Friday, September 22, 2006

Sad Words

In the past week, two friends of mine both had their fathers pass away. They aren't terribly close friends, but they are close enough that their grief has really affected me. I'm usually at a loss for words in these situations and have been working on trying to change that because I think the worst thing you can do in times of mourning is to give into the awkwardness of the situation. Even if what you want to say is cliche, I think it means a whole lot more to them than we realize.

The note I wrote to one of my friends took a while, and I've decided to post it here because I'd like to help anyone out if they are caught in a similar situation as I was, not being able to fully relate to a person who is mourning the loss of a loved one, but still wanting to convey that I care deeply about their healing.

The news of your father has come as quite a shock. I had an odd feeling something may have happened after I didn't hear from you for a couple of days, but I did not expect this. I am so sorry and wanted to offer my condolences. I'm not sure if this news came to you suddenly, or if he had been sick, but regardless I obviously can't imagine how difficult this must be for you right now.

On the blessedly few occasions I have offered condolences, I often think back to the time when my grandmother died and remember appreciating it the most when people provided their personal insight about death or their times of difficulty.

I feel like it's an emotional time of year as it is, since the Jewish new year begins tonight. Perhaps this gives you opportunity to reflect even deeper on the memory of your beloved father. This time of year we sort of look into what is living within us. I feel like when we mourn, we are trying keep the spirit of the deceased alive, and the fact that your father's passing during this time of year makes that even stronger. His spirit will certainly live on with your help. I also hope that you can stay strong and provide strength to your mom and other family members during this time. I know you, and have a feeling you are being a great help to them.

Please let me know if there is anything I can do and feel free to take as much time as you need. Also know that I am thinking of you, especially tonight as I attend services, and hope that my words can at the very least comfort you in some way.