Sunday. Last Sunday, the Sunday before Mother’s Day Sunday, we received a call from one of our closest friends. Her son had died in a motorcycle accident. He was her only child.
He was only 25, the father of two precious children. His partner is shut down with grief. Friends are feeling numb and at a loss. It will be especially difficult for the young adults to try to grasp what happened.
We’ve watched this young man grow from a small boy to a man.
I’ve written many posts about loss. I’ve written about grief.
Now that it has been almost a week I hope my friend and her son’s partner don’t get the following comments. I speak from experience when I say DO NOT say these things to those who have lost loved ones.
Don’t say: He is in a better place (where?)
Don’t say: Everything happens for a reason. (what the fuck was the reason for this?P
Don’t say: You’ll find someone new. (Now is not the time, and it is just rude.)
Don’t say: God needed him more or somewhere else. (More than his children? More than his mom? More than the mother of his children?)
Sometimes you don’t have to say anything. Sometimes that is the best thing to do. Just say I love you. Just be there to give a hug, hold a hand, help do little things.
Let people grieve in their own way without judgement. Let them be sad. Let them be angry. Let them laugh because sometimes that is what they need to do. Let them sleep. Let them have quiet.
The grieving process and aftermath takes however long it takes. There is no time limit.
Everyone is going to react differently. Old memories of loss will resurface after years of being hidden away. New uncomfortable feelings will come up. There is no single answer, if there is any answer at all.
Respect the fact that grief is different for everyone.
So if you know someone who has experienced loss, just be there for them. Take their dog for a walk, or in my case to the animal hospital (another story for another time). Just be with them. Sit with a book while they sleep. Drop off a bill for them. Do research for them if they are looking for services or answers. Put gas in their car. Make cookies for them. Check in on them with a call or text. It is the little things, not the grand gestures that are needed now.
Animals, dogs and cats will react too. Find homes for the animals of those who have passed. They are grieving as well. They know. The cruelest thing you can do is to put an animal in a shelter after the death of an owner without first doing everything in your power to find that animal a new home. Abandonment is experiencing death twice, and punishment for just existing and being loved.
Sometimes the ghosts of past losses will come out. That is ok. You are allowed to feel it again. Nobody ever gets over it. Not really.
I looked outside as the sun came up this morning. Turkeys were walking among the oaks behind my house. Songbirds were out. Squirrels were doing their morning circus acts. I expected to see Nigel The Ghost out on my deck with a sketch book drawing something I can never make out. He wasn’t there, as he usually is when I talk about loss. That is ok dear readers. I am sure he’ll have something to tell you later.
Wishing everyone a wonderful weekend. Fill your days with love. Tell those close to you that you love them. Talk to your kids. Check in on those who are elderly, need extra help, or might just be alone.
~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman
I’m so sorry to hear about your friend’s loss. Sending love and prayers.
Thank you so much. Hugs.
So sorry to hear that. It’s too sad. There are so many distracted drivers out there these days.
Thank you. We’re all just numb. No parent should ever have to go through this kind of nightmare. Be safe. Now call your daughter and tell her you love her.
I’m sorry. Truly sorry. My condolences to all who loved and cared for him.
Thank you so much for your kind words.
Thanks so much for a thoughtful and thought-provoking blog entry, Juliette. There have been very few instances in which I’ve read such wise words when it comes to providing the the right kind of support and comfort to those who are grieving.
Loss is a difficult thing and I’ve written about it so much. I hate it. I just hate it. This one hit hard and was so close to home. Thank you for your comment.