Today I said a really stupid thing to a good friend. Her family had been through a number of hardships, not the least but the start of which was a terrible accident. I said “well you are lucky it could have been worse.” And then I realized what I had said. Because we are good friends and because we can be honest with one another, I was able to say ” I know that was stupid, you don’t feel lucky at all” And we could laugh a bit at my foolishness.
My family has survived a lot of tough situations. I’ve heard all the stupid things that mostly well meaning people say. God doesn’t give you more than you can handle. Out of all this bad some good will come. You are exactly the right kind of person to handle this. No one in the midst of crisis wants to hear this. While it might have some truth to it, realistically living in the midst of trauma sucks. You feel like your world stops. It’s kinda like when I go to an afternoon movie and its all dark and pop-corny smelling in the theatre when I come out the bright light throws me off balance and time feels weird for the rest of the day. When you or your family face trauma or crisis, the realization that the world has moved on without you hits hard. People still go in vacation, put on makeup and know what the weather is like outside. Trauma forces you to live in a bubble, stealing all those normal experiences. When you look around you It feels like a punch to the gut. People can join you for a while, and they are generally very kind. But it feels like everyone else has a normal life. and somehow that just hurts like hell.
So what do we do when people we love and care for hurt? How do we help? We meet them where they are. We don’t offer to help in intangible ways. We don’t ask them what we can do. We say I can bring you lasagna on Thursday and I’ll feed your dog this week. We don’t show up at the hospital and then tell everyone who will listen how crappy our lives are. We say would it help if cleaned your house Tuesday? Or, I’m a really bad cook but I got you a gift certificate for pizza. Or here I am , your friend who really knows how much it sucks right now and you can say the f word as many times as you want.
Sometimes we just don’t know what to say or do. My Aunty Gladys sent me angels when my heart was breaking and told me that she was sending me something just for me, because she was thinking of me. Those angels might seem corny but somedays they were all that got me through. They matter because she did something that was totally her, totally for me and I felt normal again.
I’m sorry I said such a stupid thing. I know there’s nothing about this that feels lucky.On top of everything we should not expect you to feel grateful. I know you are already really happy that it wasn’t worse and you don’t need to be reminded that it could of been? thank you for being gracious enough to understand. You know who you are. it really does suck. I know that you know I’d do anything to change this past year for you. The other phrase I hate more than anything is when people say I’m there for you…It goes without saying I think.
Image From – The Microsoft Office Clip Art Collection