One of the hardest things we are ever called to do is to comfort someone who is experiencing tragedy.
Generally, we do a much better job of rallying around the bereaved after someone dies than we do supporting someone who has suffered a debilitating and permanent injury.
Secretly we’re thinking, OMG, I’m so glad I’m not you. Better you than me. At the end of this uncomfortable visit I can walk out of here and put your terrible life out of my mind for a while. And if it’s too terrible, I can move on to other friends, I’m not stuck like you.
Sometimes, standing at the side of the hospital bed, we’re tongue-tied. Or, we blurt something out only to recoil in embarrassment for having inserted a foot in our mouth. Even worse, sometimes we speak and blithely go on, happily ignorant of the fact that we have caused more pain. In all of these cases, we have just widened the gulf that now separates us, the unaffected, from the person whose not-so-bad-up-to-now life has changed forever.
Before you find yourself standing in the hospital room of a double amputee saying, “I’m sorry for your loss,” check out these seven phrases that bring comfort in a time of tragedy. Continue reading