Saturday, August 1, 2009

More You CAN Say

I like the comment and suggestions Joni gave in response to my last post:
"When people ask me what they can say to a person with cancer, I tell them, 'Anything you say is wrong, and if you say nothing, you are a terrible person.' "
Sums it up pretty well, doesn't it? And it holds true for many of life's crises.

I also like her additions to my CAN SAY list:
  • I just want you to know I care. (Usually okay.)
  • I'm listening. (I'm not sure I agree with this one. It leaves me feeling like I have to say something back for the person to listen to. See how tricky this is? It's different for everyone)
While you most likely have not had a child die, there are many of you who have been put through the wringer of disease, heartache, or death of a loved one. And you have your own experiences of the good, the bad, and the ugly of what was said to you.
I invite you to share CAN SAYs and DON'T SAYs in the comment section of this post.


Anonymous said...

I have a don't say... I feel your pain. Unless you have lost a child you don't know the pain and heartache that goes along with it. So in my opinion that is a big No No.

Erin said...

Oh, that's so true!

SLY said...

Don't say, "I understand what you are going through...." and then go on to tell your story.

Unless you have lived my exact life to the exact detail...because every moment led me to the do not understand what I'm going through. Maybe you have a similar experience. Maybe you had a child die to. Maybe your child died of cancer. But she wasn't Maura and you aren't Erin. And your life isn't really you don't understand.

Sorry...went off on a tangent there. I just don't like when people say that even when they mean it. It doesn't resonate as pleasant to me.

Don't Say.."What can I do for you?" Point is, in a time like this I can't think straight, so I'm not even sure what the hell I need right now. (But on the flip side...sometimes saying that does help! Depends on the moment)

Do say..."I love you." That always helps me. Just to hear that friends, family..whoever love me. Because that love keeps me from giving in to the darkness.

Those are some I just thought of right now.

Anonymous said...

I don't like it when people say 'everything will be okay.' Really? Because right now my world has collapsed. I understand they're trying to make you feel better, but this is not what I want to hear.

I'm an emotional person when my loved ones are sick or have just been called home, so sometimes all i want is a hug and a good cry. But if I'm bitter, step back! Unless you're under the age of 10.

I don't mind when people remind me to talk to God about it. He DOES know my pain and He's there whether I want him to be or not. As humans, though, it's impossible for us to be like that-there all the time, but not in an offensive/invasive manner. If only we could...

Anonymous said...

DO leave a voice mail saying: "You don't have to call me back; I just wanted you to know I am thinking about you." This was one of the nicest voice mails I received when my son was diagnosed with cancer.

When hearing the news that someone has cancer, DON"T EVER ask, "Will s/he be ok?" Honest to goodness, someone actually asked me that when they overheard my conversation with a friend.

DO say, "I remember when...." and share a memory - its especially nice when its a new story about the person who has passed on.

Anonymous said...

This is another dichotomous one: Being reminded that the person that has passed is in the company of other loved ones that have passed. Love is passed on through the generations - It has comforted me when I am reminded that my loved ones are loving the person that I miss so much. Although this does remind me that I cannot hug and kiss and talk directly to that person....although I cannot see them or hear them, at least I know they are not only in the company of God, but of other people I have loved.

Erin said...

These are all such good suggestions!

Macarena said...

I am one that normally can talk a lot but in a situation like this I kind of clam up and say nothing so for me the bestthing is to give a big hug and say nothing. I think a hug counts for more than a thousand words and then leave it up to the other person to tell you or not tell you whatever they want to share.

Seana said...

Just wanted to say I am thinking of you and still praying for your family :-) BIG blessings to you!!

Anonymous said...

What about "If you want to talk, I can listen"

Anonymous said...

Erin, just wanted to say that the Lord brings your family to mind all the time and I pray for you still. I didn't find your blog until the very day Maura went home to heaven, and I have gone back and read all of your posts. Everytime I see a yellow dress/shirt/or sunflower (esp sunflowers) I pray for you. May God bless you and hold you close.