Shut up! Nice title, right? Have you ever listened to someone and found yourself fighting the urge to reach over and punch them in the face? Have you ever listened to someone and found yourself thinking what the heck? I would be shocked if I were the only person who has ever wanted to just look at another person spewing nonsense and say, "Shut up, seriously you are an idiot". Sometimes it really is better to just keep your mouth shut, to not say anything at all, because once the words leave your mouth there is no going back. Hard as it may be to comprehend sometimes the best intentioned words suck. I have compiled a brief list of things NOT to say to your grieving friend, sister, uncle, Grandma, neighbor, well pretty much anyone who has just lost a loved one. The list from my point of view:
EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON: Seriously. I stubbed my toe yesterday because I wasn't paying attention to what I was doing and walked smack dab into the chair. I burnt the chicken because I forgot to pay attention to the timer. I had to get a tow to the gas station because I ignored the gas light. The kids missed the bus because I was engrossed in the Facebook happenings and lost track of time. Yup, those things happened for a reason. To simplify the death of a child in such a way is so not cool. Yes, my daughter died and there is a long laundry list of reasons that she did. These reasons of course are pure speculation being that the doctors couldn't give me one. On that long list of reasons you will not find "for a reason"..... "to fulfill some higher plan"..... "it was meant to be"...... Please. I do not for one moment believe that my God, my Loving God, looked down upon me from heaven and said, "Oh today I think I am going to take this little lady from her family, because I need her here with me". There are plenty of children in heaven-God didn't need Liliahna any more than he needed any other child. He took her, because I ignored all His whispers. I ignored all the voices inside, all the gut feelings, all the signs, God tried to tell me something was wrong and I chose to ignore those warnings. There is no comfort in the words "everything happens for a reason" so don't say them.
MAYBE IT IS BETTER THIS WAY: Okay, maybe it is better. Maybe it is better that we have no idea what color her eyes are. Maybe it is better that we never saw her smile. Maybe it is better that we never heard her laugh. Maybe it is better that I never had to change a diaper. Maybe it is better that my kids never met her. Maybe it is better that I never had to deal with getting 5 kids in the van. Maybe it is better that I never wiped her tears. Maybe it is better that we didn't have to buy over priced formula. Well, I suppose having no memories of her is better than having some. Maybe she was spared from dying of cancer, or SIDS, or getting hit by a car.....then again, maybe she wasn't. Close your eyes, think of all the memories you have with your child, all the laughs you have shared, all the tears you have wiped, think about your life together no matter how long or short that time has been. Now imagine your child gone. Imagine yourself suddenly without that person in your life. Can you honestly tell me if you could trade all those memories for no memories you would? Can you honestly tell me if you had the choice of loosing your child before you got to know her or him or loosing them later in life you would choose option one? No, you wouldn't. Please do not tell me that it is the better option for me, because you and I both know that is straight bullshit.
GOD DOESN'T GIVE US MORE THAN WE CAN HANDLE: Well, silly me for being upset. Silly me for being sad. God is super cool for thinking I am so strong. Oh my goodness I am super strong, I have the strength of 1000 oxen according to God....Oh I bet he thinks I have the strength of 10,000 oxen because loosing a baby is super duper hard. I should be doing cartwheels and dancing around because God has let it be known to the world that I am S-T-R-O-N-G!!!! I totally got this. You are right. So my daughter died, movin' on and handlin' it because God said I could.
GIVE IT TIME. THINGS WILL GET BACK TO NORMAL, A NEW NORMAL BUT YOU WILL GET THERE: What the heck does that even mean. New normal? Give it time? Um, okay...do you have a specific schedule I should be following? What exactly is part of a new normal. Does that include crying every day or will that subside and then my new normal will go into affect? How will I know when I'm at my new normal and over the grieving? Am I in my new normal now? It sort of feels like this might be my new normal, but it also sort of feels like I'm maybe not in a place that wants to be normal-ugh.
I AM SO SORRY: I always get confused when people say this. Like, what do I do now. When I was little I was told when someone said they are sorry the polite response was to accept the apology. So do I say, it's okay? Don't worry about it? You really aren't apologizing as you didn't do anything so why say your sorry. When the words I'm sorry come out of your mouth are you thinking thank God it wasn't us? Why exactly are you sorry? I always find myself stumbling, searching for words when I hear this.
Don't seek profound wisdom to pass on to the grieving. If you aren't sure what to say, say nothing. These words are well intentioned, but really are meaningless. At least to me they brought no comfort-not three years ago, not today. My daughter died and no words can change that, no words, will bring her back, no words will bring me closure, no words will make it okay. It is what it is-nothing more, nothing less. Thank you for your love.