What Not To Say

When people are going through crazy shit, there are a few things you probably shouldn’t say to them.

“Crazy shit” is stuff like a child being diagnosed with any type of challenge, discovering an affair, a cancer diagnosis, a horrific divorce, the unexpected or early death of a loved one, a sexual assault. You get the idea. Crazy shit is stuff that people mostly have zero control over. It’s the stuff in life that makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. 

God never gives us more than we can handle.

Uh, yeah He does. Many, many people are handed shit sandwiches every single day, and while they might put on a good face and suck it up, I guarantee you they are breaking inside. 

I know someone who has been simultaneously going through a painful divorce, getting her house ready to sell, making plans to move halfway across the country, AND living at the hospital with a child who recently lost the ability to walk. Any one of these things BY ITSELF is heartbreakingly difficult, but all at once?! Come ON.  

She’s “handling” it because she’s a badass warrior goddess, NOT because it’s not too much for her. It’s too much for anyone! She’s handling it because she’s a devoted mother. She’s a steadfast friend to all who know her and has been brave enough to ask us for help.

God DOES give us more than we can handle. Some of us survive it; some of us don’t.

Everything happens for a reason.

This is utter crap. There’s no reason a young, vibrant mother of two small children is taken from her family by leukemia. There’s no reason a couple loses a full-term baby to stillbirth. Rape? There’s some higher reason for that?  

Sometimes we make up our own reasons later to answer the “why.” And that’s fine. That’s helpful I guess. That assists us in “handling” it, right? Bottom line, though, is no one needs to hear this lame-ass platitude in the middle of any kind of grief or trauma.

Forgive and forget.

Ah, yes. The old standby for those who are having a hard time “handling” their shit sandwiches or seeing the “reasons” why they have to eat them.

Forgiveness is a lovely thing, and people need to be READY to do it. It may take a long damn time for them to get there, especially if something has been taken from them. And if they don’t ever get there, that’s THEIR decision to make. Your discomfort with their rage or grief or heartbreak is YOUR issue, not theirs. 

What CAN you do for those going through crazy shit? Just BE with them. Hold their hands. Sit quietly next to them. Hold space for them. Validate their pain, grief, and loss. 

DON’T be a preachy dick. They’ll appreciate that. Trust me.

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