"Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me."
That phrase was something I heard and repeated to myself many times as a child. Always trying to remember that what others said can't hurt me or make me feel bad.
Sometimes that worked, but the reality is...words impact our lives more than we ever realize.
Words can cause scars that no amount of time can heal, yet words can soothe your soul and help you find peace.
Words can punch you in the gut when you least expect it, yet words can help ease the pain.
Words can profoundly change the way you see and experience the world.
There are words that change you life for the better and then there are words that shatter your world into pieces.
When I heard those two words, my world stopped turning. I fell to the floor in the hospital and had to be picked up by a nurse and escorted from the room. All of the other "words" we heard leading up to that moment did not prepare us for the devastation caused by those two words. All of the other "words" we heard never made us think that she would die that day, that soon.
These two words have helped me get through the days following Sloane's death. When I couldn't get out of bed to eat or shower, having a friend or family member rub my head and tell me "I'm here" meant the everything to me.
In truth, I didn't need words at that point, I needed someone to hold me up when I couldn't do it myself. I needed someone to sit in the grief with me and allow me to feel. I still need someone by my side that doesn't need anything from me...someone who I can just be around without feeling like I need to give something back to them. Someone that I don't have to support emotionally. I am sure that may sound a bit selfish, but when the world is still spinning around you, the sun rises and sets each day, and your world has stopped...you "need" more than you can give.
Words become meaningless when you lose a child. There is not a single thing that can be said to make the loss feel any less devastating, to ease the pain you are feeling.
If you live in the Midwest, you will quickly learn that most people start a conversation by saying, "How ya doing?" or when you pass someone at work, you say, "Hey, how's it going?". Asking how someone is doing doesn't seem like it is a big deal, it actually can be a way to show that you care and want to know how to help. Saying this to a grieving parent is a whole other story. When people ask me how I am doing, I usually say, "I'm here." That's because I am moving through the motions and trying to keep my head above the giant waves that are constantly beating me down each moment of each day.
By saying, "I'm here", I am telling you that I am trying my hardest to be present when all I want to do is live in the past. These two words represent how I feel each day. They have a much different meaning than the same phrase above.
Two words can change everything.
What words will you choose to use today?