When you know better, you do better. -Maya Angelou
When we had Ryan six years ago, I remember being blown away by all of the presents when he was born. People sent flowers, stuffed animals and outfits. Really? We are supposed to do this when people have babies? I had no idea. I just usually sent a card, if they were lucky.
So when my Mom passed away last month, I again was blown away by people. Really? That's what people do? Really? Wow. People are so good. We kept saying it again and again. People are so good.
When Mom first died and we sat in shock that first day, we were lucky enough to be interrupted by the door bell ringing. At the front door wereflowers. To get them at my parents house right away made us smile, cry and feel a little better. The door bell continued to ring for the next few days. Next came the visitors. We are Presbyterian not Jewish sitting Shiva and I was surprised by people that came by to express their condolences. Some were not even close friends. And because all we wanted to do was sit, cry, eat and talk, it was wonderful to have people around. Next came the food. Boy did we have food! People brought by casseroles, meat trays and soup. Even though we had trouble eating, it was good to have food there to offer people and make ourselves eat a sandwich now and then. Our favorite thing that a friend of my sister brought us was the largest container of Starbucks I have ever seen and delicious cookies. Perfection! She brought it over and sat with us for the night.
Another thing that surprised us was that someone people sent a card (immediately) and also attended the calling hours or funeral. Some even sent flowers in addition to the card and coming to the calling hours. I didn't realize people sometimes do all three. Good people.
When my Dad's pastor met with us, he said that some people may be uncomfortable at the calling hours. His advice was to just let their presence be enough. It was so true. Words are so unimportant at calling hours. By simply being there, comfort was given and condolences were felt. Don't struggle with the right words to say. A hug and your presence is enough. It really is.
Something I also didn't realize is that you appreciate the cards that come late. You know the one that you never get around to sending and is on your "to do list." As the world goes on, you are still grieving. To receive a late card or flowers helps so much. You are not alone in your grief.
However you express you sympathy the important thing is to acknowledge the person and their family. There is no right way or wrong way. We all have different styles. But one thing that we learned is that every card, dinner, flower and presence means so much. Each one. Without them, it would be nearly impossible to get through the grief.
So next time you think it may be too late to send a card to someone remember that grief doesn't end when the casket is closed and the family leaves the cemetery. For many, it is just beginning. Send the card and tell them you care. They will truly appreciate that you took the time and that they matter. We are so lucky to be in the company of good people.
My name is Indy and I am from Ohio. I am married to a great husband and have two little boys and a baby girl. I have worked at a college in the past. But, have decided to stay home and take care of my children. Toughest bosses in the world. Wouldn't miss it for anything!
Last year, one of our dear friends created the phrase, "I'm not talking about it, I'm just saying." It is the perfect phrase when you really shouldn't be talking about something but you just can't resist. This blog provides entertainment for me and new frienships. Thanks for stopping by. I'd love to hear your comments and I hope you will return soon.