I was thinking, watching Joe Biden all this time, still mourning Bo’s death, and started listing things that people say to those in personal crisis, death, dying, etc. It’s not that the people speaking are being unfeeling, they just feel at a loss of words to say to the person(s). Which is ok. But as social beings we need to fill the silence because it is uncomfortable for us. Its not, its actually a part of the communication cycle in crisis.
In cases likes theses. Just keep your damn mouth shut.
If a person in a tornado just lost their whole community, but family is safe, you don’t go up to them and say, “Well at least your family is ok.” They know that. They where elated and happy the first moment they realize that. But its back to the worst thing at that moment in their lives. Their world has crashed and burned on them and everything is gone. Friends and neighbors are missing or dead, all the houses are gone. Important personal objects of their past are at least a hundred miles away and you come up and say at least your family is ok. What is that supposed to mean? Or do?
Well that would surely make me feel better, you’re the 20th person to tell me that or that I am in their prayers or the will pray for me. Boy, that would lift my spirits.
The thing is, you don’t need to say anything, you don’t need to fill the silence. Words after all, float away with the breeze when spoken. Words become part of the cycle of wind. Silence can be comfortable as long as you are sincere.
Instead, hold their hand, hug them, cry with them, find some way to help clean some of the grime off that is a constant irritating reminder of what has just happened . I am not a christian, but Jesus was cleaning those people’s feet for a reason. It gave them comfort that they badly needed. It showed that He cared. He didn’t have to say anything. Silence. Comfort. Words may give comfort for a few moments, but that is all really. Doing something for that person means everything.
Even if some silly absurdity pops up, mentioning it in a light way may give a giggle of relief.
What I really hate, is you walk up to a person who is dying, maybe a week left to remain in their bodies with life, and say, “your are in my prayers” or “I will pray for you” or “hope you feel better”. You are not saying this for the one who is dying, it is to make you feel better, just like when you said the same thing to the person that just went through a tornado. Besides the dying person doesn’t want to hear that shit. Ask how they feel today, right now, in the moment. Because they are living moment to moment. They have no hope for reprieve from death. You know it, they know it. Yes its nice to know people are praying for you, but what are the prayers about. It’s the most lame thing to say. It is. Think about it.
You ask, is there something I can do right now to help you feel better? Chocolate perhaps. A book you always wanted to read. Can I help make you more comfortable in your chair/bed. Practical things. Things to make them feel better in a way that works for them. Ask them is there anything they wish to talk about. Anything. And if you are comfortable with it, ask them if they want to talk about death. Lord only knows how many people want to talk about their upcoming death but know one else wants to talk about it. Some of the best conversations I have ever had where discussing a person’s up coming death with them. Ask them if they have any unfinished business they want to finish. Things like this. Not “I hope you feel better.” It makes you sound like a moron.
My worst pet peeve is going to someone who just had a miscarriage and say, “Don’t worry, there will be more.” There will be more??!! They just lost a HUGE part of themselves, something that was theirs and theirs alone. And now its gone. Do you have any idea how devastating that would be? Did it ever occur to you that the pregnancy may have not been wanted and they don’t want “more”. Or if you know it wasn’t wanted. You don’t say, “Well you don’t have to worry about being pregnant anymore.” Most girls and women within a week of knowing they are pregnant whether the wanted the child or not has come to love this little growth inside them. It is part of them. They most likely love it, even though its not a good thing being pregnant. When they lose the baby, say that your heart breaks for them and how sorry at their loss. In this case, you don’t hear this often. Ask if they want to talk, ask if they thought it was a boy or girl or had they started to think about names. THIS BABY WAS SOOO REAL TO THEM, TREAT IT AS REAL, TREAT IT AS A REAL LOSS. Because for the majority, it is. Don’t be an idiot. Think of how you felt when it happened to you, or how it would feel as if it happened to you. I hated the stupid stuff people told me.
People in crisis end up feeling more like piriahas because people don’t understand how to behave around them. Behave like feeling compassionate people. They can tell when you just want to get away from them. Show them love, compassion and truly show how deep you feel, but not just by words.
Dig down deep and be the best compassionate, loving person you know you can be.
Let me know how you feel about this post.
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- #17 oops, there goes another one.
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- #15 Thanks be to the Goddesses: Trumps Numbers
- # 14 Scarey Thought Trump Is
- # 13 The Sorry, Stupid, Unfeeling Things People Say During Personal Crisis
Archives: Stuff from the recent past, or are they from the future????