Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Worst Club Ever: Grief, and What Not to Say

I will always remember the spring of 2011 as the time when I began to grieve my mother's death.

Roller coaster doesn't even begin to describe the bizarre twists and turns of devastation and hope.  The story, as it is now, is happy.  She is alive and healthy-ish and I am astoundingly grateful.  But it involuntarily dropped me into this strange group that we like to call, The Worst Club Ever.

'We' is myself and my dear friend, Katia.  We met working together two and a half years ago, and discovered that we were both in the club of People Whose Parents Have Cancer. Katia is smart, passionate, honest, funny and kind.  I feel the better for having her as a friend.  And Katia's dear Dad died in November after a hard-fought battle with pancreatic cancer.

She's treading into new territory now that I can't understand.  But we bonded over grief and sarcasm, so I think our friendship will survive.  I originally asked her to sit down with me to come up with a 'What Not to Say" list to people who are grieving.  But she has so many important things to say that I wanted to share more with you.  If you want to skim, I've bolded the "What NOT to Say" and the green text is "What TO Say".  But if you have a few minutes, please take the time to read it in full.  I feel so privileged that she shared her heart with me.

I should add that Katia does NOT have a side ponytail.  It's a regular ponytail.  I just can't draw it.