Friday, March 6, 2015

Friday Five: Five things to do when a friend's parent dies

"Was it sudden?"
"No. And yes. It's always sudden."
--Buffy the Vampire Slayer--The Body

When mom died I was prepared. I knew it would happen.

Yet the suddenness of it ripped my world apart like nothing I could have imagined.

I was astonished at how well some of my friends responded and helped me out.
I was astonished at how others of my friends disappeared and made no effort to contact me. One contacted me months later and talked to me as if nothing happened. I asked her "You know, my mom died right?" She had. She half-heartedly apologized for not saying anything, but she said she had no idea what to do or say.

I've heard this before so I thought for Friday Five I would write things you can do. Things you can do.

5) Food

Send it. Bring it. Maybe not in the immediate days following the death, but wait a few weeks when people have started to get back to their own lives and send a meal, send fruit, bring food over. It is so appreciated.

4) Come

If you can come for the funeral--do that. If you can't, come for the wake/viewing/shiva. If you can't make an effort to come soon. We need your hugs. We need to cry on the shoulders.

3) Listen
Let us talk about our grief. Let us cry.

3a) Talk.
If you knew our loved ones--share memories with us. Some of the most meaningful time was when my high school friends talked about things that I never knew mom did.

2) Write.
No, I don't mean text. I don't mean comment on Facebook, I mean get a card. get a letter, sit down and type it but write to us. Tell us you are thinking and missing our loved one.

1) Call.
Don't worry you don't know what to say. No one else does either. Call us. I will remember for the rest of my life how my husband's best friend called to talk to me. How he listened when I broke down and cried.  I will remember for the rest of my life how a few women who I considered close friends never called, or wrote, or made any notice of my grief.

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