I am going to continue on this little mini-series that I started because I have been receiving such great feedback and comments on this topic, that I feel there is a need right now.
On February 11, 2010 my wonderful mother Virginia passed away quickly and peacefully in her home where she wanted to die. In spite of having cancer throughout her body, she never complained about pain, only about having to be in bed all the time, she wanted up and moving and she did now and then.
I was on my way to spend her last days with her and just going through the security check point at the airport when I received the call...she had just slipped away peacefully. The last words she said was when she told her husband, 'I love you.' He went out to do some yard work and 15 minutes later, she was gone.
I am a manager....I take care of business and my husband and I decided I would stay at my moms until things were settled a bit. I can tell you it was the longest plane ride and lay over I had ever experienced in my life...my mom was gone.
I got to the airport, we had dinner, then stopped by the funeral home and I said my last good-byes, it was so hard to do, but for some reason, I just had to see my mom one last time. The next day it was having all the medical equipment picked up, making the phone calls, talking to family friends I haven't talked to in years, but mom kept in touch with and sharing stories.
My brother came later in the week for a few days and we spent time visiting.....my brother makes this awesome Mexican spaghetti and we had a great dinner and talked and laughed. After he left, moms hub and I took care of business as much as he wanted to.
Back home, there were calls to return, cards came in from friends and even friends from mom and it was comforting to know they cared and loved her so much.
This is where it stopped. I understand being on vacation or out of town and sending a card a month after the death of someone you know, but if you haven't sent a card out within the first 3 months or so, don't bother. Why dredge painful memories up for people? Why open those wounds that are just beginning to see happiness in memories again?
I received a sympathy card with a Christmas card (10 months after mom passed on) from a person I have never met, will never meet, didn't know who they were and it began with a run down of their family history and at the bottom I finally found out who they were and how they knew my mom.
Ten months after my mother passed away? What purpose did it serve? I still am confused on this one. If you knew my mom, you would know she had pen pals everywhere and yet, aside from close family friends and neighbors, no one felt the need to send me a sympathetic Christmas card. Many didn't send cards and that was fine, I don't mind as they just make me cry.
Maybe I am being silly, but what I am saying, is use good judgement. Ask yourself, will this make the receiver feel better knowing I care or will it leave them wondering why I waited so long or who I am? Perhaps I should pick up the telephone and express my feelings in a short conversation.
I don't know about anyone else how long is to long, but for me it seems just as I start to heal and think of my mom without bawling my eyes out, I get a card out of the blue from someone I don't know again. It leaves me a bit miffed and confused because the time has been so long.
What does anyone else say? Should it be a year or more? Should we send cards to people we have never met and know nothing about? Let me know, maybe I am just being silly, but I know so many people grieve in different ways, but for me, everyday I feel my moms absence, I don't need cards to remind me she is gone.