Thursday, January 20, 2011

Remembering the Dead

A very long time ago someone told me that one of the hard things about losing someone close to you is the period 

After

After the shock, After the wanting to dissolve into a pool of salt water, After the numbness. After support network of friends and relatives have started drifting off and getting on with their own lives. For you it is still raw and real and at times unbearable. But your support network? They have slowly started picking up the pieces and are beginning to live their lives again.

And so I promised myself that I would always remember. That I would remember the dates, and I would always offer my support and love, if not every day then at least on those anniversaries. And so it has been that I have always done this.

When my friend Johnny was killed by an elephant I had my first proper taste of the truth of this.  And always on the anniversary of his death in July and on his birthday (just two days before mine, on the 15th January) I would write to his mother and his sister to say I was thinking about them. 

And now I have moved to Tanzania and once more I live close to Johnny's mother and sister. And I see, on his birthday and the anniversary of his death how perhaps my 'thoughtful' reminders are just too much.

And then a few years ago my good friend lost his two year old boy to malaria. It was absolutely devastating. Of course.  He was not the first child they had lost. It was almost too much to bear. And one year, on the anniversary of his death I gave his mother a card. Saying I was thinking of her on this anniversary or some such thing. And she opened the card, thinking it was something fun. An invitation to something maybe. And her face. Oh my heart nearly imploded in on itself.

So what do you think? What is remembered lives, as Reya says? Or is it just picking at the scab of wounds that should be left to heal?

 

 

11 comments:

Janelle said...

shit i dunno, man! gad, a hard one! guess it's all down to timing and the situation...? if to give or not? xxx j

tam said...

Why don't you just ask them?

Linda Sue said...

It's a personal thing...when the death is recent, like four years or so, remembering might be a nice heartfelt gesture- a blooming plant, something indicative of life. but, really, the dead are never forgotten, always remembered, in quiet moments, in the grocery, folding laundry, when you least expect it...there they are!

Lemon Gloria said...

Gosh, I don't know. I think it's lovely that you remember and reach out in remembrance on the day, but maybe for some it is too much. I think, though, that even if it's painful, I'd be so touched that someone else was thinking of my loved one.

Val said...

i think its wonderful that you remember. Everybody has that secret sadness - no-one escapes; I am always really touched when people share a rememberance like that. but I agree with Tam, if you are not sure just ask them. Then you will know x

Lori ann said...

ah dear. your compassion is what matters most, and that comes through completely. i think any act of kindness done with a true heart and intention is a good thing. and if you don't know what to say a hug will work.

how is the little one? must be so big by now :)

Lisa L said...

in my experience, people who have lost beloveds? hate that no one remembers them.. or speaks of them. they crave people to talk about those gone..and no one does. i think a card, or a word, is fantastic. it honors the gone, and it reinforces to the survivers that you didn't forget..

Miranda said...

J - yes I guess it depends. So hard!

Tam - you're right, I should.

LindaSue - So true!

Lisa - I think so too.

Val - yes I will!

Lori - thanks, wise words! Pics in next post, just for you!

LisaL - yes, thats my thoughts behind it... I think you're right.

family Affairs said...

its such a difficult thing - really depends, but I think on the whole people want you to remember Lx

Iota said...

I have wondered this. I don't think there's a simple answer. On occasion, I've waited till after the anniversary, and I've then told a friend "I was thinking about you last week". That way, it's not so intense, but you still let them know you have remembered.

SafariB said...

Hey Miranda

Having someone out there remember... when everyone else has moved on with their lives... it means the world. Dont ever doubt that. My dad used to do just what you do now Miranda. Its a special gift. Blessings on you.

xoxo B