Friday, July 31, 2009

Top 5 Things You CAN Say

To those whom I have offended through my post of Top 5 Things NOT to Say to someone whose child has died of cancer, I apologize.
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...)
I guess this is only a Top 3 List. Oops.


TheOriginalKathyWatson said...

promise me you will write a book. i love your blog. keep writing . . .

curlycue123 said...

It's really nice that you've written posts the last couple of days. I feel such a love for you and your family....reading your blog makes me feel connected to you in some way. I think about you guys every single day, even though we don't know each other that well. It's amazing to me how many things remind me of Maura every day, and I wasn't even one of her closest friends. Of course, everything that triggers a memory just happens to be beautiful and usually musical....go figure;-). I sing "O Nata Lux" to Jackson almost every has become his lullaby. The first time he heard it (besides in the womb) was at your house. Ever since then, I always think of Maura and her holding Jackson when I sing it to him. I love you!


Joni Rodgers said...

When people ask me what they can say to a person with cancer, I tell them, "Anything you say is wrong, and if you say nothing, you are a terrible person." Seems like that applies to a variety of situations.

My two best suggestions: "I just want you to know I care." And "I'm listening."

SLY said...

Beautiful list. I love the spice behind your voice. Its refreshing.

Anonymous said...

Write on Erin....people really do follow your posts and you have a right to speak out. All points being very understandable.

Anonymous said...

Hi this is kAtie kieso mauras theater arts teacher in middle school is my mom I remember when I was little laura used to play with me at pratice. I loved spending time with her she was a amazing girl. Me and mom found old pics of her as the wicked wich and we both cryed. I think about laura all the time and I wish I could have stayed closer to her but things happen. When ever I hear some where over the rainbow I think of maura and I just know she smiling down on us saying don't worry about me but. I can honestly say maura impacted my life :) god bless u maura