I'm going to a funeral today.
My good friend's dad died unexpectedly and I feel so unbelievably sad for him and for his family.
It's making me think about what we say to people who are grieving.
I'm sorry for your loss.
How are you holding up?
Let me know what I can do.
We bring food. We send flowers. We hug.
And I know that none of it can erase the pain, or ease the grief.
I think about how it would feel to hear things like "He was such a good man" and know that that person, however well-meaning, could never understand to the depth that my friend did, what kind of a man his father was. Or the depth of which his mom does, what kind of man her husband was.
Death is part of life. And I firmly believe that when we touch the lives of other people and when we let our spirit out and share it, that when we die, we live on. My friend's dad is living on like crazy in the many, many people he touched, even peripherally. And those things we say, though they may not take the toughness out of things, they are part of our human ritual in loss. And beyond those words, just being there, and listening, and giving a hug to someone sad...they help...little by little.
To my friend, who I love.
And to all the people reading this who are grieving someone.