Things People Say

Where do I begin to talk about all the things people have said in the last few months?  Maybe under other circumstances words wouldn’t be so impressive, or maybe I wouldn’t be so sensitive to the things people say.  But so many things that are otherwise said in innocence elicit an internal reaction for me.

So here goes:

“At least he’s not suffering anymore.” — True.  I know it’s true that Michael is no longer in physical pain and I am so thankful for this. But I do want to scream that those of us that are still here without him are suffering plenty.

“He’s in a better place.” — True.  I have complete confidence in God that Michael is now in heaven.  But he’s left a huge whole here.  And most nights I cannot imagine a place I’d rather him be than on the other side of the bed from me.

“You wouldn’t want him to come back.” — (This is often the second line to He’s in a better place.) — Wanna bet?  Some days I do want him to come back.  Not that I have a choice.  But I’m selfish that way.   I want to hear his voice again and hold his hand again and I want him to help me with the projects and decisions that have to be made.

“God takes the good ones/young ones/etc. so soon.” —  This doesn’t make sense to me.  If he was so young and so good it seems like God would need him to be here on earth more than in heaven.

“You’ll see him again one day.” – I believe with all my heart that this is true.  But it doesn’t bring much comfort now to think I have to wait 20 or 30 years to see him again.

“How are you?” — (This is not really a bad thing because, you know, how else do you start a conversation?)  This is usually accompanied by a look of pity, the head tilted to one side, and the shoulders slumped.  There’s no real answer to this question.  (Most of the time people don’t really want to know because if you told them the truth you’d send them running.)  Sometimes you just say “Fine” or “OK” even though things are far from fine.  Sometimes you say “Some days good and some days bad” which at least honestly acknowledges that things aren’t fine but doesn’t begin to express how empty and lonely life can still be.  But usually I can still manage this response without the lump in my throat taking over.

“You’re so strong.” – Well, I’m not strong.  It may look like I’m strong, but from this side things look pretty weak.  I think the only good take-away is that if I look strong to people on the outside maybe it’s Jesus they’re seeing instead of me.  Because I feel weak. I feel helpless.  I feel pathetic.  I feel a hundred different things, but strong is not on the list.

“You’ll get through this.” – This makes it sound like it’s a 10K and you get to the finish line, walk across and then you can go home, put your feet up and it will all be over.  You don’t just get through this.  I think this is now a part of you for the rest of your life.  I can’t imagine a day when I’ll look back and say “I got through that.”

“How’s Michael doing?” – This is when you run into people that don’t know that Michael has died.  Now you get to tell them.  Plus you get to watch first the shock on their face and then their embarrassment at not knowing.  His obituary was in two different newspapers, it was plastered all over Facebook and 800 people came to his funeral service.  I have a box of hundreds of cards and I’ve received thousands of emails, texts and messages from all over the world.  And, son of a gun, if I don’t run into somebody who doesn’t know.  This is probably the worst.

So what would I like people to say?  I’m glad you asked.  Stay tuned.




9 thoughts on “Things People Say”

  1. How’s about, hi Ginger, we love you, would you like to get some lunch? And then we can just sit & listen to whatever it is you are feeling and want to say, scream, or cry! No one knows how you feel or really what you are going through and there are no right words to express to someone that has loss their spouse, child, or loved one. Just know that you are loved, and your honesty, words, and actions are an inspiration to many. Sending you a big hug and lifting you up in prayer. Now, let’s have a good ole’ Moss Lane girls luncheon. Love you!

  2. Could not have said it better myself. I can so relate to this whole conversation. Now for your next post lets start with. “Flying solo now. “.

    I’m in for lunch!

  3. I am so in awe of your honesty in sharing your feelings!

    I’ve never lived on Moss lane – but I’d love to do lunch or dinner anytime!

    Love you Sister in Christ!

  4. Thank you for your willingness to share! Please know there are people who pray for you and your journey. We love our sister in Christ and admire the results of yours & Michael’s efforts as we watch what beautiful souls the two of you raised and what wonderful additions & contributors they are!

  5. Ginger,
    My comment is not necessarily related to this post and all the things people say, but it is about what an author said in a book I’m reading. When I read these parts, I thought of you and how you’re dealing with losing Mike.

    Sue Monk Kidd wrote The Invention of Wings. There is a mother and daughter seamstress duo among the slaves of a well to do Charleston family. The daughter was about 19 when her mother ran into some trouble when she wouldn’t step off the sidewalk in deference to a white woman. Two men accosted her after the incident and hauled her off to the punishment building. Apparently she somehow got free and escaped. The daughter was devastated that her mother was missing.

    She (the daughter’s mistress) said, “She’ll come back.” I (the slave daughter) said those words all night long. I didn’t know how to be in the world without her.

    Mama was gone, sure as I’m sittin’ here and I couldn’t do a thing but walk the yard tryin’ to siphon my sorrow. The sorry truth is you can walk your feet to blisters, walk till kingdom-com, and you never will outpace your grief. Come December I stopped all that. I halted in my track by the woodpile … and I said out loud, “Damn you for saving yourself! How come you left me with nothin’ but to love you and hate you and that’s gonna kill me and you know it is. ” Then I turned around, went back to the cellar room and picked up the sewing. Don’t think she wasn’t in every stich I worked. She was in the wind and the rain and the creaking from the rocker. She sat on the wall with the birds and stared at me. When darkness fell, she fell with it.

    These aren’t the things people say to you, but they may be some of the words that capture some of what you feel. I prayed for you when I heard those words on my audio book tonight. I’ve contemplated going on without my Mike on more than one occasion when he was extremely ill. I don’t know how I would do it. Indeed, I wouldn’t know how to be in the world without him.

    All I can do is pray you are learning how, and that there is a grace in your sorrow somewhere, somehow. All my love to you. And prayers for strength and courage each day.

    1. Thank you Dawn for your beautiful words. Very descriptive of my path now. I have a future post planned for the scar that I will forever live with as I heal. Love you and Mike.

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