My mom and aunt went to a wake today. One of their coworkers at the post office had a son that suddenly past away. He worked in medicine and was in his mid 30's, so it was a very very unexpected way to usher in the new year to everyone that knew him.
I came to support my mom and aunt. My dad did too. I watched the slideshow his family made, a beautifully put together collage of memories from when he was a wee baby til... only a few days ago literally.
I saw someone so full of life. He was a very energetic nurse and there were really funny captions like being voted 'Entertainer of 2008'. There were a lot of goofy poses and you could see his charisma. I could understand the sadness. It lies in the fact that you could tell he uplifted a lot of people and was beaming with energy. That's where I started tearing up. Such a beautiful presence was removed. But I focused on the fact that the earth was better off than where it started with his 3 and a half decades of life. That's the kernel of truth that everyone who knew him will come to realize.
My aunt introduced me to the mother, and instinctively I gave her a BIG HUG. My Vietnamese is not that great, but gestures like that are universal. I think my mom and dad were surprised because I didn't 'know her'. I may not, but that doesn't mean I will be stopped from trying to ease a bit of her pain, even for a moment.
And... on our way out, I gave her another BIG hug. :)