Just as grieving people are often told, “At least they aren’t in pain anymore” or “They’re in a better place,” those grieving the death of a person with disabilities or physical differences are often told things like “At least their body is ‘perfect’ now.” If you’ve been around here a while, maybe you automatically hear the unspoken second half of the sentence in that comment: your person wasn’t perfect or “normal” during their life.
This sort of ableist afterlife erasure is garbage. It’s backhanded judgment.
Remember that what you choose for YOURSELF in your grief is 100% correct. If you take comfort in your person no longer being contained by physical form, that’s awesome! The problem is when someone outside your grief TELLS YOU something you do not believe, or that feels disrespectful to your person or your loss.
It’s always important to let the grieving person lead – don’t assume they feel relief at the change in caregiving or anything else related to their person.
Curiosity is always better than presumption. Ableism is a learned habit, and a deeply entrenched one. Watch for it in your comments to grieving people. If you say something you wish you hadn’t, it’s ok to acknowledge it and start again. Watch this video for more help with that – we go over the do over.
If you don’t know her already, follow Natalie Weaver and get to know her family, including the already perfect Sophia.
How about you? How have you noticed ableist erasure of your person cropping up in condolences? What would you Much Rather Hear Instead? Let us know in the comments.Curiosity is always better than presumption. Ableism is a learned habit,. Watch for it in your comments to grieving people. If you say something you wish you hadn't, it's ok to acknowledge it and start again. Click To Tweet
Wishing for some company inside your grief? The Writing Your Grief course and community isn’t like most places on the internet. Here you can tell the whole truth about your grief and your love – and you won’t hear any comments with backhanded judgement about you, your person, or your grief. No advice, no judgement, no cheerleading – just acknowledgment and support. The next session stars on April 19th. We have room for you. All the information about it is right here.