When there is a death in the family, people come to visit and they say “I understand” how your feeling. I never paid much attention as a kid about that but when I became a teenager it started to get to me. I began to wonder if people really do understand or do they just say it because they don’t know what else to say.

When I got to my teenage years I started asking some questions especially when having to deal with someone’s passing.  Why it is when someone passes away then all of sudden everyone has this total understanding about how I’m feeling? They weren’t there when things were going on. Were they friends of the family, how well did they know the situation? It would annoy me to no end, when I would meet people at the funeral and I heard that. I wanted to have the guts to ask, “Do you really know how I am feeling? Are you truly interested?” Would they really take the time to just listen or were they just doing the polite thing? To turn things around on us, when we ask those same questions how interested are we really, or are we just being polite because we really don’t understand how they are feeling.

I will be the first one to admit that I am so guilty of this one, saying all the “polite” things. Never having the courage to just putting myself out there and being human. Maybe all that person needs at the time is someone to have a genuine interest in how they are coping. Have we gotten too busy and self-absorbed that we just don’t care anymore? We show up at the funeral, wake or whatever the event to be seen at the right place at the right time.  What is so wrong with just showing up for support, hanging out just in case you’re needed? Maybe that’s all they need, just to know your there, that they can look around the room and see you. At my Dad’s funeral, it was so overwhelming with all the people and trying to cope that I was so thankful for my cousin Tori. She was my rock that day. Stayed close all day no matter what I needed.

When someone passes away we can understand the loss, but I think it’s all in how we use the WORD understand that we should be careful about. If you don’t understand, then for God sakes, say so. What is so wrong about admitting that you’re human and don’t understand the feelings? We all understand someone dying, Right? What is so terribly wrong admitting we don’t get understands the feeling that someone is having? Are we so uncomfortable with the situation that we CAN’T step outside our comfort zone for that small amount of time? We call ourselves God-fearing people, so why can’t we act God like and show some human compassion for those suffering.

Phil and I were in the USA visiting my girls and a close friend had lost her husband. I have never had a partner die on me so I had NO CLUE what she was feeling, but Phil did. Boy did we get nasty looks for having the nerve to show up, especially after I departed on terms that most of them would consider not well.  He took the time to share with her a bit about what she was feeling and how much he understood with losing his first wife. He was probably one of the few people who day that said to Janice “I understand” how you are feeling. I admired him for taking the time with someone he didn’t know at all to actually be HUMAN and offer the kind of comfort I couldn’t. I knew a lot of them had not lost a partner and would have no real clue how Janice was feeling. Were they really there to offer support being the good Christian or were they swallowing their pride and being human and showing interest?


Over the years I have been able to share with people who have lost a parent because I understand that loss. BOTH of my parents are looking down on me. I was able to say “I understand your loss because both of my parents have passed.” What’s so wrong with just stopping and choosing your word correctly before saying anything? What is so wrong with having the guts to just admit one thing…I don’t understand how you feel but I am here to support you.  Try letting yourself actually be human and have feelings for a change. It’s NOT as scary as you think.


So here’s the question — How much do you really UNDERSTAND?