Life has them. The unexpected, shocking, even horrifying moments. Moments where you wonder if your bones can handle the pressure. When tears sear your skin. When breath wrings out your lungs.
The unexpected happens. People rob people. Storms surge. Wars erupt. People die. Words fall empty. Life continues.
“I wasn’t there . . . This type of thing never happens to me . . . I feel guilty, it should have been me . . . I can’t relate . . .”
What do I say? I know they hurt. I hurt.
You might start by saying: I am sorry this (say the name the event) happened. I am sorry that (say the name of the person) died. I am so sorry that you were robbed. I am sorry that your house got destroyed . . .
Then listen. Listen without words. Skip the inside the head, trying to figure out what you’re going to say. Just listen. It works. When you feel confident in listening, afterward, it’s amazing how the words just show up. Trust. You’ll know what to say.
If you want to help, do so. Not everyone is going to want assistance or what you have to offer. It’s ok.
If they do what the help. It’s ok.
Be respectively directive.
“I am going to the store tomorrow, what would you like me to get for you?”
“I am going to our meeting on Thursday, would you like me to pick you up at three o’clock?”
“I just made an extra big batch of soup, would it be OK to bring some over after six o’clock tonight?”
Just offering to help and your telephone number might be too much for a person in crisis to fully process. Making what you are able to do for them and what might be helpful to this individual makes it easier for them to accept or decline your offer.
If appropriate, give a hug. Always a nice way to let another person know that you care, especially when words can’t say it all.
Until next time . . . Story Impact: Changing stories – Transforming lives.