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It’s okay to say the wrong thing

on October 25th, 2017 by Rebeccca

It’s an awkward situation. I’ve been there. I see someone who is grieving or who is receiving cancer treatments. I pretend that I don’t see them. I cross the street. I am paralyzed. What if I say the wrong thing? How can I pretend to understand what they are going through? What if that were me (God forbid! It couldn’t happen to me.)

We humans can be pretty demanding. I’ve heard it often.

“I can’t believe how insensitive/stupid/ignorant she was.”

You can ask Google: “what not to say to someone. . .” and see the long list that comes up in the search suggestions. Obviously, we weren’t taught this in school. And many of us just haven’t had the life experiences (I used to be one of those lucky ones too) that give us the insight to know what to say. But we want to show that we care, so we open our mouths and say the “wrong” thing.

So I am here to suggest that there is no “wrong” thing to say. If someone stops me and offers their support and gives me a hug, I appreciate it. Even if the moment is awkward and they search for the “right” words to say, I appreciate it. Even if I’ve just been stopped a dozen times and my eyes are red from having to repeat the same painful answer, I appreciate it. Because I know it is coming from their heart and they mean well. And I know that I am not all alone in going through this process.

“Yes, it is hard. Thank you.”

“Yes, it is day by day. Thank you.”

“Yes, it is okay to not know what to say. Thank you.”

| Posted in Grieving

9 Responses to “It’s okay to say the wrong thing”

  1. Shirley Caswell
    October 25th, 2017 at 12:46 pm

    Enjoy your posts Rebecca have learned a lot of things about this grieving thing as I am still going through this it’s been nearly 2 years since my brother passed and it’s still very hard to believe he is gone.I lost my Mom and Sister both in the same year Mom in Aug and Sister in Niv and it was hard but I knew it was coming so even though it hurt I grieved differently as with my Brother he was taken away unexpected while he was on holidays in Mexico so I am having a hard time with it.We go on everyday as life does go on but I still have a hard time with this.I know you will be fine as we all have our special memories of the Loved ones we have lost.Take care

  2. Linda
    October 25th, 2017 at 1:29 pm

    Rebecca, while I know this to be so, I have been staring at a card for such a long time now so I can find the right words to tell you how sad we are for you, and how thankful we are that you and Galen were able to spend a lovely evening with us on your trip home early this year. I will stop staring this evening. Thank you.

  3. Marianne
    October 25th, 2017 at 2:38 pm

    This is very gracious of you Rebecca. Very kind-hearted. Even though I have been through grief, I still struggle to find words to express the care/ concern in my heart when others are hurting. Please know my heart goes out to you.

  4. Marianne
    October 25th, 2017 at 2:39 pm

    This is very gracious of you Rebecca. Very kind-hearted. Even though I have been through grief, I still struggle to find words to express the care/ concern in my heart when others are hurting. Your right, this is something that is often awkward and it is refreshing to have you speak of this so openly. Thinking of you.

  5. Nadine
    October 25th, 2017 at 3:58 pm

    So well said Rebecca!! Been there done that and wish people wouldn’t avoid us at that grieving period. If they say nothing at all and just give a hug it means soooo much!! But until you have been there I guess I can sort of understand. You have so many people that love you and you will get through this in time.
    Love you and thinking about you!!

  6. Alayne
    October 25th, 2017 at 4:57 pm

    Such wise words. Love ya.

  7. Pat
    October 26th, 2017 at 12:05 am

    Thank you so much Rebecca we are so fortunate to have you chatting these unknown waters with such honesty. We are so unfortunate not to have been able to know you through more of your life journeys with Galen. Believe me we will anticipate developing a stronger relationship in the future and hunger for your updates. Galen will live on through your gift of words for the rest of us.xxx

  8. Pat
    October 26th, 2017 at 12:08 am

    *charting- bad auto correct

  9. Julie M
    October 26th, 2017 at 7:58 am

    We have all been in that situation where we care so much for someone that it is hard to express in words how we feel. A smile, a touch, a hug can mean so much to someone who is grieving.

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