I know they mean well. I know they speak with love. That doesn’t make the words sting any lighter. 

The things said to the grieving, the things said to the brokenhearted, prove effort and love. They prove compassion. They also prove no one knows what to say to us, the ones who are standing in front of them broken and raw. 

When they say, “They’re in a better place.”

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I want to say: The best place for them is with me, making memories. The best place for them is the place where they are still here, with us, living beautifully.

When they say, “Everything happens for a reason.”

I want to say: What reason is good enough to steal the people I love? What reason does cancer serve? What reason makes my heart less broken and less shattered? 

When they say, “They wouldn’t want you to be upset.”

I want to say: Then death should have waited. Then they should still be here. I’m upset because I loved with everything I have, and now I grieve with everything I have.

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When they say, “You need to be strong.”

I want to say: Right now I don’t know what strength is or what it looks like, let alone contain the ability to portray and carry it.

I’m doing the best I can, truly. I wish I held strength, too.

When they say, “It will get better with time.”

I want to say: Time won’t diminish my pain, it will simply shift my perspective. Time won’t make me love them any less. Time won’t make me miss them any less. Time won’t change my heart’s longing for them. Time will simply calculate the days they’ve been gone and the days I’ve been forever changed. 

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There are no perfect words to say to the grieving, the brokenhearted, the lost and the hurting. There are simply words that don’t sting with as much pain.

Words that show love and grace and understanding. 

“I love you.”

“I’m here for you.”

“Tell me about them.”

There are no perfect words. No words that heal the heartbreak from the death of someone we love. Instead, sit with us. Hug us. Love us silently. Let us say their name, their story, their greatness. 

Words aren’t necessary, grace is. 

Originally published on the author’s blog

Chelsea Ohlemiller

Wife, mother, and educator who has Indiana roots and a passionate spirit. Chelsea is married to the love of her life, Justin. She’s the mother to three beautiful and spunky children. She has a deep love of teaching and has always enjoyed helping inspire students. She is a Ball State graduate but an Indiana University Hoosier at heart. Chelsea’s mother always encouraged her to write. In 2017, Chelsea's mother passed away. She decided to honor her mother's wishes and write. It was one of the best decisions she's ever made. Website: www.hopeandharshrealities.com Instagram Handle: hopeandharshrealities Facebook: @hopeandharshrealities