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! 😀