In a maudlin note, it's been just over 18 months since D died. It has been somewhat on my mind of late, which I noticed as I have been throwing my toys out of the pram a little lately.
I recently concluded that as we lost D quite early on in life, many of our friends and acquaintances have never had the same experiences and are often left unsure of what to say and how to behave, so I thought I might share some insights from this side of the line, being a little clearer 18 months or so after the event... and share with you some of the things that people say and do that will surprise you.
1. Saying 'Shit Happens' is not the same as offering your condolences.
2. Do not turn up at my doorstep in tears telling me how much you loved D and expect to cry on my shoulder. I really have enough to deal with.
3. If you are going to come to the funeral, either do or don't come but don't dither and expect me to reassure you that I want you there and will collect you and drop you off. It's not a bloody party.
4. Should you have the misfortune of meeting our village priest (the Catholic one), suggest that he does not tell you which type of service to have, allow you to get the service sheets printed and then change his mind. Further to that, should he decide to tell you what hymns he approves of for the funeral and which he doesn't, feel free to suggest that although this is not his funeral, it soon could be.
5. Suggesting that I am a chip off the old block seems like a sweet thing to say but ... it makes it really hard to look in the mirror and not cry. Also when the full sentence is 'You look and sound just like D, I can't bear to look at you'. Thanks
6. Salesmen who call to speak to dearly departed D, it is NOT acceptable to try and sell to me instead. It IS offensive. Please take note.
7. It does not take a fortnight to get over someone's passing, so on D's one year anniversary, it'd be nice if you could remember instead of forgetting or figuring that it doesn't matter much.
8. It's ok to miss your parents too, but I'd suggest avoiding the immortal phrase "You saw D 3 months ago. I haven't seen my parents for 6 months!" - yes but yours are still alive and talk to you once a week. See the difference yet?
I will add to this list as and when people come up with more tremendously insensitive things that leave me wanting to decapitate them with a flying Christmas Wreath.
We do try not to allow this to ruin Christmas but it can begin to dampen the spirits somewhat so some silliness is often called for to lighten the mood.
In just that vein, P the gorgeous dog, has suggested that he leaves some silly presents lying around the place - one every day on the run up to Christmas so that Mom and Aunty L can enjoy something new on each day of the Christmas holiday but he did say that he'd need me to wrap them as apparently paws make wrapping difficult. Bless him. It's no wonder I nickname him Santa Paws.
For that, the little angel will get a Christmas splash in the sea because I do know he's quite partial to a dip in the sea ... when he's not busy trying to eat the waves.
Not really feeling that creative today, but things will pick up soon, I promise and I'll have lots of fun and inspirational ideas for you soon.