You know that saying… “At the end of the day no one really cares.”
I think it goes something like that. It’s essentially saying that people may pretend to care about you or what you’re going through but at the end of the day it’s all an act. All people really care about is themselves.
Well quite frankly, I think that saying is bullshit. Think back on your life and all the times that something terrible has happened to someone you care about. Did you feel helpless? Were you lying awake at night trying to figure out what you could do to ease their pain? Did you struggle to find the words to say? Did you give them space because you didn’t know what else to do? I bet you did.
When something happens to someone you care about …there’s not much you can do. You can’t take away their pain. You can’t reverse time. You can’t fast forward through the grieving process either. All you can really do is let them know you’re there. They might lash out at you, they might be able to tell you how much they appreciate you, or they might not say anything at all.
But what would YOU want if you were in their position?
Empathy is an interesting feeling. After Emily died when I was 15, I think I finally learned what empathy meant. I would look at someone grieving or witness it on TV and it wasn’t just a feeling of sadness anymore. It was this overwhelming sense of understanding. Like, I know exactly how they feel. Yeah, our situations might be different…but I know how it feels to lose hope. I know how it feels to watch the world around you continue on and feel as if you’re stuck in limbo.
When I think back on that time, I remember people who reached out to me. I didn’t always respond the way I should have and I may not have verbalized my appreciation, but it stuck with me.
Try to be that person. Try to be that person that when someone is lying awake at night unable to sleep and they think about the tragedy…they can also have a glimmer of optimism. Because they know, they know that you care.
You may not always say the right thing, and you may feel as if you’re talking in circles to avoid making them upset…but you’re there. And really, that’s all that matters.