Let’s face it; you’re an important person. Everyone looks to you for wisdom, guidance, and just all around knowledge. So naturally if there is a death in someone’s family, not yours of course, you are obligated…bound even, to make sure that certain things get done. Who else is going to have the knowledge or wherewithal to do it? The family? Ha! Of course not!
Here are the top ten things you should absolutely do if someone you kind of know dies.
- Post it on social media as soon as you find out
Clearly the family must have forgotten. They’re probably too busy crying in a corner somewhere. Of course they are not franticly calling all of their close relatives and friends to let them know the news. And even if they did, of course everyone they called picked up on the very first ring, thereby hearing all of the news at once and reacted appropriately. And sure, they probably forgot to call you and let you know to post it on social media. You’re doing them a favor. You’re important, remember?
- Immediately ask how it happened
As soon as someone tells you that someone they love and cared for died, the next thing they absolutely want to do is dish on the gory deets. Was it sudden and/or traumatic? Ask for specific details. Could it have been prevented? Be sure to mention that! Nothing says, “I care about you” more than forcing a person wading through sudden, onset grief like a barrage of questions. Athletes love it when reporters do it if they win or lose a big game, and this situation is no different.
- Go over to the grieving family’s house and do nothing
There is nothing more comforting than being blankly stared at while you go through the different stages of grief. Sure the kitchen might need to be cleaned, or a meal might need to be prepared, and the phone might need to be answered, but this isn’t your house, am I right? You do so much more good by sitting and doing nothing. Bonus points if you ask for things like food or beverages. I mean, all that staring and doing nothing can work up an appetite. And the sooner you get over to that house, the better. Sure, nobody called you “directly,” and sure you don’t even have the grieving family’s number in your phone contact list. But doggone it, you had dinner at their house that one time…and that totes counts.
- Post pictorial memories you were never apart of on social media
Ok, so you kinda knew the deceased…somewhat. I mean…you guys went to the same church and stuff. But you don’t have any pictures of them to go in your pic stitch collage app that you just downloaded! Don’t panic, it’s a simple fix. Just go to a family member’s page, troll it, find the picture you want, screen shot it, crop out any evidence that you didn’t actually take it, and voilà! If someone comments “Great picture!” take credit for it. It did take a lot of work. You deserve some credit.
- Insist on being apart of the funeral ceremony
Did you write a poem that you may or may not have plagiarized from the song “Candle in the Wind?” Maybe you have a marginally talented singing voice and you know some of the words to an inappropriate secular song. Perhaps you realize that you can say a few words that are going to take well over the allotted time denoted in the program. Maybe it’s all three! But what’s this? The family hasn’t called and asked you to participate? No worries! Call them! There shouldn’t be any doubt in their mind that you should be at the front of the program. And if you call or text and their response is “Now, who is this again?” don’t worry, they’re just kidding.
- When leaving a meal at the house, use the glassware you care about
You have slaved, and slaved, and slaved, over that Stouffer’s Lasagna. Nobody knows how hard it is to take lasagna out of the already provided pan without breaking it apart; but you’re an expert. And which dish should you present your flawless store bought masterpiece in? Why, your mother/grandmother’s precious serving dish, of course! That grateful grieving family will absolutely remember who dropped off the dish, and why wouldn’t they? They’ll also make sure to take extra special care of it, not put it in the dishwasher, and they will absolutely store it in a safe place to make sure no harm comes to it until you ask for it back; because what else do they have to worry about? I mean sure you could’ve put it in a disposable container…but those aren’t as cute or expensive looking.
So you’ve had enough of staring at the grieving family. Bored? No problem, just explore the house. Is there mail on a table? Go through it. (But don’t open it because that’s ridiculous.) Would you like to see the rest of the house, or better yet, find out where some of the grieving family members are hiding? Explore! You owe it to yourself to answer the questions that you are entitled to ask.
- Invite/Insert yourself into the private family moments
Accidentally get wind of the private repast, burial and or wake? That was fate! Of course you should be there! Sure the family didn’t make that information public because they wanted a moment without all the hubbub, but you’re not part of the chaos they’re trying to avoid. They just forgot to call.
- Expect a “thank you”
You’ve been doing all these nice things; you deserve a “thank you.” The grieving family is obligated to give you audible or physical confirmation of how grateful they are. If you sent them something, your thank-you note is coming. Sent them a casserole? Expect a personal phone call. You took time out your busy schedule to do something nice. Respectful people say “thank you,” and debilitating grief is no excuse. It’s what you’re due!
- Be the loudest, saddest person at the funeral
This is your time. This is your moment. Robe yourself in your blackest outfit, grab the darkest sunglasses, matching handkerchief, and get ready. Is the family trying to remain poised? They just need an opening, and you’ve got it! Let that wail come from the deepest part of your soul. Ushers have to run to your aid? That means you’re nailing it! You need to be the center of attention. Maybe really sell it by fighting your way to the front of the church and demanding to say something. People want, no, they need to see that you are the saddest person there. It’s necessary.
Trust me, if you do all these things people will take notice…