Now that he's gone, we're extremely concerned for her, both emotionally and financially. She's showing signs of going through the grief process: Denial, Anger... it's healthy. The anger piece has been oddly healing for my friend and her siblings. Her mom did not refrain from calling a few relatives out on their bullshit. Perhaps "bullshit" is too mild a word for the dynamic in her mom's family-of-origin. For example, mom's sister and her 5 kids spent the week before the
I was devastated that I could not fly out for the funeral, so I asked my parents to attend the wake on my behalf. They said it was lovely. My BFF's mom was really happy they came. Well-attended wakes and funerals seem to be a real source of comfort to the surviving family.
I also broke out my old school (circa 1982) Miss Manners Etiquette book because it's been ages since I've written a note of sympathy. I didn't know that "sympathy cards" with the condolence sentiment pre-printed on them are a faux pas. Glad I checked before I went to the store. The correct way is to write a personal, heartfelt note on your own stationery. It makes sense - that's what I suppose I'd rather receive on one of the worst days of my life.
My own parents' eventual deaths are amongst my greatest fears. I try to be Zen about it. I try to channel my recollections of how a Buddhist master might consider it, something like this.