Imagine someone asks you to come to their house, because they’re in need of support after a heartbreaking incident.
Their son was killed in a horrible accident!
Obviously, you rush over and wrap your arms around your friend. You tell her how sorry you are for her loss. Such a terrible tragedy!
You are fulfilling your human obligation to weep with those who weep.
…But, just a few seconds later, you see your friend’s son walk through the door.
Yes–really–it’s him! He’s not dead at all! In fact, he walks across the floor, right in front of you, and heads to the kitchen for a bowl of Corn Flakes.
You actually watch him take a couple bites, to make sure it’s not a ghost.
The boy is fine, yet you’re still sitting with his mother on the couch, holding her while she sobs about how her life will never be the same.
Well NOW what do you do?
It would be kind of rude to interrupt your friend’s grief when she’s THIS upset!
You’re supposed to mourn with those who mourn, not try to talk them out of mourning!
She asked you to come and comfort her in a time of extreme need, and you’re thinking about invalidating those feelings like they don’t even matter???
SHE FEELS LIKE HER SON DIED, you selfish jerk!
So, you just sit there…. patting her back… and thinking about how much she must be suffering…
In fact, the more you think about her very real pain, the more the tears well up in your own eyes. She’s really hurting! And that hurts you, too!
You’re both mourning now.
What could mere words do for either of you at this point?
And don’t try to calm anyone down.