Maybe it's my age, but it seems to me that almost every week someone tells me about a friend who has recently passed away. I realize that I'm on the other side of the half-century mark, so it seems pretty logical that I will begin to know as many people who have died as those of us who are still here.
Certainly my 82 year old dad can tell you that he has outlived all of his brothers and sisters, my mom, and a lot of friends. Twenty years ago, I thought this kind of conversation was really strange when my dad would ask me if I remembered "Ole So-and-So" and then he would tell me that he had recently died. It's starting to seem a lot more normal to me now.
Or is it that "green Toyota" thing? You know, when you buy a green Toyota (for example), suddenly you start to notice green Toyota vehicles everywhere! Is it just a coincidence that once you become a widow or you've lost someone close to you that you just seem to notice that more people are going through the same thing? I think it's true that we just don't understand what it's like to lose someone close to you until you've been through it yourself.
When we hear that a friend has lost a loved one, we go to the Visitation or even the funeral service. We sign the Guestbook and shake hands with the extended family, and we try to say all the right things. Hopefully we don't say the wrong things that might upset someone. Most of the time, we don't know what to say. Honestly, we just really don't "get it" unless we've been there ourselves.
The older I get, and, therefore, the more people I know who have lost a friend or loved one, the more I realize that people handle grief in a lot of different ways. It's probably even safe to say that no two people handle it in exactly the same way. Some people handle it better than others while some people just seem to be handling it when indeed they are not doing very well at all.
Have you noticed any of these things, or is it just because I've become a woman of a certain age?