When You Don’t Know What To Say


Since the day M took his own life, my world has once again become ground zero for the stages of grief.

I’m still in the angry stage–angry mostly that I’m asked to speak on behalf of M, or to know what exactly is going on. Truth is, I actually know a bit about what is going on because I still care. I care about M, I care about his family, I care about his friends. I care about my family, I care about my friends. I have some answers but like everyone else, I have a lot of questions that will never be answered. When I was with M, I knew his routine backwards and forwards. When he left, I lost all sense of that balance. So I do ask a lot of questions, some out loud, and most of them rhetorical — often just the impulse of a mind that is searching to put together pieces of a puzzle.

All I know (at this moment) is that 190 days ago M started making choices. Choices and decisions that would affect so many people in this small community that I’ve lost count. Choices and decisions that led to consequences for not only M but also her. I understand that her choices and decisions are solely hers, but the outcome affects me directly and has forever changed my life.  When it was just the infidelity and consequential divorce, there were no shortage of stories shared with me of common experiences, no shortage of people that were angry at M and angry at her, no shortage of people that would give me advice on how I needed to proceed during the divorce. However, add in suicide and the fact that all of this has happened in just 150 days, all of a sudden there aren’t so many shared stories, and not so much in the way of advice.

And this is why I say that when you don’t know what to say, it’s perfectly okay to say that. Please don’t try to find words to fill the silence. You should know that my mind takes care of that on its own. Squeeze my hand, hug me round the neck, tell me “yeah, this sucks,” or simply “I’m sorry, I don’t have any words.” Even a sad smiley emoticon can convey your heart.

But you should know that I like when you can relate. Your stories give me strength to move forward and follow your example.  When you can share a story that shows how you handled a hard time, that gives me hope. However, while not impossible, it’s highly probable that you don’t know how I feel, know what I’m going through, have been where I’m at, know just what I need to do, or can imagine what I’m experiencing. Most of the time, I’m not entirely sure myself.

My self talk is filled with doubts and shoulda/woulda/couldas. And yet, I know that there wasn’t anything I could do to change the course of events once M started down that path. I know that I’m not responsible for his actions. I know its not my fault. Remind me of these things–I need you to be positive and encouraging. I feel as if I am on the brink of my own sanity holding tightly to the edge as I watch my faith being challenged.

Yup, this does suck, no other way to say it… and I’m okay if you say it too.