Ain't that the truth? Quite unbelievably too. Death is natural, normal, common, universal. We all experience it. What I have found to be unexpected was the shock that sudden death brings with it. Not even like the rug being pulled from under your feet but more like a giant's fist being smashed into your chest and then pressing down daily. It becomes difficult to understand even the most obvious logic. You are vulnerable, fragile (although I have disliked that word since someone used it against me as an insult- he was right to use the word, not right to insult me with it) and exposed. Death makes you public property for a time (not sure how long) where loved ones hold you, make you tea, bring you food that they have made especially and run you a bath but also to those that probe, ask intrusive questions, expect detail, question your final decision and take your curveballs personally. Death is over-powering. Death is quite simply a shocker. It doesn't matter what age or what circumstances, it is point blank final and that alone is suffocating.
An old friend came to see me yesterday. I met her when I was 14 years old (so when I say old friend, I mean a friend who I met a long time ago) and the effort she made in doing so did not go unnoticed. She has a 2 year old boy too. They ran along the track together as we snatched a conversation as mothers do. Mutually understanding that a broken conversation is as good as it gets but it didn't matter. The time we spent together was precious and I appreciate her love for sacrificing her saturday afternoon. Not many will do that. She hugged me and I hugged her back. True friendship that had grown apart over the last 3 decades but was still deep rooted. That's another thing about Death- the friendships you think you've lost through time or distance, surprise you. Fundamentally and luckily for me, people really care. Thank you.
Granny, Nanny or Mum? She was asked in the London playground last week. I laughed because I can. She is beautiful and youthful but her eldest son is 19 years old, so she could actually be a Grandparent. Intrusive questions that we all feel we are entitled to ask. Why are we so rude? I have been asked the most unbelievable questions recently. I will try and create a smile by remembering some.. I have a third book title which is "Don't say that!" and I am looking forward to writing it.
"Are you coping?"
"Are you joking?"
"Did she die as soon as she hit the road?"
"Did she die alone?"
"Can you afford to look after her son?"
"Do you really want to look after her son?"
"Has he had the snip?"
(this was when I realised the human being has very little control over what words are used in an uncomfortable situation and took the opportunity to find humour)
Maybe I should title the third book, "Has he had the snip?" instead although I don't want to encourage the inappropriate questions. We are all so silly. Not one of us knows the right words at the wrong time. It's awkward and it's completely normal to feel uncomfortable in an unexpected and alien situation but somehow we all need to learn what NOT to say.
As my mother used to say, "If in doubt, don't do it".
As my sister used to say, "Don't tell me, show me".
And as I am now saying, "Say nothing, just hug" because the power of a hug lasts a very long time but stupid words last forever.