These Are The People In Your Grieveborhood Pt. 2

10 Oct

Someone asked if I could do a “must do” or “should do” list instead of a “don’t do” list.  Which makes sense but doesn’t take into account my quietly caustic nature.  But here goes.  Here are a list of good people to be when the world is upside down for someone you love.

The Fellow Traveller: Not just “I know someone who died, too!” but someone who actually has gone through what you are going through.  For me it was my friend John who did exactly what we did 5 or so years ago.  He knew every step, and he didn’t sugar coat it.  But also he got through it.  He’s like the After in a makeover show.  You gotta have an After.

Easy Peasey: Easy Peasey is just there.  No comments.  No conversation needed.  Just there, being easy, making sure you are okay.  In times of crisis I like to be the Easy Peasey.  But you have to be willing to be ignored.  An Easy Peasey isn’t in it for the feedback.  You can’t do it because you want positive reinforcement.  It has to be because you love the person and you don’t need a thank you.  You don’t even need a returned email.  The Easy Peasey just says “hey, I love you and I’m here.”

The Surprise: A close relative didn’t show up for the wake.  An old dear friend did.  He didn’t call, he didn’t make a big deal about it.  He just said “when you can drive, you drive.  When you can fly, you fly.”  That’s a surprise and it reminds you of how loved you are, how protected you can be, and how important this loss really is.  There is a moment when the crisis abates and you realize the world has not stopped turning because your mom died and you wonder if it even matters.  The Surprise reminds you that it does matter.

The Husband: There.  And he doesn’t have to be a legal husband.  Or a man.  This is husbandry, “The management or care of living things.”  Everyone should have someone to do that for them.

Honestly, I can’t give you more than that right now.  I can say that I’m surprised by how people react.  I am surprised at who has patience and who is needy.  I am surprised by my own reactions.  I am mostly surprised that when I tell someone who had never met her, they never ask “what was she like?”  They don’t connect at all with the person lost, only that I’m sad, and sad is not fun.

Today I got word that my grad school mentor, the man who really taught me how to write, and who first took me seriously as a writer will likely not make it another day after succumbing to his illness.  The world is bigger and emptier without him and I don’t know what to do now either.  I’m not able to come up with a solution that makes me feel better.  So instead I have to reach out to the people I know, and the people who loved him and make sure that I’m part of the chorus of voices that say “this person will be missed.  His life mattered.  Your loss matters.  This all has weight and meaning.  And you aren’t alone.”

The first post was funnier.

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