I was thinking about old people coping with the death of their friends today. As you get older those address books have a lot of deletes. A friend told me about a woman who was mean to her brother when he got sick even though they were ultra close before. A light bulb went off in my head, like on House -- the moment he identified the disease and ran off to cure his patients (except Lupus - it was never Lupus on the show).
I observed one my really old relatives - I will call her Sarah - go through many deaths and watched how she coped. With the people closest to her, she got mad at them when they were close to death. It seemed odd when it was going on, I thought her mean for doing it.
Sarah's best friend had dementia and all she could do was get angry at everything her friend was forgetting. When her friend died, Sarah hardly mourned at all.
In another case, Sarah longed to see another close relative of hers. We drove her a couple of hundred miles each way to see her beloved niece. When we got there Sarah hardly talked to her. She was angry because her niece's clothes were messy (to us, she looked sick). I got mad at Sarah because we made this long trip. For what? The niece died shortly thereafter.
Now when I look back (thanks to that light bulb) I realize it was necessary for her to do this in both cases so she could let go. It was the only way Sarah could go on living without suffering the agony of loss. I forgive her now and finally understand, she was actually saying goodbye.
Let me get back to my listening...now to Clarence Carter's "Strokin." Caution: This is not a good song for children, I never listened to the words before.