We’ve all been there. We’ve been with someone who just lost a loved one. There are those who say the right thing, those who say something totally off kilter and those who don’t say anything at all.
The truth is, there is no right or wrong thing to say. However, there are questions or comments that I hear on a consistent basis that I’d love to share with you that provide a glimpse into how the grieving think and feel and what words are more comforting than others:
“How are you Doing?”
I think this has been the number one question I get when people run into me around town. I give everyone the same generic answer: “I’m hanging in there.” If I really told people how I’m doing it would go something like this: “I crawl into bed every single night and I stare at a blank space that used to be occupied by the love of my life. I have an emptiness that turns into a tremendous heartache because I’ll never be able to lean over, wrap my arms around him and bury my nose into the back of his neck like I used to do. I would close my eyes and take in his scent; that scent that is slowly starting to fade from his clothes that I’m trying to hang onto with every ounce of my being; that scent that made me fall in love with him over and over again. Imagine all the other things that go through my head that I won’t be able to do with him and multiply that by a thousand stakes through my heart. If you want to know how I’m doing, that pretty much sums it up.”
“You are Amazing.”
I am flattered that people consistently tell me this and I am so honored to think that I am looked at in the highest regard by many. But I feel far from amazing. Last night I finished this blog post only to come back to my computer and find it erased. One of my boys had accidentally deleted it as he was doing his homework. As much as it was an honest mistake (and my fault since I didn’t save it), I went ballistic. I yelled and screamed and wanted anybody who was listening to understand that words and feelings are the only thing I have to hold onto. To me that’s far from amazing; it’s pretty pathetic behavior, in my opinion. What was really amazing was that my kids didn’t call the local mental institution to request that someone bring a straight jacket to our home.
“You are so Strong.”
I hear this multiple times a day. As much as I appreciate it, I hate hearing this. I may appear to have superpowers as I go through this difficult time in my life but the truth is I just want someone to hug me, let me cry and tell me that everything is going to be alright. Then I can go back to wearing my cape.
“I Have No Words.”
I actually love this one (and I’m not being sarcastic). This speaks volumes because there are no words that will fill the empty void in my heart and my childrens’ hearts. And it’s better than saying nothing at all. A hug after you say nothing is an added bonus that is comfort enough and so appreciated.
“I Think of You Often and You and Your Family are Constantly in my Prayers.”
It’s comforting to know so many people have kept us in their thoughts and prayers. What I hope for the most is that my late husband will never be forgotten in yours either.