Monday, January 12, 2015

Helpful Hints for Helping Friends

Ten Months Ago, tomorrow to be exact, my world was shattered.  

It felt like it had ended, actually.

Five of the most wonderful animals I've ever been lucky enough to call family were lost to a devastating housefire.  Five of the most independent and dependent family members were taken from a (then) six year old girl - and I was angry.  I am still angry.

She was angry.  She IS angry.

Since the fire, we have rebuilt our home.  Slowly, we are rebuilding our lives.

What kills me about this entire situation, aside from who we've lost of course, is the callous response from some people.  Some people who should know better than to say the things they have said or have been saying.  

Callous, heartless, downright mean or cruel things.

I've decided to use my anger and frustration regarding these people, the best way I know how - by writing it out.  In this case, I'll be writing a top 10 list.

Be Prepared - there are a lot of sarcastic "inspirational" type images in this post.  I'm not apologizing for them, in fact, I wish I had more.


The Top Ten Things You Should NEVER Say
(or Do) To A Family After A Housefire

10.   You must be so happy to be standing here today.
Yes, yes we are - but we are also shattered and weary and weak in the knees at who/what we've lost.  Please, don't remind us how "happy" we should be that we weren't *physically* hurt.  Our beds, are entirely too empty - and our hearts, are fucking shattered.

9.   Don't remind us how terrible our circumstances are.
As terrible as YOU think they are, we realize they are so much worse.   The reality of losing everything you've worked your entire life for - and your precious pets -  hits you, hard - and often.  Most times without warning, the reality of loss is far more than you could imagine.

8.    Don't tell us how much worse things could be.
We know.  Trust us, We Know.   But right now - they are pretty fucking bad.  This includes (but is by no means limited to)
  •  God Is Good.
  •  You Are So Blessed.
    You'll forgive us if we don't feel like either of these things mean a whole fuck of a lot to us.
  •  Everything Happens For a Reason.
    really?  What possible reason could there be for a six year old girl to have to bury her five pets?  Including her new puppy?  I'm not entirely sure there is one, so please, kindly - go fuck yourself, after all - it happens for a reason.
  •  You Should Be SO Grateful.
    We are, We are incredibly grateful for the rsponse, the support, the fact that we are still standing - but really, don't say it.  Just.  Don't.   Say.   It.   Please.

7.    Don't say "I Understand", Please don't.
I know this one is meant with love.  But even if you've been through a fire yourself, or have buried a pet (I'm sure we all have) there is no way you could ever possibly understand - because you're not me, you're not Mike, You're Certainly Not Emily - and you didn't buy the fucking Keurig.

6.   You're in my prayers.
Now, before you get all pissy with me - just listen.  We're not religious people. We are faithful people, don't misunderstand.  However, at this point - we're pretty fucking pissed at God.  One of my most vivid memories of that day is praying - out loud - the entire drive home "Please God - let them be okay.  Let them All Be Okay.  Please God, I'm Begging.  Don't Please Don't Take Them From her.  Please please please"    Needless to say - I don't need to know you're praying for us.  I mean, if I know you - I already know that you are, there's no reason to say those words out loud.

5.  What Happened?!?
I know.  curiousity.  I'm guilty of it too.  I'm one of the nosiest people on this planet - and I NEED to know everything, at all times, always.  Emily has this affliction as well.  Unfortunately, some don't know how to control this affliction, or when it may (or may not) be appropriate to utter these words.  And besides, when I'm ready (and I am now - another post to come) you can bet your bippy I'll be screaming it from the rooftops.  because we know what happened.  We don't know why, but we know what - and how.  And when the time is right - we'll tell you.  So don't ask.

4.   Are You Serious?!
Nope.  I Lied.  Made the whole thing up.  Aren't I fucking Clever?!  I should write a book, I'm so fucking imaginitve. 

3.  Smile.  Don't be Sad.  Try Not To Cry ...
There are still days, when I just can't.  When Emily - just can't.  Our family is missing pieces, and will be for the rest of *our* lives.  Because of something I brought into the house.  It is prefectly okay to be sad, angry, less than happy.  It's impossible to smile all the time, and the tears - well, they're plentiful and free flowing.  Often at times that don't make sense to YOU - because they don't make sense to US either.  None of this does.

2.   This Is NOT Your Fault.
Or don't feel guilty, or you can't do that to yourself, or any of the phrases that mean the same thing.  Because I can't help it.  I'm Catholic by nature (even if I'm not Religious) - it's in my Soul.  I bought it, I plugged it in, I left an hour earlier than I needed to that day.  I DID THOSE THINGS.  Me, full body, mind and soul, I DID those things.  I know I can't keep this train of thought because it's not healthy.  I know I cannot blame myself for a freak accident, a faulty piece of a kitchen appliance.  Part of my process, is knowing - at least in my head - that I had a hand in her heartbreak. 

1.   Wow.  You guys really made out in this deal.
Are.You.Fucking.Kidding.Me?   No, but really, ARE YOU FUCKING SERIOUS?!  I know, number 4, but really - this is right up there with God Is Good, and You Are So Blessed - stupid, ignorant, mean, cruel and just fucking thoughtless.   We made out in this deal - did we now?  Sure, we have a beautiful home, with beautiful *things*  and we've definitely changed a few things around; but certainly we haven't "Made Out In This Deal" - I'd give it all back - each and every fucking thing back - if it meant they were still here.  If it meant Emily would never know this level of loss, of devastation, of heart break.  I'd give every single thing back.  And if you thought about it?  You Would Too.
Just - Be There For Them.  
Quietly, Strongly, Steadily.  
Be There For Them.