“We lost so-n-so today.”
“Such-n-such has passed.”
Why do we say ‘lost’ ? We didn’t lose them, they died. The body is right there. Unless they are say, ‘undead’ and wander off while the morgue personnel aren’t looking, then okay. There are other exceptions sure, people and pets wander off never to be heard from again. If that’s what happened, then yes, tell me they’re ‘lost’, but if there’s a body and funeral arrangements to be made, then I say there’s a flag on the play if you use the word ‘lost’.
I don’t have too many issues with the term ‘passed’ other than it doesn’t work for me. If you’re using it to soften the blow, there is nothing you can say in this situation that softens the fact that someone or something has died.
Over the course of years, until they’re talking about you, you too will hear someone say to you, “so-n-so is dead”. And Heaven help you when it’s your turn to deliver the news. I’ve had to hear it and repeat it twice this year. I don’t count the endless stream of ‘dead’ that filters through my careful avoidance of all things media, that’s hard enough to hear.
I’m referring to picking up the phone and before the subtle echo of my hello has faded, I hear “Aunt #### has passed away.” A few minutes later I’m having to say, “Aunt #### has died.” The look of shock, the teary eyes, both on my own face and on others; I don’t know what to do. I don’t know how to grieve or how to help others through the process.
I don’t know how to soften my words because I don’t think of death in any soft way. It is a release I suppose, an end to suffering in a lot of respects, but it’s still dead. It’s still, The End. Even my writing skills leave me when it comes to the end of a life’s story.
My Aunt passed away unexpectedly Saturday morning. And I have no where to turn but to my words, and now as you can see, they don’t make sense. Just like her death.