Last month, I wrote about how to manage the complications that come from having to take care of our aging parents. What I did not add in that post was what happens in the eventuality of death. Yes, our parents will grow old, very old if we are lucky, but eventually, they will finish their time here on earth. It will be tough and heartbreaking, but it will also be another aspect of life and adulthood that we have to navigate. Without wanting to sound morbid, we need to be adequately prepared for these seasons too.
I started thinking about this specifically because very recently, a very close friend of mine lost her dad. It was sudden and quite heartbreaking; he was less than sixty-five. As I spoke to her, trying to offer what comfort I could, I realized that even as a writer, there’s a huge limit to what my words can do in the face of immerse pain. That experience led me into thinking about how to support our grieving friends.
The first thing is that we should listen to them. When they are crying and lamenting their dead parent, that is not the time for you to tell them: all is well, life is like that or one of those empty words. Just keep quiet and listen.
If you’ve lost a parent at the time, you should also not start sharing how you felt when you lost your parent. You can simply say, “I can understand how you feel.” Please keep quiet from there. Don’t go and compare your experience with theirs, everybody experiences death differently.
Please don’t be like those who visit and then start expecting food. I don’t even understand how we do things like that. Someone is grieving and people are coming to eat. Instead cook for them, watch the dishes, sweep the floor, make their day-to-day life easier!
Finally, when it is time for the burial, we know how our burials can be, try to help financially if you can afford it. But money is not everything so you can also help in preparation, catering, organizing etc.
Death is something that will happen to all of us, and it is by supporting each other through our grieve that we can deal with the certainty of death around us.