Well-intentioned words can seem dreadfully inappropriate at times of grief. The phrase “Celebration of Life” at my children’s funeral upset me greatly. They barely had lives. What was there to celebrate?
I don’t believe anyone was deliberately cruel or even insensitive following my children’s tragic deaths but some nevertheless said things that caused unbelievable pain.
With my two children gone, my once lively home felt empty and unbearably sad, So three weeks after the funeral I returned to work. As an Operations Coordinator, my job demanded focus and quick decisions but I found it impossible to concentrate. The fast pace and pressure never let up but neither did the intense sense of loss. Somehow I struggled through two full years before I finally gave in and took time off work. When an insurance Company representative called to question me about the reason, I replied I was out of sorts since the death of my children. She asked me the date of the accident. When I told her, she responded, “That was two years ago. You should be over it by now!”
Some time after the accident one of the women at a family function was talking about her teen-aged boys and their girl friends. She turned to me and said I was lucky that Anne was no longer here, so I wouldn’t have to worry about her getting pregnant. I was too shocked to respond. It was another sister-in-law who made her realize how painful those words were for me. A woman I used to sometimes walk with was having problems with her teenage daughter. She told me the same thing, how I was fortunate that I wouldn’t have to go through that with my children. I did not walk with her again.
The driver responsible for my children’s deaths was found not guilty after long, excruciating court proceedings. The whole “justice” process left me unbelievably angry. I purposely did not renew my license sticker for six years. In my rage I justified this by maintaining I wouldn’t obey laws that let people get away with killing children. When I vented, friends and family members sometimes argued that I would suffer still more if I got caught and charged. Exchanges on those topics, on car insurance, licensing and traffic laws did little to dampen my anger but I learned to keep my protests mostly to myself.
However, I drove a truck for the next 23 years and would tell people, if someone comes into my lane, I am not moving.