A friend's grandma just died. Friend? I don't really know her... or her grandma. What is a friend anyway? A 'person whom one knows and with whom one has a bond of mutual affection'... yeah, I guess we are friends. It's funny how even basic textual exchanges build bonds. How they can make me care about a strangers death, when at least one stranger dies in the world every second.
When someone tells you they've lost a loved one, how do you respond? What do you say? "Sorry for your loss?" That's so American. Like how they say "Hey, how are you doing?" and don't expect a response. It's just a formality. Here in Sweden you'd get an exclusive account of all their daily events prior to that question. And "sorry for your loss" would be an insult. It's not their loss, but we are "sorry". That'd suffice. Though we usually mourn in silence.
I don't mean to say American's aren't heartfelt - they probably care more than people in most countries/cultures do, yet we say things so differently; mean things so differently. If I say what I mean, I doubt it'd come across. Like how my mom likes to say that "Grandma's better off dead"... since she no longer has to suffer. She means that in the most well-meant sense, but it just feels wrong, especially when translated (I mean it doesn't sound so bad in Swedish).
I can't offer a prayer because I'm not religious. Should you offer sympathy or empathy? I lost a grandma too, but I didn't post about it expecting responses. I posted to vent. So how do other people react when people pry on their business, do they want sympathy or do they want distraction? It seems customary to only make public that which you want a response on, but then again you don't go to a funeral to gain a response. You go there to say farewell, and in this digital realm a blog post may just as well be the second best thing.