I understand. No, you really don’t…

I understand. No, you really don’t…

I understand

Actually, you don’t. I understand are two words that I fucking hate to hear someone say to me. Don’t get me wrong, I truly believe those words are said with love and compassion. But let’s get something straight…You Don’t Understand. And to be honest, I don’t understand what you are going through either.

I understand is something we say when we don’t know what else to say. It is something to fill in the uncomfortable silence when we get too close to someone else’s tragic circumstances. Too often, we say “I understand” when we have similar experiences and want to let other’s know they aren’t alone.


Your experiences shape your understanding. Considering this, there are no two people in the world who will experience the same event in the exact same way. This is one reason that law enforcement doesn’t give too much credibility to witness statements. If ten people are interviewed about an incident, all ten statements will differ in some aspect. People focus on events based on who they are. Smells, sights, sounds, and even tastes may change based upon who is experiencing them.

And if an experience induces a feeling of trauma, all bets are off. Emotions will dull your senses as your fight or flight kicks in and you will be in survival mode. Many times when a loved one passes away, those left behind are blinded by their own pain. They forget there are others hurting and often personalize the behavior of their family and friends. Everything becomes about them and words and actions are often miscommunicated. Thus the reason that many families drift away after the loss of a beloved matriarch or patriarch…it appears that everyone feels slighted by others. Unfortunately, this is not the intent, it is the by-product of grief.

How to help a friend who is grieving

When I lost my brother, it was devastating. He was my rock and the one who was supposed to outlive us all. I had no idea how many people I knew had lost a sibling and when they began reaching out, I realized I wasn’t alone. Were our experiences the same? No. However, we all became part of a club that none of us wanted to belong to and we realized we were not alone. We could bond over the loss and share our experiences, both positive and negative.

For me, some of the kindest things others have done is to just be there. I have one friend who knows that I hide away when I am struggling and she leaves messages for me, knowing I will call back when I am ready. I have other friends who often ask how I am doing and they call me out on my bullshit when I tell them I am ok.

I often joke that as a social worker, I suck at my own emotions. Truthfully, I am more comfortable with helping others, which are totally forms of denial and avoidance. So just let me know you are here. Let me ramble. Listen as I tell stories. Empathize with my situation, just please don’t tell me that you understand.

What helped me

I love the book “It’s Not Supposed to be This Way” by Lisa TerKeurst. It resonated with me. For so long, I have been stuck within my grief. Within a short time frame, many influential people in my life passed away and each one left a feeling of emptiness. However, as I explain to my children, this is the circle of life and as hard as it is to understand, it means we felt deep love. That is a blessing for I cannot imagine living life without love.

Prayer. I believe in the power of prayer. I have seen God work through people and I know He is with us. Furthermore, I believe we will once again be reunited with our loved ones. 

Being honest about how I am feeling. This is a kicker for me because as I mentioned, I suck at this. There have been times in the past few years that I have been treading water…simply treading. And occasionally I find myself back in that same place. I expend energy but I don’t move forward.



I Love My Family…BUT

I Love My Family…BUT



Whenever someone starts a sentence with ” I love my family, but”, you know whatever follows isn’t gonna be good.  In my case, it is true.  I love my husband, our two boys and three dogs with all my heart.  Chad is my best friend. He makes me a better person…blah blah blah…you have heard it before and you know exactly where I am going.  I am trying to justify what I am going to say  in regard to my family, without sounding like an ungrateful bitch.

But let’s do some REAL talk.

Why is it when couples have kids some crazy unidentified expectations come into play?  Why is it if HE watches the kids, he is babysitting.  Um,first of all, I didn’t have these babies by myself, and it seems like they are just as much YOURS?  How is that babysitting?  Am I babysitting when I have them 24/7?  No?   Because they are MY kids?  I call BS.

Mom or Maid?

Why there is dirty laundry on the stairs for three weeks before someone picks it up?  Of course, that someone is almost ALWAYS ME. Does no one else in this house see it or smell it?

My husband can cook which is a HUGE bonus for our family; but but as a result, every inch of the kitchen is covered with something sticky?

Why is it that NO ONE in this house knows how to do laundry except me?  Do we need to have Laundry 101?  And boys, your clothes do not magically go from the laundry room to your bedroom.  If you are running low on something, it is YOUR job to let me know.

Did you tell me you were out of underwear?  No?  When I ask for how long and you tell me three days, I am in awe.  eww!  No, I don’t want to hug you!  Get your butt in the shower!

Who taught you to put an empty box back in the pantry…and then question me as to why it isn’t full?  Did I know it was empty?  Of course not, you put it back in the pantry EMPTY!  If I don’t know it is empty, it doesn’t go on the list.

Um, football in the house?  I am pretty sure I told all of you to stop throwing the football in the house.  When something gets broke, it comes out of YOUR pocket.   well, crap, you just nailed me in the face and I am not sure how much that will cost you…good throw though, your arm is really getting strong!

Yes, you can have a puppy.  YOU are responsible for training and taking care of her though.  Fast forward two years and who walks her?  Feeds her?  Trains her?  Good question.

What’s a day off?

My husband lectured me the other day about wearing myself out.  He says I overextend myself and I need to stop doing that.


What happens when you take a day off?

This is what I return to…

A never ending amount of dirty dishes that need to be done.

More laundry that needs to be washed and put away.

An alarming amount of vacuuming that needs to happen.

The kids didn’t get their meds.

Or family house is a fricken disaster.

There is no dog food.

And finally, the garage door is broke.

Consequently, I am exhausted.

So, why don’t we take a day off?  Because it is hard to relax when we know our work will have doubled in the time we nap.  Fortunately my husband is not fanatical about the house being spotless, if he was, he would need to hire a maid.  I am pretty sure that title wasn’t in our marriage vows.

Want to do something nice for me honey?

Just a thought, buy me this and take the kids to a movie.

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AHHHHHHHHHHH!  While you are doing that, I will enjoy two hours of silence with no one to create a disaster…except the puppy and her pals and I can sound them out with some loud tunes. Seems like a win win situation for all of us.  After all, when mom is happy, so is her family.