How do you console someone in the time of death? People always seem at a loss of words whenever confronted by these situations. A few of the responses I heard….
“Its okay. You will get over it. Life goes on.”
This is the tried and tested phrase used for all kinds of losses when you are trying to cheer someone up. Somehow, it is horribly inappropriate during a funeral and even imagining that as a way to console someone riles me up. Obviously, death is not okay. And yes, I will get over it in the future but that person is not going to be a part of my or anybody’s future. That’s what I am sad about.
“I’m sorry for your loss.”
A downpour of sympathy. This statement evokes only one feeling. Utter helplessness. Facing a sudden loss is like someone slapped you in the face and didn’t even bother to wait and watch how you took it. You are still reeling with the shock of it and simultaneously accepting condolences from everyone. You just nod along to such responses because they don’t really mean anything to you at that moment. But they do help you. They act as a balm for the shock and help the actuality to sink in.
“Be strong. What will happen to xyz if you are so disheartened?”
This is usually being said to the spouse/children of the deceased, in reference to each other. I can understand the whole intent behind this statement and the kind of self sacrifice it demands. In other words, they are asking you to fast-track your grief. A subtle reminder that your responsibilities are doubled now. Come through fast before this horrible reality catches up and starts mutilating other aspects of your life.
The harsh reality either pains the bereaved so much that they are howling for it to stop or has numbed them into silence with a vacant look in their eyes. Something about watching that entire scenario makes me tear up, which has nothing to do with the deceased. After all, it didn’t affect me so when the body was actually laid on the pyre and lit up. It is the state everybody is left in. Some are still in the primitive stage of denial. Some are left wondering, how will life ever go on again? And all this while, a few brave ones are already picking up the pieces of their shattered lives….