Thursday, September 8, 2011

What Do You Do in the Face of Great Loss?

I know I've been nattering on about weddings, fashion, and boots but I've been doing so largely to avoid what's been simmering on the back burner.

What do you do when a loved one suffers a tremendous loss? 

I have no idea but I'm pretty sure that what I have been doing is insufficient.  I think I have been trying to adopt a "business as usual" approach.  That kind of thing helped me when my father died because it gave me breathing room-little pockets of normal life where terrible things haven't happened. 

Now that I'm on the other side I feel like that might be insufficient.  What I really want to do is wrap my friend in hugs and smother with affection.  But--that's selfish.  That would be about making myself feel better.

Or should condoling (is that the word?) be about making anyone feel better at all?  Does that cheapen the grieving process?  I want to be respectful of that and I just don't know how.

We sent flowers-well a plant with flowers on it that the florist called "sympathy".  I thought that was creepy.  Actually, I thought all of the sympathy arrangements were creepy--the creepiest being the sympathy basket of meat and cheese wrapped up with a big old sympathy ribbon.

On reflection though, I understand the impulse.  We bring flowers and food when people die.  We try to handle the minutia of every day life so those who are left behind can have the room to be a little numb.

I am at a loss here.

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