I'm trying to keep my business, my triplets, and my waistline under control. I excel at one of those, fail at another one of those, and one is a work in progress. Which is which is day dependant.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012


When my Dad died, people said all sorts of idiotic things to me. They were all well meaning but most of them made me want to look the person in the eye and say, "Are you being serious right now? Because no sane person on earth would ever say anything as stupid as that." (My personal favourite - "You're looking really well. Grief clearly suits you.") Of course I may have thought that these people were complete assholes for saying what they said, but ultimately I knew that the person just really did not know what to say in an uncomfortable situation. So I mostly let it go in one ear and out the other.

In recent weeks I - who by nature can talk the paint off the walls - find myself in a similar situation with various people in my life. I just don't know what to say to the people around me who are in crisis. The friend whose husband recently passed away at an age far too young for one to die. The friend whose parent is losing their battle with cancer. My sister, who every day puts up with a extremely demanding family situation all on her own. The friend who lost their close friend to cancer, again at a young age. My employee, who is struggling with issues of self-worth and confidence. My friend who is an only child, looking after a very unwell mother.  Friends who are dealing with long term unemployment, friends who are struggling with a lack of career direction. You get the idea. All around me there are people who are going through some pretty difficult situations. Some situations which are only temporary, others of which will have longer lasting consequences, but all of them are situations of sadness, pain, frustration or loss.

Finding myself at a loss for words is an interesting experience for me - because I believed (or maybe still DO believe) that sometimes the best words one can say are simple. Words like, "I'm listening," or "I wish I could make it better for you," or just total honesty - "You know what? This whole thing really sucks." As one who talks endlessly, and one who has a horrible history of foot-in-mouth disease, AND one who really wants to be that person who says the right thing (because I so longed for that kind of person, those few years ago) ... I'm struggling with my words. I want to comfort and commiserate and instead I find myself thinking, "What on earth does one say to help ease this pain?" and I end up saying something horribly awkward and inappropriate. Or I say something sarcastic and funny (to me anyway!) Exactly what ARE the right words to convey so much? And are they the same words for everyone? I don't think so. Some of them will want to hear that "things will get better." Some will think that "it will get better" is a load of bullshit. Some will want you to ask how they are doing, others will wish people stopped asking them all the damn time.

This leads me to that old adage that sometimes the best thing to say is, "I don't know what to say" - because at least saying that much is an improvement on silence. Personally, I'm no fan of silence and so I do employ that technique once in a while, because to me honesty is always a better idea than loneliness.  I think silence would equate to loneliness when one is going through a crisis. The idea that nobody was listening would be somehow worse than the idea of someone who listens but comes out with awkward or misguided sentiments.

What I would not give to have the right words to say, at the right moment, to the person who needed to hear them. I just want to convey all of that which is in my head and in my heart. In the absence of that ability, I just go with what I know - which is to speak from the heart, never make a promise I can't deliver on (like, "soon enough you'll look back on this and laugh") and just hope that my awkward ramblings do the job well enough. Ultimately, no matter what I'm really trying to say, the basic message is always the same: YOU ARE LOVED.

Maybe that's really the most importance sentence of all.

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