EXPECTED RESPONSES
alto
11317

Alto, we have not met and perhaps it’s a little impertinent to offer a comment as a virtual stranger; be this as it may, I am intimately familiar with grief and the stamina required to be publicly composed at any kind of burial or memorial service. Standing in front of a packed audience of strangers all of whom comprised my mother’s multiplicitous world, two days shy of my 20th birthday was an impossibility for me. I hosted as my mother would have expected, my father being a dazed wreck in the aftermath of the ambulance accident ( in which she was a paramedic), that cost her life at barely 42. I am in awe of your fortitude and grace. I lost my father to injuries sustained from a mugging on a Saturday morning at a cash withdrawal automat at his local shopping center, ten years later. His first of three grand-daughters was barely six weeks old. Ours had been a ‘difficult’ relationship. I was mute at his funeral, what with a full blown sibling feud blow up out of all proporpotion and the inappropriate judgemental intervention of ‘close family friends’ ensuing just hours before it began. I played host again to expectation and refused to say a word at the service. I was criticized brutally on both occasions for my stepping back. Only you know what you can and cannot say and how much letting go( for that too can hit out of the blue), just when you think you have it nailed. Write in ways that speak to the man You knew and loved first and foremost; how others knew him is for them to recall. It is deeply unfair of others to set an expectation that you eulogise their memory /experience of him. There is nothing generic about grief and however it is you grieve, you owe it to you to speak as his son, and as your own man, immersed in your own gratitude, not for or on behalf of his friends — that is for each of them to do.

I wish you love, light and the joys and blessings of a long life. My heartfelt thoughts as you navigate the coming weeks and months. Renée

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