Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Uncertainty of Condolences

I have a friend who's mother-in-law died recently.  She always called her 'Mom' and was treated by her like a well-loved daughter.  My friend seems lost, now that 'Mom' isn't there to light the way.  'Mom' was cheerful, opinionated, loving, and played the piano like nobody's business.  I haven't seen much of my friend lately.  When I do, she seems lost.  How could you not get lost when somebody like that has died? 

I just want to tell my friend that it's okay to get a little lost, but that maybe she could be lost with her friends around, where it's safe. 

I don't really know what to say, even though I remember what it feels like to be where she is.  Messages to the grieving are hard to write well.  They're tricky.  Too much sentiment and it all turns sour.  Not enough and it sounds distant.  I need to write it.  I guess I was hoping I could write it here, where you all know that sometimes I nail it and sometimes it's pretty lame.  I appreciate having a place like that. 

So here's what comes to mind:

Honey, we all miss her.  It's like we lost a finger and don't know how to play any more.  But you need to know this - her music is still there, right in your head, right in your heart.  You're going to hear it someday in a song you hear on the radio.  It'll hurt. You'll see it in one of her grandkid's expressions.  You'll smell it too.  I am not kidding.  Just ask me where I end up when I smell Jergen's hand lotion.  I'll be five years old again, being hugged like there was nowhere else to be and that is kind of hard to take sometimes.  So take your time.   

We're still here and we're not going anywhere. 

What do you think?  You're right.  I can't send this.  It doesn't read right.  These things never do.

Ah crap.  I have no idea how to say what I want to say.  I really wanted to get it right.  It seems like the right time.  I should get rid of all the crappy advice.  Nobody wants to hear the crappy advice.

And the finger thing.  Now, that's just gross.  

Can't I just say that it sucks being in the middle of all that grief and I'm sorry that's where she is?  Can't I just say that I know what it feels like to wake up and have forgotten for a minute what had happened and then have to remember all over again? No, see I can't say any of that either. 

I guess I'll just have to keep trying.  I've messed up three cards in all this trying.  I hate the 'Thinking of you in this time of need' crap.  I hate writing 'I hope you find peace in your memories.'   It is all just so lame. 

This woman, my friend's mother-in-law, was a dynamo.  She was the glue that held her family together.  She was amazing at playing the piano, at getting other people to sing or play.  She ate pie when she should have been eating salad.  I miss her. 

I'm going to have to keep trying.  Maybe something will come as I sleep.  Wish me luck.

Thank you for listening, jb

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