Monday, September 5, 2011

"I am sorry for your loss."

I am always in a quandary when people say this to me.  
How do I respond?  

Do I say, "Thank you"?
I am certainly NOT thankful for my loss.

It's easier when someone you don't know or don't know well says the customer service representative at the power company or someone at the county clerk's office.  

But when someone I know well....or knew my Steve well says it...
I want to scream....

You're sorry?
You have no idea.
I'm sorry my husband is gone.
I'm sorry I go to bed every night alone.
I'm sorry I'm a single in a couple's world.
I'm sorry I'm alone.
I'm sorry I have to handle all this, sale of property, legal and taxes...on TOP of my grief.
I'm sorry my sons don't have a father.
I'm sorry that people have cut me and my boys out of their lives because Steve is gone.

But I don't say any of that.
I usually say, "Thank you," and scuttle away quickly.

I know that it is hard to know what to say to a grieving person.  
What you need to know is that the grieving person doesn't know what to say back, either.

I reconnected recently on Facebook with a friend from my childhood.  When she realized that I had been widowed from reading my posts, she sent me a private message.  

"I have no words...I can not comprehend your loss...know that you are loved and lifted in my prayers."
This was the perfect thing to say.  
She admitted that she didn't know what to say.
She admitted that she could not empathize with my loss.
She bolstered me with her love and prayers.

She WAS sorry for my loss, but she didn't minimize it with those words.
Thank you, friend.  
You said the perfect thing.


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