Hey kids! My tens of readers know by now that I’m going through what I’m starting to call The Whole Grief Thing. I may just start abbreviating it as TWGT just like the kids in Prince Caspian started calling their dwarf companion Our Dear Little Friend, which became DLF, and then they forgot what it had stood for…But I digress. But I digress because this whole post is a digression, sorta…
The wonderful and inimitible Supa Freshwidow posed this question on Facebook:
NEWS FLASH: Some widowed people are “difficult!” — Is it hard to deal with a grieving person? Do we have ridiculous standards, are we needy friends, and subject to mood swings? Are you more or less of a pain in the @$ since your loss? Is that going to change, d’you think?
One of the responses to the question dealt with the issue of how annoying it is as a widowed person to get unsolicited advice. It being the wee hours of the morning (hello insomnia, my old friend), and I being a bit punchy, started coming up with ridiculous pieces of advice that could be offered. Because in some ways, a lot of the advice that one gets in this situation (no matter how sensible it may seem) often comes across just as ridiculous as some of the silliness I’m about to share.
On a more serious note, before I launch into The Silly, I think people are driven to offer advice because they are discomfited by their friend’s sorrow/pain, and want to Fix It. Sometimes this is driven by concern for their friend, sometimes this is driven by the desire to make the friend’s pain go away so they can stop worrying about their grievng friend…They’re ok? Ok, I can stop worrying now and all’s right with the world…To have someone suffering on and on and on can feel something like a bystander watching the horrible BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill…you want to make it stop, but you don’t know how, and you don’t have any power over what gets done. And that can be enormously frustrating.
I think people genuinely do want to help (for the most part), and whatever bits of advice they can think of, they throw your way, just in case it will help. Often, unfortunately, it has the opposite effect of what is intended (Cf: Law of Unintended Consequences). For the most part, people genuinely mean well, but hit a wrong note hard enough, and oh it is ouchy…Of course the whole “I’m going to avoid you because I’m at a total loss as to what to say” approach doesn’t help so much either…
Therefore, in the full spirit of Punchy Tongue-in-Cheek silliness, let me present
*drum roll please*:
Unsolicited Advice Gone Wild!
Cause if it’s gonna be useless, it might as well be funny!
1. Paint your house. Every week! Start with fuschia. You can accessorize with turquoise trim! Your homeowner’s association will thank you!
2. Join the French Foreign Legion. Because, well, why not?
3. Go on a round the world trip, visiting only cities and countries starting with the letter ‘E.’ Ekaterinburg, Estonia, and Ecuador, anyone?
4. Show your love for your dearly departed by cutting your hair very short and then shaving all your hair except that which spells out his or her name. Then dye it blue, because you are blue. You can declare your grief to the world and be hipster and avant garde too!
5. Tattoo his or her name on your forehead.
6. Start wearing your dearly departed’s clothes, become a street person, and build a church brick by brick every night. Oh wait, that’s already been done. (Cf: St. Ksenia of St Petersburg
7. Take up llama farming. Or alpacas. Lovely wool! Plus, they spit. What more could you want?
8. Make sure that you live in a yurt while doing your llama farming.
9. Move to the northernmost part of Alaska and live out of an igloo in the winter and a sod house in summer. Insist on being called “Bubba.” Even if you are female.
10. Play the complete works of Johann Sebastian Bach with a kazoo.
11. Found a kazoo symphony in order to pull off item 10.
12. Eat only your loved one’s favorite foods. Especially if they were, say, friend liver and lima beans.** The nastier the better, in fact. As a bonus, you get to guilt trip over it if you don’t!
That’s all I can think of at the moment…Please help me out and suggest more!
Thank you, my tens of readers! :)
**This was not part of the original post, but it may be clear to the reader that I hate both lima beans and fried liver. I should include lentils in there for a nasty food trifecta.