We need to coin a new usage for the word "condolences". When you talk with someone who's just lost a loved one, all you should have to say is one word -- condolences. That says it all, or should, and the person who just lost someone should reply with just two -- thank you. To go beyond the simple "condolences" should be spared for those who've recently gone through a similar loss, or are very, very close to the bereaved. Because often, both parties end up feeling a bit uncomfortable as they try to fill space that's virtually impossible to fill. I've found myself doing that. And I've felt the discomfort of others. That's not to say I don't appreciate the kindnesses -- just the opposite -- it's just that I think we need a single word to convey all that stuff we want to convey, but can't.
The other day I ran into one of my neighbors. She's one of the sweetest people on the planet, and though we care for each other, our paths only cross once or twice a month. Anyway, she asked about my parents/situation, and when I told her, she took me in her arms and almost cried. Which made me nearly cry. And in the end, I think we were both uncomfortable with this sharing, this moment, because we stretched it out painfully long.
As I write this, I'm thinking that I'm wrong again. That opening up about it is the right thing to do. I believe that, but for some reason, it just doesn't feel right. I know I'm still trying to deal with this. Until I do, I guess I just want to talk about books and movies and friends and all the stuff that doesn't really matter, as I come to grips with what does.