Coping with Death

Coping with deathRecently our dear friends were shocked by the death of their 25 year old son. He was killed in an accident. His twin brother had also died in an accident about 6 years ago. The grief in our town was palpable. It seemed everyone in town was connected to this special family in some way. Active, athletic, popular and loved by so many, the family was surrounded with visits and prayers.

I was especially impressed with our own daughter-in-law as she gently explained to our elementary grandchildren — “it is really important that we be with our friends when they are so very sad.” What a lesson to learn so early in life. And it really is that simple, isn’t it? We must be with our friends when they are sad. Sometimes condolence calls are so hard to do and yet we know how important they are. As the grandmother said, “visits help the time pass by.”

And as I visited with his grandmother, and she shared with me all of the cards and notes they have received, I was again reminded of the importance of those sympathy cards. I well remember the comfort we found in sympathy cards when our brother died suddenly. We would sit in dad’s living room and read them aloud to each other. Each one brought comfort. And it is such a simple thing to do — send a little card. I have to admit I am not as good about that as my sister, Betty. But today I am determined to do better. I do know how much it matters!

About jta

South Carolina grandmother who loves to write, dance, and visit with friends and family.
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9 Responses to Coping with Death

  1. bevspaper says:

    Oh, Joan this is a wonderful post. Condolence calls are not always easy but they are so important to the grieving family. We just lost a long time friend last week to a stroke. His wife was taking it really hard…blamed herself for not seeing the signs. I don’t think any of us were looking forward to going but we knew we had to…we owed it to our friend. So the old crowd gathered and we sat for hours remembering the times we had shared, we laughed and celebrated the history of our friendship over the years. It did us all good but most especially Betsy. She told us all how much it meant to her that we would all come and celebrate the life we had shared with him and honor his life as he would have wanted us to.

    I’ll add another personal note, if I may. Yes, that initial condolence call is most important and those cards mean so much, they really do. Don’t forget the grieving family after the funeral. Once the numbness has worn off of their hearts and the real loneliness sets in, they need your love even more then.

  2. Joan Adams says:

    For sure, Bev. Those weeks when the numbness wears off may be even more important. I remember a dear high school friend — I had not seen her in years when Mel died — and in fact, I have not seen her since 1988 now. But she visited me at dad’s during the funeral days, and we had a nice visit and memories. Then after that, she sent a card every single week for a couple of months. Oh how I appreciated those notes !

  3. Joan Adams says:

    Me too, Kate. I just loved the way she said that. “be with our friends when they are very sad”
    Words that even little children can understand — and all of us can do! I am thankful for my daughter-in-law – she’s such a super mommy!

  4. Joan Adams says:

    I totally agree with you, Kathy! I could write a book on all the things “not to say” — I think we heard them all when our brother died. Simply “I care” or “we love you” or “I’m sorry” or “I hurt with you”…………or “I loved your brother/sister/friend/child”……….Oh please remember to say his/her name. We all want our loved ones to be remembered.

    And what people need most is your presence, not your explanation or theory. 🙂

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  6. Kathryn Griffiths says:

    Loss can be pretty hard to deal with. I lost my son-in-law just going on a year now. It’s been a rough year for my daughter and her kids. One tip I would like to leave… Keep your opinions about death… dying…where the departed is going etc….. to yourself.

    I know folks don’t always know what to say so they get real philosophical. It’s just best to say, I’m sorry” and leave it at that. There is so much going on in the persons mind… they don’t need added clutter.

    Look around and see where you can help… don’t ask… just do. Bring in a meal… mow the lawns…. take children away for a day… clean out a fridge etc.

    I’m sorry about your friends loss. I can’t imagine loosing a child…let along two.

    I agree with Bev. Contact… weeks and even months after the services is most appreciated.

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  8. mshomeec says:

    Joan, oh, I so agree with you – that visits and notes are so important! Confirming your thoughts and the comments above “really hit home” regarding what to say/not to say and visits and notes. For many “what to say” or “what to do” may be the hardest parts. Friends care, but don’t really know how to show it. Something as simple as “I am soooo sorry …” is enough………being there is what matters. And the same is true with notes/cards. “Know that you are in my thoughts and prayers” ……..or “…in my heart at this sad time” are enough ….Memories are wonderful to add if a person is comfortable doing so. The bottom line is simply – do something. And do I ever agree with “weeks / even months” later. It is never to late to let someone know you care.

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