I am probably one of the least PC people out there. Often what is in my head comes out of my mouth and then I feel guilty later. It’s a blessing and a curse.
I’ve said some really dumb things. When I look back at things that seemed innocuous before, they are terrible through this new lense that I view my life. Please don’t judge, because I didn’t know. Please also realize, I’m not looking for people to try to walk on eggshells around me. That would defeat the purpose. It takes a lot to offend me and honestly, it’s just words. Sticks and stones and all that.
This list is for me. It’s my realization that words and phrases have a deeper meaning and that even my vocabulary has changed in grief.
‘Everything happens for a reason’ or ‘it was meant to be.’ I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, if someone can tell me the reason that Benny had to die, I’m all ears. It’s something we say. I’ve said it plenty of times in my life. It’s harder from this side of things to not hate that phrase.
‘Second child syndrome-we didn’t kill the first!’ Said in refernce to the paci that drops and you dust off and pop back into the baby’s mouth. Massive face palm on this one. Hate my past self-ALOT. The cavalier way that I could joke about the existance of one of my children. This was because I lived in the bubble of ‘it will never happen to me.’
‘I deserve…’ fill in the blank. I could go on and on with this one (which I already have), so I’ll spare you. Here’s what I’ve learned, life doesn’t owe you anything, good or bad. Period. The children and teachers in Newtown didn’t deserve to die any more than you deserve a promotion at work. I’d like to think that you get back what you put out there, but even that one’s a stretch for me. What did I put out there for Benny to die?
‘Everything will be ok.’ I learned this one was a big no no when my niece was born premature at 26 weeks. In my reading of what to do, everything said not to use this term. It really made me think, why do we say this? I don’t have a crystal ball, I don’t know if it’s all going to work out. I shouldn’t be making promises I can’t keep.
‘What doesn’t kill me will only make me stronger’ or ‘Life won’t give you what you can’t handle.’ I don’t even know where to begin with this one. I could have died just like my son. Sorry to be graphic, but it’s true. Maybe I’m taking this one a little too literally. Maybe I don’t want to be stronger. Maybe I don’t want to handle it. Maybe I just wish none of it ever happened.
‘Time heals all wounds.’ False. Time can make grief bearable, but it never truly goes away. There will never be a day where I won’t miss my son or my mom. Time almost makes it worse, because it takes me farther away from when they were in my life. It fades my memories. It takes away as much as it gives.
‘Only the good die young.’ This one has made me crazy ever since my mom died. Don’t get me wrong, I love Billy Joel and grew up on Long Island. My beef is not with the song. How did I ever utter these words? What do they even mean?
‘Life isn’t fair.’ Ok, so I use this one with my daughter still. I don’t know why though! She doesn’t need a reminder. She lost her brother when she was four. I need to let this one go.
‘They are in a better place.’ I get a double face palm for this one. How on Earth did I ever say this? I’d like to think they are, but in all honesty, I don’t know for sure. How does this statement help someone that is suffering a loss? They would much rather still have that person alive and in their lives.
I’m sure there are more, but this is my list. I’m sure I’ll screw up and use them because some of them are so deeply ingrained in my vocabulary. I’m human. They’re all pretty harmless anyway until you’ve been where I’ve been. I’m trying to learn from this new perspective that I have.
Please realize this is for me. I’m not looking for a safe space to keep out all of the mean words. I’m looking to change my vocabulary to match my thinking. I’m also looking to point out that I’ve said some really stupid things.
So many people have been really paranoid about offending me or hurting me with what they say. Here’s the thing, there’s nothing you can say or do to make it better, just like there’s nothing that you can say or do to make it worse. It is what it is (this platitude I refuse to give up).