And just like that
More on grief
I struggled to decide on the article to read and talk about today. I have a few clippings, but nothing worked. Do you have moments like the one I just described?
Sometimes, we find inspiration in the least expected places.
I started watching the Sex and the City reboot late last night, and just like that, I found a topic to write about this week. Grief. Today's topic is not new to this newsletter, and we spoke about it not too long ago.
Today's read: HBO’s And Just Like That
Just as everyone grieves at some point, we will one day offer condolences and console others as well. Unfortunately, not everyone empathizes or remembers how it feels to lose someone dear. Meanwhile, others remember it too vividly and wind up making it all about themselves.
If you watched And Just Like That, you would know that grief is a major theme in episode two. The funeral scenes are eerily relatable. The episode also features some uncomfortable dialogues that make me cringe a little inside. I cringe not because the script is bad, but because those conversations happen in real life a little too often for my liking.
1. The one who asks, "how are you?"
In all other circumstances, asking how are you is polite. But how would you feel if you lost someone a day or two ago and now have to deal with a crowd at the funeral service? Even so, most would still reply that they are fine even when the last thing they feel is fine. In such a situation, an otherwise harmless "how are you" hurts deeper than we may think.
2. The one who makes it all about themselves
When someone else is going through something familiar, we may feel tempted to offer relatable anecdotes. However, nobody wants to hear about your experiences on a day of remembrance for someone else dear to them. And do not get me started on people who bring up stories about a childhood puppy companion that succumbed to old age.
3. The one who gets even more emotional than immediate family and friends
People who wear their hearts on their sleeves and are overly sensitive are also some of the most genuine people I know. However, big emotions may come across as insensitive at a funeral where immediate family and close friends tend to put up a brave front before guests.
In And Just Like That, the bereaved person gets up to console Charlotte, who could NOT hold it together. The staff at the funeral home even mistakes Charlotte for the bereaved person! The bereaved person probably needs all the support we can offer, and the last thing he/she/they would want is a friend to console.
It still can be beautiful, right?
Contrary to what Google says, I am not sure that saying "sorry for your loss" is the best option. The cynic in me tends to wonder whether people feel sorry for someone else's loss, or whether they say it because it seems appropriate.
Despite her unwarranted outburst of emotions, Charlotte offers some of the best lines regarding funerals and grief:
We’re all sad, death is a part of life. It’s the saddest part, but it’s also a really important part because … it gives us a chance to remember how much our loved ones mean to us. So, while we’re sad, it still can be beautiful, right?
- Charlotte, And Just Like That, Episode 2
Yes, funerals can be beautiful, too. After we lose a loved one, all we have left are memories. However, memories are intangible, and one of the biggest fears is that these memories will fade with time.
Trading stories and hearing about the person we loved refresh those happier memories. It is even more beautiful when the memories we recall and share trigger further recollection of conversations we may have forgotten.
In my opinion, the best form of condolences anyone can offer is precious memories and past conversations. What do you think? Let's talk soon!