To speak or not to speak

This week I had three people close to me suffer a loss.  A cat, a dog, a parent.  Not necessarily in that order.    After listening to each person speak about how they were processing the life event, a themed suddenly emerged.  Please, when a person loses someone close, please, just SHUT UP.    Don’t say you understand.   Don’t say you can’t begin to understand.   Look, nothing you can say, even if you are the Poet Laureate, is going to make anything better and it can actually make it even worse.   Non-verbal is the way to go.  A smile, a touch of the hand, a look (that says I’m sorry).  This is the best form of comfort.  Words can inflict injury in ways you can’t even imagine.  As human beings,  we need to feel connected so we are always trying to relate an experience back to ourselves.  Death is not a time to practice this typical human trait!  Every death is unique to the person who is grieving.  Don’t worry, you’ll have your turn.  That’s the funny part, we all will!    For some reason, when I show up at a wake, the crazy comes out.  I’ve been known to laugh aloud.  I’ve gone up to a grieving person I never met and stated with bravado, “Hi, I’ve heard so much about you!”   Awkward.  Look, don’t go to the wake if you can’t behave.  Don’t check in constantly,   Don’t say tomorrow’s another day.  Be there when the loved one needs you and remember, SHUT UP!!

Shut Up

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