Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Yes, it's okay to be happy

YES, IT'S OKAY TO BE HAPPY when you are with grieving people. When I stand at the door of the funeral home, greeting people:  directing them to the left or right, or just nodding as they zero in on the restrooms sign, basic courtesies take place.

"Hello, how are you?"
"Fine. How are you?"
"Really well, thank you." Oops?

Hold on... If your life is as sweet as the buttercream and message on this cake (now a lovely memory) that's good, and you can say so.
But your acknowledgement of their opposite state-- a spoken (and written) observation, is comforting.  "This must be a very difficult time for you. I'm so sorry." 

Perhaps you can remember a time when you felt so overwhelmed by a painful situation that returning to "fine" seemed unlikely. At some point, you became "fine" again.  Keep this clear-headed insight to yourself. 

Your condolence note provides the opportunity to offer some help, however.
  • "I'm good with paperwork, if you need a second pair of eyes."
  • "If you need help with yard work at your Dad's place, here's my cell..."
In life, we take turns being happy--or struggling... which is why reminding a grieving person that they are not alone, is valuable.

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