Thursday, 23 August 2012

It's the thought that counts.

I have been blessed to know so many people so much better than I did before I had an experience of Death. I feel kind of like Harry Potter did, in J.K. Rowling's 5th book of the series Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, when he realised the carriages which annually took them from the train station to the school were actually pulled by Thestrals, a magical, skeletal horse creature who are invisible except to those who have "seen death".
Harry Potter: "What are they?"
Luna Lovegood: "They're called Thestrals. They're quite gentle, really... But people avoid them because they're a bit..."
Harry Potter: "Different. But why can't the others see them?"
Luna Lovegood: "They can only be seen by people who've seen death.
No matter your opinion of the book, or author, Rowling makes a decent comparison with society and social interaction. That is that it is hard to understand that which has not yet been experienced. This is true of everything, but especially when it comes to Death, because everyone is different. It is also all the more true about Death because it is the one thing that EVERYONE has in common and speaks most little about. I am aware that the reasons for this vary from indifference to terror, but the inevitability of such a thing should make it the one thing to be most clear about in life. One of the main reasons for me writing this book (and blog) is so that people can be encouraged to talk about the real things.

   One of the good things that has come from my family's tragedy is that I have had so many amazing conversations with all sorts of people about family, life, death, spirituality, and God, that I maybe wouldn't have had the chance to before having similar experiences myself. My aim is to write so that someone else can start a conversation about death or another of life's challenges in order that we may grow together and no longer be afraid. Ambitious, I know.
 There is nothing worse in a social situation than awkwardness. Whether situations are good or bad, as long as those involved are on the same page, you know what to do. When people have differing ideas of what's going on or what should be done - that is when real problems arise. This is one of the main issues when it comes to grieving, between those who are directly affected and those with whom they come into contact with.
   From my experience (and I can only speak for myself here) I've realised that I don't care what people say, as long as they're honest. One of my favourite passages of scripture is Romans 12:9 which says "Let love be genuine". I'm sure I've quoted it before but - as I will write about later - we always need reminded of the important things. I could (and will at some point) sit and write down some interesting situations I've been put into over these past months - or years even - when people have struggled with what to say to me when they find out my Mother is in a wheelchair, chronically ill, or dead. I have been hurt, humoured and honoured by people's words. I have always believed that words can often affect more than actions, they can touch your heart or break it, for they are representations of people's truths. By that I mean that the words which you use represent your emotion, your feeling, your motive, your love. It is for this reason that there are no right words to say, to a grieving Widower or a bereaved child, except that there are words said, and that they are genuine. The thing that matters most is showing the person that you care, which is why silly words are better than none at all - saying 'I don't know what to say' is always better than avoidance. I don't even know what to say when it comes to comforting someone in grief, and I'm trying to write a book on it!
   The point of all of this is that we should learn from each other, as I expressed in my last post ("I've learned that..."), and we should stop being afraid of each other. Honesty is the best policy and, to me at least, it's the thought that counts when it comes to saying the 'right thing'.

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