First thing: I can’t ask for what I can’t articulate.
Second thing: Just because I have to function doesn’t mean I’m actually functional. Yes, I’m going to work and yes, I’m not crying all the time – but I’m still pretty fucked up a lot of the time.
Third thing: You telling me that I should ask you for your help isn’t really helping.
If you want to do something for me? Want to come over, bake a cake, sing a song, send a card, take a walk with me, etc.? Please, just suggest it. Don’t say “Let me know if there’s anything you need.” I can’t hear that phrase with a compassionate ear anymore.
You probably don’t realize this, but when you say “Let me know if there’s anything you need” you are requiring that I not only ask you for your support, but that I take responsibility for your giving of support. You are requiring that I say “Hey, would you please do this thing for me?” which means I must open myself to responses like “Oh, sorry, I’m too busy” or “What about next week?” and that hurts, because it means I am vulnerably asking for help and opening myself up to experiencing rejection…all while I’m grieving. Add on to this the first thing – I can’t articulate what I need – so I’m a little lost right now, understandably lost, and thus I’m not good at thinking up creative shit for us to do together. BUT…I really need connection right now. I really need the support of my friends.
That’s all, folks.
Image: Spirit Bottles by Amoret
My father and my grandmother died last year, and the Holidays were especially rough. I didn’t know how to articulate what I needed either. I think people say that because they’re afraid of offering the wrong thing. They mean well, but it’s not helpful, you know?
I had one really good friend who sat with me while I cried; she made sure I ate, and she made sure that I knew someone cared. We as a culture have a really hard time sitting with pain. Pain is something we’re supposed to defeat and overcome, but sometimes there’s no getting over it, there’s just getting used to it.