A little while back, a colleague was talking about an upcoming funeral and said something like "I just don't have time but Jane wanted me to be there."
Misunderstanding just exactly who was deceased I tried to reassure her with "Jane will never know, she died" (Jane was the widow and most definitely would be aware of who attended)
Pretty much immediately someone accused me (in a nice way) of being callous.Why, they asked, would I say such a thing? Why not Jane is gone? Jane has passed on or Jane passed away?
It's interesting because I think the actual death and loss is a lot more brutal than my lack of euphemism.
One of the ladies in my seniors group is quite unwell and I think she might be dying but the information I receive is inconsistent. People talk as though she will get better but they also talk as though she won't. Recently someone said a social worker should talk to her about the "next stage of her journey". With such a vague term being bandied about I actually asked if the next stage of her journey meant death and was met with a horrified NO.
Maybe I offend them by accepting the inevitable or by trying to understand what is happening before the final days.
They don't realise that my intentions are entirely intended for the benefit of our friend. She is currently staying with a friend because she is unable to climb the stairs to her own flat and if she will never see her own home again I would like her to be able to see her beloved cats. Maybe she would like to have a couple of her collection of toy monkeys (all gifts from friends) around her. Maybe she would like to choose some of her own poetry to be read at her funeral. Maybe she has a favourite shirt belonging to her late husband that she would like to wear.
I don't know. I don't know what she wants and while we dance around, mincing words, I won't know and don't have a chance of doing anything comforting for her.
Dead. Dying. Passed away. Shuffled off. Expired. Deceased. Departed. Slipped Away. Kicked the bucket.......
if you ask me, not one of them has the irreversible stench of regret that comes with "lost opportunity".