It has been a bit rough in the Kitchen for the last few of weeks. I spent Friday attending a funeral. The gentleman would have been my father in law if I were in fact married. There have been hospital visits, some hard decisions for the family and then waiting for "the call". It's been pretty sombre around here.
Of course, the passing of a loved one is on my mind. It's not something we are very comfortable talking about but I wanted to get a few things out, some questions, some musings.
Why do we find it so hard to express sorrow or grief? This one was no different from any other funeral I have ever attended. People really hate to cry, like it is some sort of weakness. I'm not a "good" cryer. I'm the loud sobbing, can't breathe, messy sort.
As I was offering up a shoulder, or giving a much needed hug for comfort, I kept being struck by that vaguely embarrassed look we all get. You know the one I mean, that "sorry you had to see me like this" one. I've worn it myself. There is nothing wrong with an expression of grief. I kept thinking of that old saying "a burden shared is a burden eased".
It really was a lovely service. Not because of the church or the funeral home, but because of the man who's passing we were there to honour. His grand children's names were written on ribbons, a grand daughter sang Hallelujah, there were a few tears in my eyes after that, and the service was packed with people.
Why were they there? Because he was a good guy. Devoted to his wife and family, loved to sing and dance, respected and liked by co workers and employees. He loved his life and that touched every one around him.
We talk of legacies or achievements, building an empire, winning that coveted prize, having that fortune or house on the hill. In the end, that room full of people were there because he was a loving man, not because of fame or fortune. I can't think of anything better than to be remembered for a life well lived.
I never had a chance to get to know him. My part in all of this has been support. That's hard too. I'm going to make a very broad stereotype here, guys are not always great with this. I have no idea why but women seem better able to just be there, rather than having a task.
Although I consider myself to be a good listener, when this all started I completely missed the mark. When we talked about him being in the hospital, I immediately switched into problem solving mode. That is normally my role, gather the information, plan how to move forward.
Details were sketchy and often contradictory and I found myself getting a little frustrated. How was a decision to be made? So I kept asking questions, until I realized, I wasn't helping at all. I was making a bad situation worse. This was not a problem solving time, this was a listen, nod and just be there when you're ready to talk time. I wasn't making any of these decisions, I didn't need to know and I was pushing for something that wasn't ready to be thought about let alone discussed. I even stopped the constant, "Are you okay ?", "How are you feeling?" Why is it so hard to just be there?
We all cope in out own way, on our own terms and in our own time. When you're ready, if you need me, when you need me, I'll be there.