Ya know, a death is always a shock. No matter how well prepared you are, when it happens it's still a shock. When it's unexpected it's a body blow. And no matter how many deaths you've been through, there are some that gut punch. When it's someone close it's close to Hell to live through. It's not easy to get to a peaceful acceptance.
There have been a lot of deaths in my life. Each one taught me a bit more about grief. It took years to hone my grieving skills, and they are skills. They can be learned if they aren't natural to you. People have a tough time processing it all. Death isn't like anything else in life. There's no reference point. There's only one death after another. They're all different and all the same. Those steps of grief put together years ago are a framework but don't cover everything. Not everyone goes through them all or in order. But at the end of the process there need to be peace and acceptance.
What works for me is to immediately fall apart. The times I've had to conduct the funerals and had no time to fall apart were the worst deaths. Bucking up and carrying on while you're still in shock may be necessary but it's not a good way to take care of yourself. Deaths can bring ridiculous amounts of pressure and if you're already fighting for self- containment it'll leave a mark. I've learned that when I can immediately go to pieces, for however long it takes to get it out, recovery is faster.
The worst is the series of deaths. You barely get settled with one when another happens. Or when several people die at once. That's the closest to unbearable as I ever want to get.
We are grieving all together in my town tonight. Separately, but all together. Melinda Bussino knew people in every walk of life, from the homeless and destitute to the landed and rich. And everyone thought well of her. She was that rare thing, an altruist. She was "our age" and we thought she'd recover from this heart attack. She was so tough. It seems impossible and so unfair. But her mission was done.
Instead of flowers, I'm sending ten meals of food to the Drop-In Center. That'd be more to her liking.
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