This is a perfect description of the self blame that many people feel after a loved one dies accidentally. I have felt it myself.

Gaahhhhhhhhhhh. That. Hurts.
Lost my old man to a heart attack two years back. Out of the blue, no reason nor rhyme.
So this hits like a truck.
Brilliant work!

Lost my best friend to a heart attack, I blamed myself for not making him quit smoking, not making him quit working so hard, him working til 2 frickin’ AM five nights a week; what job is worth 70 hour weeks? Go home and see your kids before they’re all grown up. So instead of leaving his kids at home, he left them forever. More than I wanna slap him for that, I wanna hug him just once more.
But I couldn’t change him. It wasn’t my job to change him, my job was to be his friend, and support him in his good habits. Not be the devil for his bad one’s. Missing him twists the knife, but forgetting him is dishonorable.
J-f-C, Jackie, this was a well done set up with an awesome punch at the end. BRB gotta get a Kleenex.

This is my favorite bit of writing you’ve done so far, as it hits home to pretty much everyone I know. We’ve all had randomly bad things happen, some fatal, some not, but this really hits it on the head.

This is a lot of what my friends and family have tried telling me, and I’ve tried telling myself, about my mom’s massive stroke that eventually led to her passing. I’m certainly tired of beating myself up over it.

Man, do I wish someone like Jo had been around for my mother and me after Dad died. This is what both of us needed to hear, not fifty million useless platitudes like “He’s gone to a better place” or “I’m sorry for your loss”.

(And yes, I know that most people don’t know what to say at all when faced with a death, so that’s why everyone falls back on these clichés. It just gets grating when that’s all you hear, day in and day out, for months on end.)

Stellar job with this strip, Jackie. I honestly think this one is the best you’ve ever done.

Either way, I’ll be here if you need me. Hits home right now

Piss off Laura we don’t need your crap right now.
-Lake Charles, LA

This was just… perfect. I have seen dozens of comics, hundreds of animations, both professional and amateur, try to capture this exact sort of feeling and fail. This is beautiful, and it resonates so well. Humans want there to be reasons for bad things to happen. Absent an obvious reason, we invent ones; not because we need a target to blame, but because without a reason we don’t know how to cope. Bad people find others to blame, and good people blame themselves. The best thing we can do for someone stuck in that cycle of grief is to tell them that yes, it’s normal to feel that way, and that they are loved.

DAMN dude…. That is the most solid grief advice I’ve ever read…. That’s something only folks who have been there know.

This comment might not fit with this story, Jackie, so please remove it if it doesn’t fit well with this story.

In the past couple of years I have lost my Mom.
I really liked my Mom, or loved her, however you want to see it. Some time ago, my Mom had had a brain injury, and my Dad + I were living with her, to help her recover.
A friend of Mom’s, I’ll call her Janice, told my Mom that- my Mom would fully recover after 5 years, + live some years after that.
…I was foolish, I believed Janice.
My Mom recovered, somewhat-as in, I believe her mind was still sharp as ever, but she still had problems with walking + moving. We helped her live comfortably, + happily, after her injury.

[I’m sorry, I feel like such a scumbag, for telling people this story].
My Mom died really suddenly, as she was getting in her bed, one day.
I was foolish…I’m still hurting myself for believing that she could recover more than she actually did.
I had believed what someone had told us, even though I was smart enough to ask doctors if this recovery was even possible.

Intellectually, I don’t blame my friend for telling me this idea, but emotionally, I’m not over this disappointment, as of now.
Emotionally, I think I still partly blame my friend for giving me this idea, + I still blame myself- even more than that, for believing in an idea that I couldn’t medically prove.
I’ll get over this disappointment, I know I will.
I just guess that we want the people we like to live forever, because it can be so hard to see them on their way. You know what I mean?
Best of luck, everyone, in everything that you do. I mean that. I’ll see you later on.

Jo’s response reminds me of a song, in Stephen Sondheim’s play- Company.
It goes something like this:

Somebody run to me there,
Somebody be warm to my touch,

[Somebody] force me to care, and…LOVE ME too much.

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