Death and taxes are inevitable, and Dear Abby may coddle people, but I don't have patience for that.
Dear Jerkass: I have a very hard time expressing my condolences. I panic and avoid sadness at all costs. I'll give you two examples: My boss's husband died. (I worked for him, too.) Because I couldn't talk to her, I avoided her like she had the plague.
Another time, a close friend's son tried to commit suicide and severely injured himself. Instead of hugging my friend's wife and asking how she was, I waved and went on like I was late for something.
I'm ashamed of my behavior. How can I stop myself from acting like this? -- EMBARRASSED IN CALIFORNIA
You coward. Why don't you grow a pair and accept that we are all going to die. Running away from someone who has encountered death will not prevent you from dying.
What? Do you think you're going to croak if you acknowledge that someone died? Even if that were true, why worry about it? I've said it before; when you die, cognitive function ceases, therefore you cannot care that you are dead. If you cannot care about your own death, why worry about anyone else.
Just say "Sorry for your loss" and move on.