Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Good People.


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 were flowers. 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.

10 comments:

MIT Mommy said...

I'm tearing. I am so sorry.

Thank you for sharing this. So many of us are so grateful we do NOT know what to do, but wish somehow to do the right thing by accident. This should be part of a "handbook for adults."

Stephanie said...

It's so true. A handshake, a hug and an I love you, is all it takes to get you through.

Stephanie said...

What a perfect way to explain that. My hear still aches for you.

Don Mills Diva said...

Oh Indy - what a wonderful reminder to people that it is always, always, best to reach out to people even if you're not sure whether you should...

So sorry for your loss.

Clare said...

what a nice reminder indy! i hope you are doing ok, thinking of you!

Laura said...

Well said and so true.

Krystyn said...

You said that so well! And, thanks for the reminder that it's better late than never.

Anonymous said...

Just like MIT Mommy, I, too, am all teary-eyed. You're such a sweet, thoughtful, generous (in more ways than you know) and caring person. During such a difficult time, one truly does question himself as to what to do/say and how is the best way to express their sympathy, concern and love. For those of us that read what you wrote, you have definitely re-assured us and given us confidence in knowing that any little (or big) gesture is appreciated and that we can feel ok about what we do (when we're not sure exactly what to do).

Im2Sexy4MyVan said...

Perfect words. I will come back to this over and over....xoxoxo

Anonymous said...

Great way of putting it into words. I think it is wonderful to let everyone know and understand. Love this post!

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