Postcards of Grief

Mourning is a process.

Comments on breast cancer by proxy, written by a woman coping with the loss of her mother.

Thursday, December 11, 2003

Thank you notes

Someone contacted me yesterday to offer help and support while I’m doing this. She’s not someone I know particularly well, and we’ve never had much of a rapport beyond silent tolerance. I’m still trying to decide what to say in return to either of two messages, one via a mutual friend and one via my other weblog. The first startled me. It also made me cry right there at my desk in the middle of the workday.

She called this (“this” being the still unnamed semitransition/adventure/housekeeping-pre-caregiving) a wonderful and courageous thing. It blew me away to think of this as anything other than my own selfishness of needing my mommy. Grace said that it is. I told her it’s just a thing that needs to be done. She said that didn’t change matters.

The second message offered help. Help like car rides and cat food and cat-sitting. (Brooke said she doesn’t know what she’s getting into with that second one. Quid and Muggle weigh 16lbs each.) I’m touched by and grateful for the offers, but even more touched that she contacted me and made them despite our differences. She went out of her way to reach me, and I’m at a loss for what to say to her.

Part of me hopes that she will read this and recognize herself and not be angry that I’m writing about her in a public place, but that she will understand my gratitude and my inability to say anything more than “Thank you.” I don’t want to be curt, and I don’t want to write such an inarticulate message that I’ll cringe whenever thinking about it. Most of all, I don’t want her to think I’m ignoring the message, so I have to come up with something relatively soon.

Our mutual friend also offered her help and in equally tangible ways, but in ways I never would have thought to ask. I appreciate these offers more than the actual help they would provide. It tells me that I’m valued, that I’m doing the right thing and that it’s recognized as something difficult. It means that people are good, that I am good for doing this and they are good for helping me. It almost makes up for all of the times that I think people are morons.


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