To those who no longer dare talk to me for fear of saying the wrong thing, I apologize.
To those of you who will tell me I have no need to apologize, don't worry--it's a shallow apology.
Several people have asked me, "What CAN I say?" Good question. I have found that I can't predict my reactions to anything. It is the nature of grief, I suppose, that I am in a fragile state, with emotions running just below the surface. They shoot up like the flames in the Fire Swamp, seemingly without warning (another Princess Bride reference). But still, people have made comments that made me feel better, if only for a moment. This list is not comprehensive; it's just what I can remember:
- Maura is singing in the Heavenly Choir. (But wait, but wait...isn't that also in the Top 5 List of No-no's? Yes, it is. Here is a perfect example of how unpredictable grief is. Sometimes, especially on Sunday, I think of Maura singing praises to God, and it comforts me to think that we are singing together. So, if said at the exact right time when I am in the right mood, I can appreciate the beautiful statement. But I've heard it soooo much from soooo many people, that it more often than not just reminds me that she is not singing where I can hear her. Too bad you can't know when you can say it and when you can't. Sucks for you.)
- You will see her again. (Same idea. It's another dicey one you're better off not saying because it's been said so many times and usually only serves to remind me that I can't hug her now. So, it doesn't belong on this list, does it? But, I can't deny that I think about it every day. )
- I won't ask how you are. (It's such a relief not to have to answer the question. I feel like such a liar when I say "fine" and such a whiner when I say anything else. I know that it is just a simple greeting or expression of sympathy, not even requiring a response other than "thank you," but it still stresses me. )
- I remember when Maura...[fill in the blank] (I love hearing stories about Maura. I love hearing how she affected others. I love hearing about her zany adventures, her laughter and her smile, her good deeds, her passions, her love of life and God and music and languages and travel and penguins and parties and elephants and clothes and shoes and sunflowers and yellow and pink. This is a pretty safe bet to use most any time, even if I cry.)
- I'm sorry. (When in doubt...)