A friend of mine has a daughter who is suicidal. She goes to counseling. She is depressed. She does talk with her Mom and Dad about her feelings. But mainly tries to tell them what they want to hear. Then they have a false sense of security for a while and when they least expect it, she scares them.
A friend of mine has a Mother with Alzheimer’s. She’s in a home. Being taken care of, physically. Mentally, her Mom is 8 years old again and feels like she’s lost her way home. She cries for her sister and Mother & Father who have all been dead for quite some time. She does not recognize her husband. Or her daughter, my friend.
I don’t want to go on and on with sad stories to bring you down. I just want to give some advice that an older woman kindly once gave to me…
If or when someone decides to unburden themselves on you with a great sadness or pain in their life, it can be very difficult to relate to and you may have a hard time finding the right words of comfort to offer.
The key is to not say anything at all. Just sit and listen. Listen. Maybe ask a question or two to prompt them to share more if you feel they want to. But listen. And feel. It will be impossible to relate to, because it is not your situation.
But make it yours. What if it was you…
Put yourself in your friend’s shoes. What if it was your daughter/son? What if it was your Mom/Dad? How would you be feeling? What would you want your friend to do or say when you told them? What would you need? What would you want to hear?
Maybe you don’t say anything at all. Maybe you just give your friend a huge, long hug and tell them that you are here for them and could you call them every couple of days to let them talk to you?
Maybe you just tell them that you love them and will be there for them in whatever capacity they need.
What would you want someone to do or say if you were going through something like that?