Many partners have suffered the loss of their significant other…an event that feels catastrophic. Well-meaning friends and sometimes the most unexpected people offer their condolences and help.
Casseroles, baskets of fruit, maybe some wine, and a staggering array of floral arrangements can be overwhelming. These goodwill gestures and symbols of sympathy are traditional and sincere. In retrospect though, even after bereavement nearly twenty years ago, I sometimes feel a little niggling of puzzlement. “What on earth would have made them say that?” type of thinking.
Last week I read in the local newspaper of an untimely death by accident – leaving a bereft and bereaved wife. Prestigious address, seemingly comfortable in an early and hard-earned retirement, well-known in the community – and yet, surrounded by well-wishers and family, decidedly now quite alone. This very woman was one who, when my husband died very suddenly, should have reflected in words better sense and sensitivity. But having made that comment myself, it’s easy to excuse people who may simply not know what to say.
As Joni Mitchell once wrote – “you don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone”. My condolences, heartfelt and sincerely. When the crowds have gone and there’s only still silence, the journey begins.