Saturday, June 11, 2005

Am I getting old?

In the last two years I have experienced more death than I had in the previous 26 years of my life. It started with Ian's dad a couple of years ago. It was pretty out of the blue and very hard to deal with. Then, a year later, my boss' wife was in a car accident and died, then Willow (my cat, yes, he counts too), then my Grandfather. Yesterday our neighbour passed away at the hospital. I took grief counselling courses when I worked at the vet clinic and learned how to help people through loss, but, I'm terrible at it, really. I have no idea what to do. Do I go to the neighbours house and offer my condolonces? If I do, what on earth do I say? I'm sorry just sounds so stupid right now. Don (the neighbour) has been in the hospital for several months now, so really, maybe it's a blessing that he finally passed, but you cant say that either. So, I sit here in my house, afraid to go out because I may bump into Don's son or his wife, and I have no idea what to say to them. I feel sick just thinking about what they must be feeling.

1 comment:

Emmett said...

I know exactly what you mean. I've only encountered death a few times through the people around me and I always found it difficult to imagine what to do. Pity isn't something I would want in that situation, I thought, but not expressing condolences also seems rude.

My suggestion? Get a card and write in it that you offer your condolences to the family and that your thoughts are with them. If you really want to do it personally, go over deliberately with a card or a gift (something baked, perhaps) and tell them quite simply, "We heard about your loss and I just wanted you to know our thoughts are with you." Then you hand over the gift. They might invite you in, but don't fall for it... you've really got to be going and you just wanted to stop by.
After doing that you don't need to bring it up again. But you probably should do it since it's obviously preying on your mind.