Etiquette expert says Bruce Willis’s diagnosis is a reminder of what to say when others are sick

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Bruce Willis’ family announced last week that the Hollywood star was “leaving his business”.

The family said Willis, 67, was diagnosed with a language disorder called aphasia.

In an Instagram post, Willis’s ex-wife Demi Moore wrote, “This is a very challenging time for our family and we truly appreciate your continued love, kindness and support.” He added, “We are moving this into a strong family structure and want to bring in his fans because we know how much he means to you as you do to him.”

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Almost immediately, a large number of people began to share comfort, sympathy and more on social media.

(LR) Rumor Willis, Bruce Willis, Demi Moore and Tallula Belly Willis attend Comedy Central Roast of Bruce Willis at Newhouse on July 14, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.
(Bill Foron / VMN18 / Getty Images for Comedy Central)

The situation reminded the etiquette expert of what people should say to people (or their families) who are seriously ill – and what people should do. Should not Word.

Jacqueline Whitmore, based in Florida, told Fox News Digital that a talk on social media was particularly loving and relevant.

“As long as you care enough to access and deliver a kind word.”

The person wrote in part, “I pray for Bruce and all of you (as millions wish). I send healing and love and light. May this difficult time be easier and more comforting by knowing how much you loved and supported.”

Rumor has it that Father Bruce Willis was taught to be ‘very stupid’ following the actor’s aphasia announcement.

Whitmore said the message was just as awesome – many were “struggling with their emotions and their words”.

As a result, they miss the opportunity to extend genuine welcome and appropriate kind words.

Actor Bruce Willis attended the Kokobaba and Ushopal show on November 4, 2019 in Shanghai, China.

Actor Bruce Willis attended the Kokobaba and Ushopal show on November 4, 2019 in Shanghai, China.
(Photo taken by VCG / VCG via Getty Images)

Whitmore shared his thoughts on what to say and what not to say in a situation such as a serious illness, as he continues to advise clients on proper etiquette for many everyday situations, including preparing guest rooms for guests, tipping over the holidays and more.

“There really is no right, right way to respond if someone is diagnosed with a serious illness,” he told Fox News Digital via email.

Nevertheless, “it is enough if you show enough interest in accessing and delivering a loving word.”

Bruce Willis attended Comedy Central Roast on July 14, 2018 at the Hollywood Palladium in Los Angeles, California.

Bruce Willis attended Comedy Central Roast on July 14, 2018 at the Hollywood Palladium in Los Angeles, California.
(Rich Fury / Getty Images)

What do you say

Whitmore shared some examples OK What to say in such a situation:

“Know that I think of you and hold you in my heart.”

“No words. Know that I care.”

“I send a lot of love and light to you and your family.”

“I’m so sorry to hear this news. My heart is with you.”

As Whitmore noted, it is important to know what not to say and why.

“I do not know what you are doing, but I have your support in any way I can.”

“My thoughts (and prayers) are with you. I am for you whenever you want to speak.”

What should you not say

Understanding, as Whitmore noted, is important No. Say – why. Here are examples of ideas No. It would be appropriate to say:

“You may have been devastated to hear this news.” (It’s better not to guess how a person might feel, Whitmore advised.)

Bruce Willis is shown here with his daughter Scout.

Bruce Willis is shown here with his daughter Scout.
(Getty Images)

“The Lord has a plan for you.” (That person may or may not share your beliefs or practices, Whitmore said; and many are still focused here and there, not thinking about the future yet.)

“Let me share my experience with you.” (This is not about you!)

“I know how you feel.” (Everyone’s situation is different. Even though the two situations seem to be the same, you know how one feels.)

“Look at the bright side, it could be bad.” (“There is no point in comparing one person’s illness or situation with another,” Whitmore said.)

“How did this happen?” (It is better to avoid asking personal questions.)

Warning about being quiet

“A serious illness is not an easy topic of conversation. That’s why some people are afraid to say anything and, as a result, they avoid it altogether,” Whitmore said.

“Don’t wait until that person asks for help. Take the initiative.”

“But be careful,” she said.

Your silence on this matter can make the person in distress feel hurt – when that person desperately needs compassion, kindness and thought.

How can you help

Whitmore said providing assistance in such a situation is often gratefully accepted.

And “don’t wait for the person to ask for a favor,” he stressed. “Give it a try.”

Some ideas for help – depending on how well you know the person – include cooking food and dropping them off; Providing to run jobs; To see if you can help with child care, pet care, or general chores around the house; And putting together a thoughtful maintenance package filled with baked goods, magazine, puzzles and more.

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As time goes on, Whitmore said it is wise to remember to check that person from time to time.

Even a quick text or note like “I think about you” can go a long way in a person’s recovery period, ”he said.

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Whitmore is the founder of The Protocol School of Palm Beach, a leading business etiquette and hospitality consulting firm based in Florida.

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