"Welcome to the Club": What Do You Say When Someone's Mother Dies? by Marisa Guida
“Welcome to the club.” Seemed like an odd thing to say. Definitely not the usual, “condolences, thoughts and prayers," "you’ll always have the memories,” etc. Turns out I was comforted because I knew he understood. He understood when I’d get angry out of nowhere, when tears would suddenly well up, when the weight of my broken heart was just too much to bear. I knew he knew these feelings, too, and I was comforted. His pain helped him know mine. And I was comforted. Separate families, different circumstances, but we were in it together.
Months later I stood in his shoes. It was my turn to be there for my friend who lost her mom. I should know what to say. I should know the right words. I should be able to comfort her. Yet there I stood, speechless. Because I know. It doesn’t get better. It gets longer, the time between the last time you saw her, talked to her, hugged her, and now, the longer it gets, the more it hurts. I know because I’m the expert.
It’s been almost 10 years since she’s seen me, talked to me, hugged me. The longer it gets, the more it hurts. And I see the pain in my friend’s eyes clouded with the hope that I’ll know what to say. So, I tell her, “Welcome to the club.”