This will undoubtedly be one of the worse articles I've written. Worse for me because it involves the death of my husband whom I have been with for 50 years.
I have a friend who also lost her husband to cancer several years ago and I remember well her grief process. The stages rolled by; denial, agony, anger, etc. During the anger phase she wrote a scathing letter about the stupid things people say to someone who has lost a spouse. I remember thinking at the time that, although logical and succinct, it was very harsh. She was venting.
I've had the urge over the last two days to write the same letter, lol. We try to excuse the ridiculous reactions by saying, "People just don't know what to say." They should just say that. "I don't know what to say."
They should not risk asking for information. . . "How did he die, where is the body, how can you have him cremated because I could never do that, why didn't he have any insurance, are you going to move now, will you remarry?"
Humor has always been as escape for me and I came up with what I thought were really funny answers to these questions.
"On a scale of 0-10, he died well."
"We just propped his body on the patio until we decide what to do."
"Well, I'm about to kill you so we'll find out what you would do vs cremation."
"He didn't have insurance because he wanted to toughen me up." or "He didn't have insurance because he thought I'd just spend it on shoes."
"Yes, I have a tent to pitch at the beach since I'll be homeless anyway."
"Well, if I do remarry I will marry up."
I can't put all the blame on sympathizers. We bereaved can be a pretty 'ouchy' bunch. It's akin to being skinned alive and then having someone stroke you to try to comfort. We need help, but we can only tolerate certain kinds of help. Unfortunately or fortunately, there's no official manual for comforting the grieving.
Bystanders have expectations concerning the grieving. Some expect us to be very strong, some expect very sad, and others expect something in between. I started to care about pleasing all these people, but because I'm a widow, I get a pass most of the time. My 'inappropriate' response to the loss is chalked up to being traumatized. (I can get away with a lot!)
There are those individuals who are selfish and egotistical, narcissistic and only know how to make my loss about them. That's the real shocker. Seriously?! You think I care about your experience right now? NOT!
But actually, I sometimes do care. It's just not the right time to expect me to care.
I do know this, the Bible says God is not the author of death; satan is the author of death so there's no blaming God for any of it. Perhaps when trying to comfort someone who has lost a loved one, we might want to asked God, "What should I say to them or do for them at this time?"
Truly though, thanks to all those who made the effort, shared the pain, encouraged recovery. You are appreciated.