“The idea of people looking at me all sympathetic… I just can’t deal with that.”
“Yep. I hear you,” Peggy said.
… “I mean their hearts are in the right place but if you have not been through it then it’s impossible to understand. It’s like we’re in the club or something.” -Richard Roper, How Not to Die Alone
I am loving Richard Roper’s new novel, “How Not to Die Alone.” It is a very interesting story about a government worker whose job it is to find out after a recluse dies if there is a next of kin, or will, and if the deceased has an account to pay for a funeral service.
The story follows Andrew who has lost both his parents and has a strained relationship with his only remaining family member, his older sister Sally.
The conversation above is an exchange between Andrew and a co-worker, Peggy. They have both suffered loss, burying parents, and are bonding over the home inspections required in their line of work. The more Andrew talks about his grief the more and more he discovers that he is actually starting to develop something new in his life: a friendship.
The “club” Peggy refers to is grief. She refers to the awkward conversations, the people who avoid you, the stirring up of the past that needs healing that continually swirls in the days, months, even years after loss. Emotions flare up. Tension can disrupt your mood and attitude. Pain from old issues unresolved is fresh and debilitating. Sometimes the only friends who really understand have gone through it in their own lives. Those are the friends in the same club.