DEAR MISS MANNERS: My son passed away last summer due to unexpected circumstances, and I returned to work less than a week after the services. Maybe too soon, but my job is demanding, I knew the work was piling up and I needed to keep busy. I work in a complex of numerous attached buildings.
The staff in my building treated me just as I wanted with business as usual and being as helpful as possible. They seemed to know the proper way to treat someone that just lost a loved one -- don't make me dwell or relive the circumstances.
There was one woman that works in another building that came to me and demanded that I "come here" as she pointed to the area in front of her. As I was leaving my desk to go to the copy machine, I said I would be right back. Again, she pointed to the floor in front of her and demanded that I "come here," adding "you need a hug."
My response was to tell her thank you for the sentiment but I preferred things to be business as usual. When I returned to my desk from the copy machine, she was waiting for me, again telling me that I "need a hug."
My emotions were mixed, ready to cry and angry at my wishes being cast aside and her demand made again. I repeated my thank you for her expression of sympathy but did not want a hug, that I was holding it together because it was business as usual.
Now this woman is telling everyone how rude I was in refusing to allow her to express her sympathy in the manner she thought appropriate. She told this to a friend of mine, who responded that since I was the one with the loss, it is my choice on how I grieve and she should accept that.
She says I owe her an apology, do I? Was I rude?
I am just a grieving mom trying to get through each day.
GENTLE READER: How interesting that your colleague managed to fashion this incident into a case of your not being sensitive to her tender feelings. Miss Manners finds that curious in someone so arrogant as to believe that her conferring her embrace is a consoling favor.
Do not give the matter another thought. Not only is it your bereavement for you to protect, but it is your body.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: Growing up, my grandmother would give me and my sisters cash for Christmas or birthdays and would like for us to tell her what we bought with it. (i.e., clothes, toys or shoes).
That really wasn't a problem until we forgot to write a thank-you card once or twice. She then went and sent blank thank-you cards with her gifts with an already filled out return envelope even down to the stamp.
When this happened I felt rightfully insulted. Was this rude of her or am I just holding on to an old wound?
GENTLE READER: Have you stopped causing this wound?
If you now faithfully write thank-you letters, Miss Manners believes that you should forgive your grandmother for going easy on you. Rather than making the expression of gratitude easier for you, she should have ceased sending you money that you evidently did not appreciate.