... we'll kind of resent occasionally that they no longer come around with their bad advice and stupid platitudes.
Indeed. People will feel pushed away, if I continue saying - I'm OK; really, I'm fine. Lighter was saying she felt a bit self-conscious about knowing just what to say; yep - I know what you mean! I've never had the "right thing to say" on the tip of my tongue because I often just want to scoop up the grieving in my arms and rock them and tell them over & over to just cry it all out; that it will be OK, even if it's not completely OK. That crosses way too many boundaries. But life (and therefore death, because it IS a part of life) is a "shared experience" among more people than just us. And people are willing to venture into lives - even if it's just to peer into the window and speak the common platitudes of etiquette. There is something nice about that too.
The fact is that I am pretty self-reliant; and pretty well prepared (or am able to leap logistical tall buildings to become so, as I discover what I need) and emotionally, prefer this written word environment or the solitude of just me & my kitty to deal with the messy, blubbery, wailing part of grieving to actually being surrounded by real people with all their idiosyncrasies and quirks and -- as I'm still programmed to notice -- their own needs, which I still feel obligated to meet somehow. But we know strong people do break, if they don't learn how to bend and the more "rigid" something is - the more "fragile" it is to changes in environment.
Perhaps there is something useful to work with to create new rituals or traditions or etiquette, in the concept of the Irish wake. Originally, it was simply sitting with the body of the departed to pray for the ease of the spirit on it's journey to the "next world". But maybe it also works the other way around a little too. Allows time for the grieving to expand and narrate and write dialogue in their heads - and experience emotional release - for the final goodbye? I mean, I'm open to the fact that sometimes there are communications across that divide too. Different ways to explain it; but it's real in a way that overly structured traditional services, aren't.
I got stuck being the source of personal reminiscences and stories about my Dad, for his service. I don't know why my brother - who actually spent time with him; not me - didn't. Twiggy and I had pretty much called a truce and figured out a way forward that met each other's needs... and there I was having to dredge up the mental snapshots that she engraved on the memory so many years ago. It wasn't who everyone else there knew; it was who he was BEFORE the divorce. I was searching for a way to illustrate a personality and character that stands on its own and paints the picture, but all I had was that interpretation of my experience with him - and according to the overseer of all facts (my mom) that interpretation made me a heretic. WTH? That's what I went with.
Lighter - you can't go wrong saying some things like -
I'm so very sorry
You are in my thoughts, daily
And then simply check in with those people to just ask, how they are today? and let them talk - or not - as it goes.
And then repeat the question: is there anything you need or want me to do? A way I can help? And let them know if they think of something later - to call.
The dance is between a rote, pro forma, standard boilerplate expression of sympathy... and crossing boundaries, which shift during grieving. Maybe just acknowledging that you see the boundary would be a real relief to some people?