Friday, February 18, 2011

What not to say.

Here we are more than halfway through February and I haven't had time to blog. Work (writing projects of my own and for others) have kept me busy. As well, a dear friend and mentor is receiving palliative care. Naturally I feel very sad. Emotion is tiring. Also, I like to visit her as often as possible.

Evidently in our society we're not supposed to say that we feel sad at the prospect of parting from someone, even a person who has played a huge role for good in our lives. Apparently we are expected to get on with things and to maintain a cheerful exterior.

Recently when I was extricating myself from a commitment, and mentioned this friend's situation, someone informed me that "Death is a part of life." This isn't the first time I've heard that pearl of wisdom. Hearing it made me feel the way I did when my mother died and someone told me that I "had to let her go."

What do these cliches mean? That I am not supposed to grieve? That I shouldn't take any time out for myself to come to terms with what's happening, but should keep busy dancing to someone else's tune?

Of course death is a part of life. Someone my age knows that. It doesn't make it any easier.

I have other good friends, and hope to make more in years to come, but none of them will every take the place of this one. She is unique.

"Death is a part of life" and "You have to let her go" are unhelpful remarks. They should go on the list of "things not to say" at a time of death.

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