Thursday, September 12, 2013

What not to say

I seriously wish I wrote this so I could lay claim to its wisdom.  Someone posted an excellent (snarky) piece that showed up on my FB feed today.*  There's lots of variations on the whole "What not to say to someone who's grieving" to be found all over the internet, but I heartily endorse this one, which includes sage advice like the following:

"If you find yourself starting a sentence to a grieving person with the words “Well at least”, just stop.  Don’t finish it.  Close your mouth and step away."  WORD. Or, likewise,

God has a plan.”  Never.  Never, ever, ever say this.  Seriously.  Never.  If you want to have a theological discussion about the role of God in suffering and pain, fine; but wait until grief has stopped beating the shit out of the person.   When people say this to me I have to fight the urge to punch them in the throat and reply, “You’re right.  He does.”  I couldn't have better it said.

Yesterday, I tried to offer some kind comments to someone on the interwebs who had gotten into a fight with a relative. Her relative, probably intending to be helpful, told this grieving young woman who just lost her baby, "Lot's of women have miscarried before you."  Now, this could possibly have been some poorly thought out sort of "buck up little soldier" pep talk, had it not been immediately followed by, "You are acting really selfish by not getting over your miscarriage."

Who else heard the sound of that record screeching (yes, I am aging myself with this comment).

Yo, would you tell the person who lost her grandmother that "Lots of women have lost their grandmas, so stop yer crying?"  No?  Didn't think so.  Jeesh. 

*Just a word of warning:  if you're feeling even remotely sad, hopeless or infertile based upon your reproductive history, STEP AWAY from the facebooks.  They're a fucking minefield.  Between the pregnancy announcements, ultrasound pictures, baby bump and actual new baby pics, facebook will send you into therapy if you're not careful.


  1. "step away from the facebooks" is such great advice. It seems I am surrounded by extremely fertile friends, family, colleagues, etc. Every time I turn around, there's a new announcement or extremely personal ultrasound photo. And speaking of u/s photos, I'm considering posting some CAT scan or MRI images from back when I was in a car accident... I doubt anyone would get the joke, but WTF? In my opinion, it's really strange to post medical photos of the inside of your body. A simple "we are pregnant! woo hoo!" isn't enough???

  2. Ha, your idea is hilarious. Personally, my mental health increases exponentially on the days when I stay off of FB. Think about it, we're getting this completely edited view of people's shiny happy lives, the key word being EDITED. FB does a really good job of highlighting all of the things you wish you had because it appears as if everyone else's world is just fabulous. I've come to realize that just appears as if you're surrounded, try to focus on that fact.

  3. Oh I had to quit Facebook 2 months ago! I just couldn't stand all of the announcements!