18 August 2016

Always Send A Condolence Card

The other day I came across something on the intertubes that struck me, hard. It turns out to have been posted more than 10 years ago - on NPR's All Things Considered - but good things are still good, 10 and more years later. Except eggs. Eggs are not good 10 years down the road.

Back to NPR. Always Go To The Funeral. It's a lovely little essay which says just that: you should always go to the funeral, because it means so much to the living.

A couple of weeks ago, the father of an imaginary friend died. I've never met her in the flesh, though I sent her a copy of Jenny Lawson's book for her birthday last month, and she sent me a wonderful hand knit scarf about 10 minutes after we'd met online. She is indeed a friend, though until I've had a chance to hug her and share a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc with her she will continue to be imaginary. It's a term of art, yo.

Last weekend, the sister of a local acquaintance died. She's someone I know her mostly from Facebook because we poke sticks at similar town- and school-related issues, but I run into her at the farmer's market from time to time, so, not imaginary. I had never met her sister.

Stumbling on Always Go To The Funeral in the aftermath of these two arms-length deaths, something resonated deeply in my soul.

I would like, therefore, to offer a corollary, or perhaps a subtitle.

Always Go To The Funeral. And if you can't, Always Send A Condolence Card.

Honestly - get out a card, or your good writing paper, and a pen, and write two or five sentences, and put it in the mail with a live stamp on it. It is the least that you can do, and in my book, it's acceptable if you have never met your imaginary friend's father or your casual acquaintance's sister.


susan said...

Indeed. And an implementation tip: it's OK to not know what to say. Some times, no words are enough. Which means it's always enough to say "I heard the news; I'm thinking of you; I'm sorry for your loss." Sometimes there might be a story or memory to share, but it's important not to let fear of not knowing the perfect words to stop saying any words.

jana said...

Absolutely. Always. Just something to know they're being thought of and loved.

Nogrinnin said...

So very true. I remember that essay also - it was a really good one that has stuck with me as well.

Bibliomama said...

Yes, yes, a million times yes. And to extrapolate a bit, at this point in my life I tend to send a card or a message virtually any time I'm thinking about someone - it always cheers me immeasurably when someone does the same, and as you get older and all the stupid crap falls by the wayside you really start to realize that what else matters except the people, you know?