Updates: I wanted to thank everyone for the expressions of support after my brother Paul passed away. That post took a lot out of me. (Well, that and taking care of Kathy and working.) But I really appreciate all the kind words in emails and on Facebook.
Talking to a grieving person can be tough. When the little girl who lived across the street was killed in a car accident a few years ago I froze up. I just didn’t know what to say. The dad of the girl could tell I think, and came over and broke the ice. It should have been the other way around. But, we learn as we go. I guess I was afraid I would say the wrong thing.
Basically, we over think it. Or we walk on eggshells; afraid we will upset someone by saying the wrong thing. Writing the blog post was my little way of talking about it. I think when it comes up, listening is probably better than talking anyway. We want to share stories about the people we have lost. Or in the case of Kathy, are in the process of losing.
I came across a post called How To Talk To A Grieving Person by Leslie Horn. I suppose everyone is different, but a lot of it rings true.
“When you don’t say anything, it’s perhaps borne out of a fear of offending, causing more strife, or simply imposing upon someone. But that’s all in your head: The truth is, there’s nothing you can say to someone who’s just buried someone close to them that will make it feel worse.”
There are a lot of clichés out there too. I design greeting cards in my other life and most of my songs wouldn’t exist without clichés, but sometimes they just pop out of nowhere. We mean well but you start to think “Why in the hell did I say that?” after your mouth opens.
Giving the grieving person a chance to talk and tell a story is probably the best thing you can do.
“When you lose someone, it rips open a void. Something is missing. But sometimes, it’s comforting to be reminded that the void is there, because it’s a reminder that you are missing someone great. Talking about them is part of that. It keeps them with you.”
I have no idea what it will be like when Kathy passes on. I think I’m prepared. The grieving has been an ongoing twenty-year process. I suppose anyone losing someone to a degenerative disease goes through something similar. You have to laugh at some things and miss other parts. I suggest writing a blog, but that’s just me.
“There’s no such thing as a time when everything should be okay, no script, no right or wrong way to grieve. People do weird shit. I haven’t been able to delete my dad’s phone number from my favorites; I also saved a pair of his leather loafers. One day I’ll delete the number and give the loafers to Goodwill. But I’m not ready to let those things go yet. It’s a process.”