Recently a young friend of mine lost someone he loved very much. His 5 yr old cousin… Someone made the statement to him “I know how you feel my goldfish died this morning” He was incredulous. So was I but I was not surprised. I heard many stupid things following Micheal’s death. I sometimes wonder if people think about what they are saying… I doubt it though.
I had one Micheal’s friends mom tell me not to feel guilty for not trying to talk Micheal out of going into the Army… she had tried so hard for me. As if my supporting him was somehow at fault for his death. She didn’t even realize that was what she had implied. Later she would tell me God killed Micheal to bring me closer to him. She was shocked when I asked her if God was a terrorist too. To insinuate God would murder your family and inflict pain and fear to control you and force you to follow him would be the same exact thing the terrorist are doing right?
I think the absolute stupidest thing ever said to me was from a former customer who ran into me at Wal-mart shortly after Micheal’s death. Keep in mind Wal-mart was a hard place for me to be at that point anyway because I was there when I found out Micheal had been killed. First she went on and on about her miscarriages. Now I have had 3 miscarriage and know how hard and sad they are to go through.. but it’s not like losing you 19 yr old son.. Trust me. I stood and nodded and thank her for her condolences and just as I was walking away she said “It could have been worse” I flipped out. Now my husband by this time had wondered off and came running when he heard me screaming at this poor lady I do feel bad about it now) I wanted to know HOW it could be worse? How can burying your oldest child have been worse? He suffered for an hour and a half, how could it had been worse? My husband came and pulled me out of the store. I was in tears and shaking. It was the last time I let other peoples stupid words bother me though.
But I think worse than the stupid words people spew out of true lack of thinking or because they just don’t know what to say are the people who no longer talk to me at all. Before Micheal’s death, once a month a group of us would go out for Mom’s night out. 4 or 5 us would go to dinner and just talk about anything on our minds. It was a time to relax and just hang out with friends. They stopped calling to invite me. I don’t hear from any of these supposed good friends anymore. They even walk the other direction when they see me in public. Others will smile and say hi but I can see in their eyes they are scared to even talk to me. So I just smile and say Hi back and let it go at that. This not talking is different than the friend who does show up and just sits quiet with me. They were there for me. And sometimes just being there is enough. Someone told me of a tradition< I believe it’s Jewish but am not sure, of having someone come just sit with the family for a month. If the family wanted or needed to talk they would listen and talk. If the family just needed a quiet companion they were there to comfort them quietly. Maybe we should bring this tradition back.
Please if someone you know has a death in their family… don’t abandon them. Keep calling and asking them to coffee or lunch no matter how many times they say no. Listen to them.. let them ramble down memory lane with you. And think about what you say. The best thing said to me came from my then 9 yr old. “This sucks mama” and he’s right… losing someone you love SUCKS and it’s ok to say that.