Platitudes… I want to hear your platitudes. You know those really awful things that well-meaning people say when they don’t know what to say. The words that never should have left their mouth. As someone who has just lost a loved one, these platitudes don’t help at all. At best they cause us to look at the person as if they have 3 heads and each one is speaking a different foreign language. Most of the time however, the platitudes cut deep and yet we feel obligated to respond with a smile, pretending that we’ve just received the answer to all of our pain.
Some of my favorite platitudes, and by favorite I mean NOT, are:
“God needed him more than you did.” Oh please! God does NOT need him more than I do. God does not NEED anyone! He is GOD! Duh! Does God need him to raise His son? I don’t think so… Jesus is already grown up. I need him much more than God does. This one is definitely on the “Leave it Unsaid” List.
“I know just how your feeling.” This one is tricky. Some people may have an idea of the level of your pain, but no one can know just how your feeling, not really. Everyone’s pain is unique and to have someone tell you they know your exact pain can be hurtful, especially if that person hasn’t experienced the same type of loss that you’re going through. This one is relegated to the “Needs to Be Modified or Moderated” List, at best.
This is my all time favorite, and by favorite I mean I absolutely HATE it:
“Oh, you’re so lucky, Jesus is your husband now.” OK, there are just so many wrong aspects of this to a widow, especially a new widow. I love Jesus with all my heart, but He’s not there to hold me at night when I’m lonely or frightened. He doesn’t get me laughing when I’m punchy and then pretend to try to help me, knowing all the while that he’s making it worse and soon I’ll be hyperventilating. Jesus doesn’t fart under the covers and then joke about it. Jesus can’t physically hold my hand. Jesus is wonderful and amazing, but telling a widow that she’s lucky, or even mentioning that Jesus is her husband now isn’t helpful. It’s hurtful. A widow doesn’t want Jesus as her husband, all she wants is her own husband back. This one goes on the “Leave It Unsaid” List, at the top, in bold capital letters.
Okay, so those are my top three platitudes. Now I want to know what yours are! Any kind of platitudes, not just for grief.
I know that I’m guilty of saying things that have put my too small foot directly into my too large mouth. One benefit of the grief I’m journeying through is that I’m more aware of what I say to others that are hurting. If I’ve said anything to you that I should have left unsaid, please list that in the comments as well…. go for it! 😀
11 thoughts on “Give Me Your Worst!!!”
WOW, people really said those things?? You are married to Jesus? Seriousily?? I am not sure how I would have responded but I would have need a long stiff and hard Long Island..that is for SURE!…..
Oh yeah, I’ve heard that one more than once. I know that they mean well, but that is sooo not what a widow needs to here. I want to come up with a collection of things that well-meaning people have said for any occasion a write a booklet on it. “I Can’t Believe You Said That!” I’m sure you’ve heard some Laura!!!! What are they? Share this with your friends! Let’s see what we can get rolling….. 😀
oh yeah, I have heard some..LOL “Is that one yours?” pointing to Landon..
“what is the story with him?” Lots of staring our way too..I do not even notice anymore..or care…I used to let it bug me but not anymore..I am sure there are more..but I can not think of them… “why did you guys not have your own kids?” we get that a lot too..
I think in today’s method of communication it is harder to feel the emotion behind a comment . I could be in tears writing something but read it a few days later and see it as cold hearted, BUT, when someone looks you in the eye and says something stupid like….” that’s hard but not as bad as when we went bankrupt cuz that was the worst thing ever”…you realize that some people just don’t get it or they just live in their own world.
Totally agree Oonaugh! The tecno aspect adds a whole new dimension to the world of platitudes. Without the personal aspect of verbal inflections and body language what is read can be light years away from what was written. We are able to twist a heartfelt condolence into a flippant word dagger at will. Do you think that we are more likely to do this when the sentiments come to us via computer or texting rather than in person or a good old greeting card?
When I was in elementary school some of the kids used to tease me about being adopted. My mom told me to tell them that my parents got to pick me, theirs were just stuck with them. It worked! Those kids never teased me about being adopted again! Tell your sons that “hand-picked” by God is super special! That always helped me.
Some of those just blow me away. I know I have personally done the “I know how you feel.” I do however try to use it in dire situations. Like the situation is actually similar. But now I know it isn’t a good idea.
When people find out I have four children, I hate it when they say “You know what causes that don’t you?” Apparently I do! I love my children or I probably wouldn’t be talking about them.
I am sure there are more.. I always get comments about me going to college or being laid off. Most of the time they are nice but sometimes I just bite my cheek!!!
HUGS TO YOU!!!! 🙂
I could go on for days about the stupid things women say to other women who, after a certain expected age, do not have children. My husband and I chose not to have children, but there are so many couples out there who desperately want them but are struggling or cannot. Saying something like “Oh, don’t worry, you’re young, you’ve got plenty of time” or “Of course you want kids, you just don’t know it yet” or “Having children is the best thing that will ever happen to you” or “You just need to pray more” or “Oh, maybe you could volunteer with our VBS program this summer” etc. imply that you are either crazy or broken. Not helpful!
Your story was really intfomarive, thanks!
My mom could relate to that one, Liz. Mom and Dad tried for 10 years to have children and it just didn’t work. My mom’s sister however had 9 children… ouch! Mom was happy for her sister, but it still hurt. Mom and Dad adopted me, 2 1/2 years later they adopted my brother Jay and then FINALLY ten years later…. they had a baby, my brother Kipp. Here’s one of the biggest “open mouth, insert foot” comments Ever!
Nosy Lady to My Mom, “It must be nice to be a grandmother at such a young age!”
My Mom to Nosy Lady, “This baby is mine!!”
Can we add here to the Nosy Lady that I am TWELVE YEARS OLD!!!!!!
There are some doozies out there aren’t there?
I am amazed at some of the things that have been said to you Shelly. I understand that 99% of the people who say these things do so with no malice intended, they just do not know what to say, however, “you are married to Jesus now” really takes my breath away. That just sounds so careless. Yes, I know you love Jesus, but to assume that it is correct to say to a widow that you are married to him now is just unbelievable.
I think many times we just don’t know what to say and I personally believe that lots of people avoid saying anything which can be just as hurtful but still how about a simple but heartfelt “I’m so sorry for your loss or How are you today?”