“Sorry if I say the wrong thing.”
It’s a classic British-ism. Not knowing what to say so either, saying nothing, or apologising straight away for it. I’ve learnt that saying something is most definitely better than nothing at all. For us anyway. For me, it really is a case of ‘I have no idea what is right in this situation, so how would anyone else’ therefore, there really can be no wrong thing to say. Ultimately, it’s the situation that is so so wrong.
I’ve looked back at how I’ve maybe responded as a friend through someone else’s difficult times, and I don’t think I’ve been as good as I could have been, nor as good as those friends have been in return. There’s this fear that you want to go with their lead, you don’t want to text and check in a few weeks later and rock the boat, do you? Bring it up, incase somehow they’ve forgotten all about life’s crap? You see that maybe from social media all looks well because they’ve checked themselves in at a bar one night, so you relieve yourself of the guilt of not checking in on them. But all this time you are still thinking about them – but they just don’t know that. And ultimately, life’s crap is still there. No one forgets about it, they just learnt to live with it. I think it’s a hard line to understand, and equally there is no right way to respond to life’s crap. You just have to follow your instincts. And be brave enough to reach out, even if you have no idea how.
We have been so humbled by everyone’s kind words, thoughts and actions. The psychologist in me find it’s fascinating all the different ways people do respond and react. Like I’ve said, there is no right, or wrong, no better way, there just is their way. My thought process is, that if I don’t want to be contacted or if I don’t want to talk, I have the power of turning my phone on silent and ignoring it for a bit. And when I do want to talk, I can talk. It’s simple. Texting, messaging, Facebooking, it all makes contacting less intrusive than phoning, or knocking on the door – which I think is all of our shared fears when reaching out to someone during the hard times. Although, I’ve found myself up at 4am, on a reply mission because my brains on overdrive just hoping that everyone is sensible enough to put their phones on silent too…
We have even felt like this ourselves when messaging people to tell them about Leo, that you don’t really want to interrupt someone’s perfect Starbucks drinking, sunshining day with sad news. You even go, “I haven’t spoken to them in years, would they even care?”.
But, what we are learning is – in a good way, people really do surprise you.