Platitudes and Attitudes

OK, where to begin? I don’t even know. Here is a basic rundown of events over the past 10 days:

  • March 20: Mom passes away
  • March 21-24: Reeling and dealing
  • March 25: Mom’s viewing from 2-8 PM
  • March 26: Mom’s funeral
  • March 27: Laid off from my job
  • March 28-Present: More reeling and dealing

Yeah, that’s a real basic run down of the past week and a half. Nice, huh? Here’s what I’ve learned about myself in these 10 days, and what I’m trying to do to not fall apart.

I have learned that when someone experiences the loss of a loved one, people instinctively respond with either one of two responses. Sometimes both. “She’s in a better place” and “she’s not suffering anymore”.

While both statements are equally true, they miss the point of mourning. I am not sad for my mom. Heck, I’m actually envious. I wish I was at the feet of Jesus absent from human suffering. I’m sad because I miss her. There is a hole in my heart and life which can’t be filled by words. I will never hear her voice again, or kiss her or hug her. I miss all that.

Here’s the latest platitude now that I’m once again unemployed: “When God closes a door, He opens a window.”

Wow. Yeah, that’s not going to pay my bills.

Here’s the deal. I know without a shadow of doubt that every single person who has uttered those words to me over the past 10 days had the most wonderful of intentions. I know that. But please understand, once you’ve heard the exact same phrase a hundred times an hour, those good intentions become annoying. Ever have an itch and start scratching? Ahhh, it feels so good initially. But if you keep scratching the same spot, you’re going to break the skin and end up creating a painful cut. It become irritated, and what was once a soothing feeling now has created a whole new affliction.

I was telling a friend the other day that the absolute best and most meaningful comments I got were from friends who said they just didn’t know what to say, but they offered their friendship, their time, and any services I might need to get through the week. Whether it was providing a meal, going for a walk, listening, talking, giving me space…whatever.

I don’t know that everyone feels the same way I do during these times. I guess I’d just want to caution everyone to avoid the tried and true, rubber stamped responses to people in crisis. Words don’t fill holes or heal hurts. Sometimes it’s a hug, or just a friend being at the right place at the right time. Or simply availing yourself to them if they do need anything. Simply put, don’t feel obligated to say something profound or comforting. It’s going to hurt. It’s ok to feel pain. That’s part of it. Just remind them they’re not alone unless that’s what they need.

I am so incredibly grateful for the outpouring of love my dad and I have received from so many people during this time. I really am. If I sound like I’m not, I’ve failed at what I’m trying to say.

Alrighty, I guess I’ve dumped enough for now. Back to trying to find a job. I’m sure I’ll be writing more about my feelings on now having to deal with that in addition to dealing with the other events of the week.

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