sometime later when his needs are different.

Another useful question is “Do you feel like talking, telling me what happened or would you rather not?”

It is also better to say “What can I do to help” rather than “If there is anything I can do, let me know.”

Judi's avatar

I can’t imagine your pain. It must be so hard to be without your mother. My heart is aching for you. I’m holding you on my heart.
Then just be available to listen and just be present.

Les's avatar

Wow. You all have such wisdom. Thank you all for such wonderful responses!

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