Acknowledging pain is a powerful thing (Archives)

Acknowledging pain is a powerful thing

Some things have no bright side. It's okay to acknowledge that. - Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

Some things have no bright side

We are conditioned to look for the silver lining in everything, but some things simply don’t have one. It’s okay to acknowledge that.

Notes for the Support Team - Words Matter: Original statement: Let's cheer you up. Rewritten: I understand your grief is heavy right now. I'd like to support you in whatever ways you need. Would you like to tell me about him? Or maybe we can go for a walk. Whatever you need. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

Let’s cheer you up

Loved ones often want to cheer you up after loss, but sometimes, you don’t want or need to find cheerfulness. Sometimes (often!), you need to just sit and grieve. “Let’s cheer you up” can be hurtful after loss. Acknowledgement is so much more supportive.

Notes for the Support Team - Words Matter: Original statement: He/She wouldn't want you to be sad. Rewritten: It's understandable that you are sad. He is gone and he shouldn't be. It makes sense that you will grieve as long as you need. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

He/She wouldn’t want you to be sad

“He wouldn’t want you to be sad”—This is ridiculously untrue. Instead of telling the bereaved how to feel, or worse yet, speaking for the deceased, consider honoring both the life and the grief. Like any other authentic emotion, it is ALWAYS okay to be sad, especially after a death.

Notes for the Support Team - Words Matter: Original statement: I wish I could take your pain away.  Rewritten: I understand your feelings are important. I would never want to minimize or try to take them away. I will always be here to listen. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

I wish I could take your pain away

I think something that isn’t realized about loss is that pain after loss is sometimes important; it’s a measure of the strength of the love that remains. Instead of wanting to remove that pain, consider giving it a place. Listen without judgement. Let your loved one’s complicated feelings exist.

Notes for the Support Team -  You aren't going to be perfect. Show up anyway. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

You aren’t going to be perfect. Show Up Anyway.

Your words may be awkward. You may stumble. You may stick in your foot in your mouth entirely. It’s still okay. What’s important is that you acknowledge the loss. That you embrace the awkwardness. That you show up anyway.

Notes for the Support Team -  When someone is in the thick of grief, "someday" is pretty meaningless. Sit with them in the hard parts, today, instead. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

“Someday” is Meaningless

What you need to understand is that your loved one isn’t there right now; they are here. And here, today, they are hurting. As much as you want to point them to “someday,” it is so much more important to acknowledge where they are, today.

My feelings are authentic and I own them completely. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

My feelings are authentic and I own them completely

I’ve been running into a trend recently when I talk about Adrian’s death, especially when I share more “uncomfortable” feelings such as anger or regret. People seem to feel like they need to urge me to find peace or to otherwise feel differently. I wish more people understood the power in authenticity; in feeling whatever and however one needs.

My pain has a purpose. Please stop trying to take it away from me. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

My pain has a purpose

I understand your intentions in wanting to take away my pain. It’s hard to see someone you love hurting. It’s hard to acknowledge there’s nothing you can do. What I need you to understand: (My) pain has a purpose. It speaks to the love I hold for my child. In seeking to take it away, you take away my love as well. You take away ME.

Statement: You're so strong. Response: Inside I am dying.

You’re so Strong!

How do you respond to the phrase, “You’re so strong” when you feel like you’re anything but? People tell me I’m strong, but I feel like I’m dying inside.

Sometimes it just needs to suck. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

Sometimes it Just Needs to Suck

It feels like we are conditioned to look on the bright side of every dark situation, but sometimes there isn’t one. Sometimes, things just need to suck

What doesn't kill you... ...Still hurts like a bitch. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

What doesn’t kill you…Still hurts like a bitch

We’ve always been told that what doesn’t kill us only makes us stronger, but I don’t think this makes sense. Sometimes, the things that don’t kill us immediately still affect us strongly in other ways.

Driftwood log on the shore of Nukoli'i Beach park, Kaua'i, Hawai'i (Miranda Hernandez)

Not Fucking Fair

I feel more attuned now, to tragedy. It’s easier to recognize. I know there are things I should say. I should be present and strong. I would never ask someone in tragedy to be strong.

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