During my life I have lost a number of people that I loved. I’m all out of grandparents, I tragically lost my sister, I’ve lost aunts and uncles and dear friends. And almost going on 2 years now, I lost my Mother.
It recently started to hit me that now that I’m over the age of 50, coupled with the multiple dealings I’ve had throughout my life with loss that I should be somewhat of an expert on what to do and say when someone in my life experiences a loss. My wife lost her one and only Aunt this week. Of course I am here for her, I am trying my best to comfort her, be her best friend and I believe I am doing all the right things to console her. But let me make this clear: I am still never quite sure what to do.
No one ever is. It is very heartbreaking to watch someone you love lose a loved one, and you are left feeling hopeless. What can you do, as one person, to ease their pain, to give them comfort through such a terrible time, what is the “Right” thing to do?
One thing I do know for sure is this: The WRONG thing to do is to do nothing at all.
When someone you love dies there is an incredible void that is left and the truth is that many acts of kindness get lost in the sadness of it all. I probably can’t tell you who sent me cards or flowers when my mother passed away, but I can tell you that each time I went to the mailbox there was love and kindness waiting for me and my family.
As my wife is dealing with this loss, I am sure she will not remember how some of the things that got done got done. But I am sure that things will get done by the people in her life that came to help her when she was going through this tough time.
I often say when cooking that the most important ingredient for making a meal taste great is “Love”.
Well, I promise you this: If you reach out with Love and Compassion you are doing the right thing. When someone you love suffers a loss, everything is “The right thing to do”
Call them, send them a card, bake them some cookies, help clean up. And continue to do these thing even after you think that they are “Ok”
People treat grieving people like babies and try to avoid questions and mentioning the awful thing that just happened. Sometimes people try to even avoid the grieving person altogether just in fear that they will say or do the wrong thing that will send that person into tears. The problem with that is so obvious and we all miss it – A grieving person needs to be allowed to be upset. They need to hear the name of their loved one and be allowed to do whatever they need to do with friends and family around them to support them.
As for me, I will do my part, as best as I know how to comfort my wife and family through this loss. Aunt Linda was 72 years old, she was a kind lady, had a great love for reading and animals. She loved her dog. I don’t know much about her life, but I am sure she did some amazing things. She always used to mail me newspaper clippings of sports articles that related to the Jets or the Mets, sometimes just to rub it in my face (being that she was a Yankee fan). She will be missed. Ilyssa has a small family by comparison to mine. Aunt Linda was her only Aunt. There is never solace in saying that you have other Aunts and Uncles of course, but losing the only one you have must be quite hard. I’ll always be here for you Ilyssa.