“I’m sorry for your loss…”
“That sorry SOB doesn’t deserve you!”
“I can’t stand her, either. She’s a homewrecker!”
We have all been in that critical situation! A dear friend or family member is experiencing a devastating crisis, and we want to be there for them. We want to say the magic words that will somehow fix the issue, resolve the pain and help them move on, without a scratch. So, we start talking, hoping for the best. And, most times, it turns into a rambling, poorly thought out MESS!
One time, in an effort to comfort a friend who had lost a parent, I said, “I’m so sorry for your sadness…” I’m sorry for their sadness?? I was mortified. Of COURSE, they are sad! They were supposed to feel sad! *inserts foot in mouth* I realized that my words, albeit said with good intentions, were not helping things. But, here lies the quandary: if I am trying to a supportive friend/family member, what am I supposed to say?
Sometimes, the best thing to say is NOTHING.
I know, I know, it’s HARD. We want to say something that matters. Here’s the truth, though: there are no right words. When we suffer loss – whether it’s the loss of a loved one, going through a divorce, or the demise of a relationship – there is nothing that anyone can say that will take away the hurt. And that’s okay. Instead of fumbling over our thoughts to say the perfect phrase, try this instead: Sit Still.
“Sitting still with someone simply means to be present in a way that helps them feel seen, valued, and loved.”
There is nothing like having a true-blue friend hold space with you when you are struggling through a very challenging time. Maybe it’s a rough day or maybe it’s a cycle of rough days. But, when you are experiencing things that threaten to overcome you, they show up with your favorite ice cream or bottle of wine just to BE with you. To sit still and allow their presence to be a source of strength while you navigate the life storm.
When I think of my pregnancy with my second son and the pre-natal challenges that, at times, seemed to overwhelm me, the moments that I recall, with immense gratitude, are the ones where my “people” showed up and simply sat with me. No flowery words. No grand declarations of solidarity. Their presence was comfort enough. They were available when I was ready to talk. They allowed me to express hurt and fear without trying to take it away; they just helped me explore it, without judgment. And that is a priceless gift.
When we are going through rough patches, we all deserve to have that someone who is willing to sit still with us. And, when we get the opportunity, may we be willing to sit with those who hurt and let them know that we care.