Sticks and stones...
Remember the saying "sticks and stones may hurt my bones but words will never hurt me" that we used to say when we were kids? Maybe I'm the only one? I recently just had that saying pop into my head, which I feel like I need to share with everyone and I hope this can resonate with people in different walks of life.
News flash: words do hurt.
I will be the first to admit, I have said hurtful things to people. Some things may have been intentional, some may not have been and I immediately regretted my words right after I said them and would apologize right after. Then I would agonize over it for days. But I am making a conscious effort to watch my words to everyone, both kids and adults. Words sting, they can be low blows and can hurt us when we least expect it. I am also one of the most stubborn, passive aggressive and hot headed people you may know, but because of that I try to watch my words with people. We as adults and parents work hard to teach kids to be kind and watch what they say to others, but if we don't practice the same thing, where will they learn from?
These past 10 months have been hard on people around us, whether they just meet us or have known us for a long time. I will also be one of the first people to say, I do know that what we have gone through is a difficult situation and can be an awkward situation to be around. When I am approached about how many kids we have, I always take a breath and answer honestly. "I have 2, we have Kaden is 5 and our daughter passed away from cancer this summer but she's still with us" and I either get people to back away from me like I have the plague or they still see me as a mom, wife... a person.
I have two instances that genuinely hurt my heart because of words. Right after Amelia passed and right before her birthday, someone said to me "I feel like you hate me, because my kids are healthy and one of yours wasn't". At that time, I think I was too numb to fully process those words. This was also three days before Amelia's first birthday. (Looking back, this person was also angry that I at the time I had to table a conversation, and that was her response.)
Recently, someone said to me "I honestly didn't know what to say to you, because I have both of my kids and you don't".
If you know me, you know that I love my friends and I love their kids hard. I love that I get to see them grow and flourish. Am I envious that they get to have these moments with them? Sure, but I would not want them to miss out on any of those moments. I had ten amazing months with our sweet girl, and I am forever grateful for those moments. I would never in a million years hate anyone or be angry with them for being a parent to their kids. I am still a parent to two beautiful kids, I just have to parent them differently now.
Like I said. I know that our situation can be awkward. Awkward situations make people do and say dumb things. But I also have so many wonderful people who have been honest with me, and told me "I honestly didn't know what to say to you to make anything better. But I am here for you and we love you". Even now, 10 months later, people have told me they didn't know what to say to me, and some people still don't know what to say. I really and truly understand that.
Now, as you may have guessed, I am a fan of honesty- and both instances were honest. But which one do you think hurt? And which instance do you think was appropriate to say to someone?
Let me add. When people tell me that they don't know what to say to me, but are genuinely nice about it, I usually hug them and tell them "really, its okay. I know its not an easy situation, but thank you for still seeing me as a person." Because really. When people hear a blurb of it, they look at me like I am some alien from another world. But being the person who is trying to continuously live through a really dark time, I am still a person. If you look at me, I'm a wife, I'm a mom...still the same person I was a year ago. I'm just adapting to new situations, just like everyone else. If you are on the side of having no idea what to say to someone, just remember who they are....still a person. Say something, but before you say it, think about how it would feel hearing it.
One of my closest friends has held my hand multiple times and has told me, "be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger". You guys, she knows me. I have always been the first to fire back hurtful comments if I have felt attacked or if I jumped to defense mode. Once she said this to me, it has stuck in my head and I always hear it. Even with Kaden. With John, with my friends, with strangers.
I guess my point I am trying to make is we have enough hate and sadness in the world as it is. I know that everyone has been hurt by words at one time or another in their life. This has been weighing on my heart a lot lately and I just want to ask everyone to take a second. Sometimes we just need a gentle reminder once and a while.
We can't control everything, but we can control what we say, who we say things to and how we say them. I'm not saying to be fake nice to everyone, but I am just asking everyone to take breather before we say something to someone. Think about what you're going to say- before you say it. Because we all can apologize and forgive one another, but we can't take words back.