Community//

I am here

What to say when disaster strikes

What do you say to someone who has lost everything, whether by fire, flood, illness or disaster. What words of comfort can you offer someone who has been diagnosed with a life-threatening illness or has lost a loved one? God knows, when what has happened feels unbearable, we don’t need more advice.

I know you cannot believe what has happened. You didn’t deserve this.

Some people will tell you bad things happen to good people, that no-one escapes the suffering. Others will tell you it is all an illusion, some Cosmic game designed to wake you up and enlighten you.

Right now, you feel that both perspectives are a crock of shit. Neither helps you in this moment, when the pain is so bad it affects your breathing, when you feel that you can’t go on.

I’ll be honest, I wanted to tell you that there is nothing wrong, that at some soul level, everything is unfolding as it must, that some part of you chose this. That is what I was going to say to you today, but the words stuck in my throat.

So, instead, I will hold your hand. I will make you tea. I will stroke your hair as you cry. I will listen to you as you tell me how life is for you right now. I will not make you wrong for feeling as you feel. I will not try to impose my view of reality onto what I cannot know to be true for you.

I will not leave you alone in your pain. I will not present myself to you as someone who knows anything better than you. You are the authority on your own life. I am done with platitudes and promises of future bliss.

This is where life is happening, here amid the pain, the snot and the disappointments. The broken heart is real, the pain in the body hurts, the grief of losing what you love tears you in two. I will not minimise this with my stories of Fierce Grace and nothing wrong.

Can I just sit with you? Can I just love you exactly as you are?

That is all I have to offer you today.

I cannot fix anything for you, it is not mine to fix. All my words are meaningless now. Perhaps, in your own time, you will find your own words, your own path. Perhaps, not. How could I know?

Today, this is my path: to be with you as you face this unexpected horror that has left you bereft. The only thing I know for sure is that I will no longer reject this moment, no matter what is arising. I will not reject your experience or mine. I will not overlay this present reality with words of advice, no matter how well intentioned. I will not tell you how to feel, how to live, how to heal.

I looked into my heart today, for the wisest words I could give to you.

All I found was

“I am here”.

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