As we finish week four, I am sorry to hear that our professor had to attend a memorial recently. See, I work at a restaurant, so I am always asking how people are doing. The responses are generally the generic, “I am good, how are you?” But this one Friday, I was caught off guard.
I do my usual host/bussing duties of greeting a couple and bring water to their table. As I poor the water into clear,clean glasses, I ask “How are we doing today?” And to my surprise, the lady responds “Well we just got back from a memorial, so not sure how to answer.” I was taken a back, which led to an awkward moment. I say, I am so sorry for asking and apologizing. The mood of that conversation changed and I left with an unsatisfactory feeling.
There was nothing I could do to change that moment, because eventually like all things, nothing lasts forever. There was nothing I could say or do to help that couple out. I myself, have experienced death when my grandpa died 4 years ago. Nothing anyone said mattered. I finally understood why death is hard, because nothing anyone says, you take in.
Yea he is in a better place. Yes, he was a good man. Yes, he will be missed. But nothing changes the fact that they are gone. Period.
So how to you bring up the topic? You don’t in my opinion. Be there for that person and feel their presence. Let them know you are there, because often speak louder with our actions than words. If they bring it up to you, elaborate, but if they appear distant, then just be there for support.
We are all consumers of death, whether it be our favorite pet or a loved one. It is an inevitable consumption. That doesn’t mean we cant help others by being there for them. There are different ways we all consume death, by what we do and use our bodies. How we take care of them and eventually how we take care of the world as well. It will come eventually, but we can take steps to prevent a sudden shock of a loved one passing.