I admit I hate the word “sorry”. I accept that I have gone through things that most people “couldn’t imagine going through” but I don’t like people feeling sorry for me. I wouldn’t be the person I am today if those things hadn’t happened. I am humble and compassionate. I have met people that have turned bitter and feel that the universe owes them something – but the reality of the situation is someone, somewhere, has dealt with similar or worse situations and are not expecting to be told “I’m Sorry” from anyone. I do acknowledge everyone deals with loss differently, I’m just stating that most people don’t expect people to feel sorry for them they just want life to back to the way it was before the loss.
Grief is hard, I won’t try to put rose-colored glasses on anyone. I know that there were days I didn’t know if I was going to make it – literally. I know more and more people that hide that their grief has pushed them to the edge and they are hanging on by the tips of their fingers. BUT they don’t want to be told: “I’m Sorry for…” In fact, it’s better to not say anything at all and just be there. Grievers don’t expect to have anyone understand, they just want someone to be there – not trying to fix anything, not trying to create solutions, not trying to make the situation look better than what it is.
“I’m sorry” shows that the person feels awkward, doesn’t know what else to say (like they’re supposed to say something), and has never been in a devastating situation like the person grieving has. That’s ok. Just don’t say anything at all. Presence is the best gift. That’s all that is expected or wanted. This advice goes to any comment including “At least…”, “It could have been worse…”, “Time will heal…”, “Blah, blah, blah…”
These statements create a sort of a shame that we “don’t see the bright side of things” while in the stages of grieving. Yes, some statements can turn into being true or slightly helpful for some but not for everyone. Again, just being there is the greatest gift.
I have been in “recovery” again for the past four years since my father past away. I have always felt uncomfortable with people telling me that they were sorry for my loss and I just barely realized why. The loss is a part of life, it sucks terribly, but I don’t want people feeling sorry for me or have pity on me. We will all have the same kind of struggle eventually.
As a coach, I help people in grief, or in recovery, feel comfortable expressing this to people. Explaining our past experiences do not have to turn into a pity party. Wanting people to understand where we are coming from is good. And the more we tell our experiences the easier it is to stay resilient.