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How many times have you heard these words:

Everything happens for a reason.

I believe in fate but seriously? That sentence can destroy us. It is also completely untrue. Some things, absolutely. But everything? Absolutely not!

If you have ever faced a tragedy and someone tells you that your tragedy was meant to happen or that it happened for a reason, even that it will make you a better person, you have every right to be upset and even go so far as to remove that person from your life.

Grief is brutally painful. There are so many facets to grief. Grief does not only occur when someone dies. It can occur when relationships fall apart, when opportunities are shattered, or when dreams die. It can even occur when you are struck with a serious illness.

Remember these words instead:

Some things in life cannot be fixed. Some things in life can only be carried. 

These words are poignant and they aim right at the pathetic platitudes our culture has come to embody on an increasingly hopeless level. Losing a loved one cannot be fixed. Being diagnosed with a debilitating illness cannot be fixed. Facing the betrayal of your closest confidante cannot be fixed. These things certainly did not happen for a reason.  They damn well cannot be fixed! These things can only be carried.

Sometimes devastation can lead to growth, but the truth is, it often doesn’t. The reality is that devastation more often destroys lives. And the true calamity is that this happens because we choose to replace grieving with advice.

After living through traumatic devastation, I choose to and now live an extraordinary life. I’ve been greatly blessed by those in my life, the opportunities I’ve had and the life I’ve built for myself and for my family. Loss has not made me a better person. Sadly, in some ways, it has hardened me.

I have always been a very loving and caring person. My losses have made me even more aware and empathetic of the pain of others. On the other hand, I also have a more cynical view of some and have developed impatience with those who are unfamiliar with what loss does to people. It’s true that you don’t get it until you live it but there are some that don’t even try to understand it. It can be quite frustrating.

I’ve had people tell me to “get over it,” or  that those who passed away “would want you to be happy.”

I am happy.  I have sad moments.  People don’t “get it.”

If anyone tells you that all is not lost, that your situation happened for a reason, or even that you’ll become better as a result of your pain, you may want to choose to let them go.

I’m not saying you should. That is entirely to decide. It isn’t an easy decision to make and should be made carefully. The fact is that you can.

The ones who helped were those who were there when I needed them. And said nothing.   They were just there. But in those moments, they did everything.

I am alive and I survived because of my deep love for my family. I survived and because of those who chose to love me and help me.  When you are loved in silence, when people suffer with you, when they watch you in your darkest moments and see you emotionally destroyed and they love you through it, you survive.

When a person is devastated by grief, the last thing they need is advice. Their world has been shattered. At this time, we can acknowledge their pain and let them know that we are there with them. It is important to be with your loved one, suffer with them, listen to them, but please do not give them advice.

Acknowledging someone is powerful. It requires no education, training or skills.  All you need to do is to simply be present as long as is necessary, comforting the wounded soul of your loved one.

Be there. Do not leave when you feel uncomfortable or when you feel like you’re not doing anything to help. Because it is then – in the shadows of horror –  where healing is truly found. When others are willing to enter that sacred space with us, it is very powerful and very healing.

Be one of these people.  Unfortunately, one day you will find yourself in need of one of these people. Find them. They will help you heal and not try to fix you with advice.  They will help you carry your pain. These people are keepers.

Fate. Be that person and when you need them, they will be that person for you. That can happen for a reason.