This is a piece I wrote last September in response to some dear friends and their pain. It seemed to aid in their healing, so I am posting it here, again.
I hear you. I know you have been going through a tough time, hurt by well-intended but misinformed friends’ words… I saw your statement regarding the question “Is there anything I can do?”… I also wanted to scream: “bring my husband back”, “get me my life back”, “provide me a time machine”, “give my kids their security back.. w their dad who will love, be there, & adore them!”
My preacher told me, people in your life need to do something… it will make them feel good to simply do anything. So, give them something they can do to make your life a bit easier. I had zero energy to extend, as I am sure you do. So, I came up w a lame, “food” response whenever I was asked that question. I would instead ask for specific food, like no tomato sauced casseroles (anything acidic will not be edible for me)… I got down to 108 lbs. A dear friend (Susan, thk you) brought over the only dish I could eat …Lol, a beef brisket! Never a huge fan of them bf, but it hit the spot, & I devoured that thing!
So, ask for basic, no casserole meals w/o sauce, ask for yard work, and ask for housework (I know what ur house looks like right now), and ask for childcare… if you can get yourself to accept: a massage, a nature walk; a simple pleasure. My father in law, whom I trust, filed into labeled folders, my massive amount of death paperwork for me. It was a huge help to tackle the mountain on my dining room table! It was the one task I hated! Ask family w expertise to help you.
In a situation that is out of anyone’s control, people want & need to do something… make them feel good by letting them help you. I wish I would have let more people help me, instead of using my precious energy on all the tasks I independently jumped on all by myself. With less to do, I could have been there for my kids more, for example.
I heard and thought in response the following:
“I know how you feel”… Unless you’re a widow, you really don’t.
“He would want you to get on with your life”… Maybe so, but he would also understand why I’m so sad.
“Be glad you had him as long as you did”… Of course I’m glad! I’m mourning all the months & yrs my kids & I won’t have him!
“It’s probably a blessing for the best”… Even when the death brings some feelings of release, it doesn’t feel like a blessing.
“Time heals all wounds”… Actually, time by itself doesn’t heal; mourning does.
“It’s all part of God’s plan”… Then God has pretty crappy planning skills. Although, I can actually see this one now. ;-)
Don’t take this advice to heart. Such clichés are often offered bc people do not know what else to say: The problem is, phrases like these diminish your unique & significant loss.
I considered clichés I spoke to mourners in the past in an attempt to comfort them. Forgive yourself as you forgive your friends.
I hope this helps you & the friends who read this to know better what to say to you. Huggs…