Bullying someone who is grieving is, in my opinion, one of the cruelest forms of bullying. A person dealing with grief is more vulnerable and may be wracked with guilt. This is especially true if the death was sudden and unexpected, such as a heart attack, suicide or a violent crime.
I was close to my grandma. While her death was expected due to terminal brain cancer, I still wasn't expecting her to die so soon after her diagnosis. She woke up after being unconscious for days and called my name, and then she went back to sleep again. My mom rushed me to her side after school that same day. I said my goodbyes, and my grandma passed away two days later.
I still remember the taunts I got at school the Monday after her passing. My heart was raw, and their comments were salt in an open, hurting wound.
"You're cancer. You gave your grandma cancer. You killed her."
Those words were said to my face by a bully. I already had issues with guilt after my grandma's passing. The symptoms crept up so slowly that it was terminal by the time my grandma fell down in the bathroom and started having trouble with speech. She was eighty-one years old; even if we found it early, she wouldn't have wanted to go through chemotherapy and radiation. She used to tell me she had a good life, and she didn't want to delay her trip to Heaven if God decided it was her time to go.
But after her death, I blamed myself for not seeing she was sick sooner. Then, I had bullies confirming my own internal guilt. My bullies externalized what was already brewing inside me. It was the worst emotional pain of my teenage life.
Even now, at age thirty-two, I still remember the voice and the snotty tone used by the girl who said, "You're cancer. You gave your grandma cancer. You killed her."
Another bully asked me, "Hey, Cyndi! Your ugly face can make anybody scream until they die. Is that how your grandma died?"
Someone else said, "Ew. If I was her grandma, I would die too! Who wants to be in HER family?"
The sad thing is that I don't remember anything nice anyone might have said to me that Monday after my grandma died. My only memories are of the things bullies said. I'm sure my teachers were kind to me, but I don't remember any of their words, yet the cruel things I was told remain burned in my memory.
No one should have to remember a loss like that. I STILL struggle with feeling pangs of guilt when I think of my grandma taking her last breath.
Bullying someone who is grieving is undeniably cruel. You don't know who might be grieving out there right now. You might say something mean that will hurt a person for the rest of their life.
Don't be a bully.