Lately there have been a lot of people leaving us, some we don’t know why others we knew some took us completely by surprise. Either way the feeling that hits you is raw and unavoidable. The stages of grief are things you’ve heard or read about but when you go through them, what you read doesn’t quite cover the turmoil inside…the endless waves of anger, sadness, numbness and disbelief that pound against your outside wall of calm control.
Then there’s the endless questions and condolence messages. Don’t get me wrong, support from friends and family is good but flooding every inbox with reminders, forcing us to retell the story of the death, making each conversation about what cannot be changed can overwhelm someone. All the while one must bend to the whims of society and act ‘as is appropriate’. Why? Why can’t we laugh and joke and celebrate that life and how little of greatly if impacted us? Why must we be solemn and seem as though we’re about ready to pack it in and follow those that have left?
Everyone deals with death differently and if you truly want to support someone through it think carefully on how best you can do this. Also consider if what you do or say is more to make you feel better or to support, because sometimes, some of the things we do are to make peace with our conscience or to be seen doing something. Maybe you aren’t consciously aware…I’m sure I have done it.
If you meet with someone who has experienced loss, ask them how they are the way you normally would…don’t looked pained and/or constipated. If they choose to bring it up then listen, don’t offer unnecessary words of wisdom. Sometimes we just need to hear the things in our head out loud, and have someone to share a beer with as we quietly contemplate the meaning of life.
Funerals can be expensive and sometimes labor intensive because of African tradition I do not understand. How is it okay to make a grieving family cook for several people and spend money to make copious amounts tea for people who will gripe about there not being enough sugar all in the name of mourning? Most people won’t bring anything or offer to help and this baffles me. A grieving widow is slaving over a pot while ‘guests’ matter over how unfortunate the death of her husband is? What’s the point exactly? Should the ‘guests’ offer to bring her a meal or help in the kitchen or distract her with tales of the confused shamba boy back home? *sigh*There are some amazing people though, people who understand what to do…like those aunties with iron wills and strong arms who take charge and protect the family, who hold you when you’ve had enough, and laugh with you as you all share in the chore of cooking.
This is just how I view it, again we’re all different, but I think it’s important to celebrate the person’s life instead of them leaving. Instead of flooding facebook with posts about how horrible it is and gloomy words, it would be nice if people shared their happiest pictures or little moments they treasured with that person.
Have you ever watched P.S I love you? No? Well you should. But here’s the part of his wake:
The whole movie teaches something about death, but I’d rather not spoil the entire experience.
Someone leaving is not only about sorrow and pain, yes we miss that person and for a while it will seem like a figment of our imagination but with time that pain will be dulled by all those moments you shared. So celebrate as you cry because you had a chance to have them in your life, it may have been short or a lifetime but maybe, just maybe it was just enough. And all those people who seem pushy and keep calling and texting to check up on you, they do actually care so don’t let the frustration get to you. Talk it out with at least one trusted person…the dark and the wonderful, try not to hold on to things to tightly. If you believe in God, pray…He will guide you and help you through it, don’t be too mad at Him.
“Remember one day we shall all wake from the dream.”