1. You are sorry for your loss.
“I’m sorry for your loss.” People say this a lot and all I can think is, “I’m sorry for your loss … of the ability to wordsmith creatively.” Outside of my brain, I usually verbally muster up something like, “Ya. Me too.” …because I’m sorry for my loss too, yo.
I like how this article by Valerie Savoie includes what to say, and what not to say to people who are grieving. I would much rather you share a funny story about my Dad, like she suggests, or tell me what you admired about him. That makes me feel proud to have known him and that his life was worth something. Or you could compliment me; because, let’s face it, I’m not feeling so great, so if you tell me I’m strong or that he was proud of me, then I’ll probably feel a schmee better. Heck, if you didn’t know my Dad, I’d take a funny story about YOUR Dad over, “I’m sorry for your loss.”
2. You need friends. The day my Dad died my best friends took time off work and drove down from Vancouver. And this is exactly what I needed. I needed my friends to make inappropriate jokes. I needed my favourite 2 year old to demand that I spin her. I needed to get frequent hugs and to have someone spend the entire day on the couch with me unshowered and enveloped in blankets. My friends anchored me in reality, forced me to eat, and cleaned my house for those first few days. They kept me from the torture that was thinking of my Dad. I don’t want to forget the beautiful parts of him, but the scary sad parts were so hard to get out of my eyes in those days and my friends distracted me from total despair.
3.You need a hella lot of copies of the will and death certificate. And some places require a certified true copy, or want the friggen original.
HAAAAHAHAHAHA! PC Bank, you honestly think I’m going to send you my only original copy of the will?
Real and true conversation with phone rep: “You’re dreaming,” followed by hysterical laughter. Who died and made you financial God? It wasn’t my Dad, and so you don’t get his one true original will.
…instead I paid $45 to get a notarized copy (probably my instant-karma for laughing at that lady). Good thing my notary doesn’t charge for certified copies of the death certificate. I’d be broke; I’m handing that thing out like it’s going out of style.
4. You spend the entire day the person died on the phone. Or I did. I remember sitting in my car in -19 degrees Celcius, in the hospital parkade, (take a moment to think about that … ok, carry on …) taking call after call after call. When I finally got home, my aunt had a curler in her wet hair and two phones were glued to her ears.
THANK THE WORLD she was there to take those calls from the Mexicans in Mexico. At that moment, we stared at each other through puffy, bulging, almond-shaped eyes, agape and both on the phone, and just started …. laughing. Is this real life?!
5. You end up being very social. Especially if you’re the Executor/Executrix. Somehow, I’ve made (and successfully completed) appointments with a lawyer, a notary, a doctor, several charities, a priest, and many bankers (not to mention the novice guy at RBC with the wimpy handshake, who didn’t know what probate meant, and who wore his pants entirely too high-up for being under 30).
Thanks to my Dad being obsessed with getting free perks from all the banks (including a free tablet at TD bank …), I’ve been all over town, and I think Christmas was the first real day where I got to be really, really sad. Because you can’t be sad at the bank, or at the grocery store, or at the lawyers office. You gotta get shit done there, and I have always been good at getting shit done.