“Everything will be okay,” and, “It could’ve been worse,” are two of the most deaf-toned responses to someone who has suffered a loss, survived a traumatic experience, or in the midst of a difficult time. What these two phrases do is actually dismiss any of the emotions the person suffering are experiencing.
About three weeks ago my husband was involved in a gnarly accident. A driver decided at the last minute he/she didn’t want to exit and slammed over into my husband’s lane, which fishtailed his truck up an embankment, flipped, and then rolled back down to the freeway exit. The driver who hit him never stopped.
His collarbone is fractured and hasn’t been able to return to work since the accident and won’t be able to for another couple of weeks, at least. It’s been difficult. The Hubs can’t lift his arm up, he’s in pain, he can’t work or do simple things like taking out the trash because it requires two hands to lift the lid and pull.
The air in our apartment is tense at most times because we’re both a little frustrated we don’t know what we didn’t know and we couldn’t know unless we’d experienced it prior. You think you’ve asked all the right questions but if you’re going in blind there’s no real way to know, until you’ve figured it out, which is frustrating and confusing. It’s been one big crash course in health and auto insurance.
It’s frustrating that some faceless no-name driver who caused this pain in our life, won’t be held accountable, because they simply chickened out and left the scene. How does that person even sleep at night? They don’t even know if he survived. Ugh, makes me rage.
Add the holiday season to the mix and currently, in the midst of moving apartments, “you’re going to have a bad time,” as that ski instructor on South Park once noted.
It’s been difficult. I’m grateful I got the phone call I did that night because I understand it could’ve been an entirely different situation, but that doesn’t mean I don’t get to feel frustrated and angry, or tired and upset just because it wasn’t a lot worse.
Two things have surprised me throughout this entire experience. One being how defensive I got when random people noticed my husband’s sling and asked what happened. Mind ya business. Two is how people respond after THEY’VE asked the question.
So how is he doing? Well, he’s in a lot of pain. We’re trying to do our best to keep his movements limited. Yeah? He’s SO lucky it wasn’t any worse.
How are you (me) holding up throughout all of this? It’s kinda sucky. He’s frustrated about constantly asking me for help and I’m frustrated about reminding him to ask for help so he doesn’t further injure it. Everything’s going to be okay.
Was he able to return to work? No, the doctor wouldn’t clear him because he can’t lift his arm above his head. We’re a little stressed about an extra three weeks off. It could’ve been a lot worse, work won’t let him go.
Over and over again the same thing, he’s so lucky it wasn’t worse, everything is going to be okay, it could’ve been way worse, over and over and over again. For the record, you don’t know if it’s going to be okay or not, nobody has a crystal ball they can look into and see that in fact everything will be okay. So. Hush it.
I’m a little surprised about how frustrated it made me, like why ask the question if you don’t want the truth? How come when we answer with the truth about our pain and discomfort it makes YOU so uncomfortable you fumble for a response? What if you just said nothing and sat in the suck with us for a moment?
I remember the friends who didn’t try to pull out some positive remarks to help “remind me of the bright side,” or try to give me some crap about life’s lessons. It meant more to me when their response was, “This sucks, I’m sorry. What can I do?” Even if the answer was nothing, the simple acknowledgment of the suckiness made it feel less sucky, because it does suck and that’s okay.
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