Friday 29 June 2012

I'm all out of words.....

“Why?” she sobbed, searching my face for answers.  

I hugged her tight but no words would come.

For the first time ever, the most verbose person on the planet, has no words.

Right ones, wrong ones, even funny ones.


Why the freaking hell indeed?

How does she, the kindest person I know, make sense of life after struggling for 25 years with one serious illness and then have to suffer the blow of being diagnosed with an even more serious condition?

She is only 18 months older than me. How can it be so?

I may not have the answers for her but I need to find some words.

The right words. 

I am sitting here looking out to sea and feeling ...... grateful for where I am in my own life but guilty because someone dear to me is in a dark and scary place.

As the waves crash over and over, I'm hoping, wishing and praying that somehow it could all be different.

I've always thought the Ocean and Life are strange bedfellows in their own schizophrenic ways. Great levellers when you least expect it. Calm and peaceful one minute then suddenly overwhelming, dark and terrifying the next. Both have ebbs and flows and sudden swells that can delight us one minute and completely flatten and leave us gasping for air the next.

In times of angst I am easily triggered by past events in my own life which left me feeling desperate and in crippling pain. Six years ago, before I started writing here, my life was nearly wiped out literally at the hands of someone I loved and completely trusted. I then found out that I was living in a web of lies so toxic that it took years to unravel. And I too cried over and over, "Why me?" "What did I do to deserve this?"

And while asking questions didn't solve anything I know that the kind and motivational words of others absolutely did. A gentle hand and an understanding word can pull you through the darkest of places.

So here I am fishing for the right words even though everything I think of sounds like I am channelling some bad Kenny Rogers impersonator.

               Life is a lottery and there are always going to be winners and losers.
                  Hardship is the best teacher of all.
                  You have to roll with the punches.
                  There are no real answers why bad things happen, they just do.
                  You just have to accept it.
                  Life is not very fair.

What did I want? I just wanted validation that what I was dealing with and feeling were real.  Then I wanted some kernals of hope to cling to that I would survive and be able to move forward.

I think that Hardship can be one of the strangest gifts we ever can receive. While we would prefer to avoid it at all costs, most people I know who have faced hard times come out the other side far better people.

I learnt some great lessons. I have resynchronised my expectations about Life and what it owes me. I am a far happier and more accepting person. My sense of humour has grown tenfold. I am far more empathetic. I pray more reverently. Love more authentically. Fight harder. Fear less. Appreciate the good things more often. Yet still I cry and get frustrated at the sad stuff.

So perhaps I need to ditch the empty platitudes and just give her two things, VALIDATION and HOPE. Then I will do my best to keep her laughing long and hard until she too gets to see a glimmer of light at the end of another dark tunnel.

Do you have any words you can share about how to deal with the tough curve balls life throws at us? What helped or is helping you through hard times?


  1. Good grief, Lilly!  You were nearly killed?  I get angry just thinking of that happening.  It is true though that when we've been through terrible times, it helps us to empathize with others and that is valuable.  I believe everything you said is right on the money.  You can only listen, validate her feelings and then help her be happy and try to accept what she cannot change.  Thank goodness she's got you for a friend.

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. Yes it's true, for a short time there my life resembled a Jerry Springer episode. I had this charmed life and then bam. However, it is like it happened to someone else most of the time. I have distanced myself from it all to a large degree.

    That is why I started this blog - I wouldnt let myself write about anything but positive stuff. So for the first year I blogged every day if not several times a day. So when I say at times that blogging kind of saved my sanity I was not joking. It was a way of having some place that was free of all the drama.

    It was absolutely horrible but its behind me. I never talk about it but I feel ok to do so now. It does not define me anymore.

    Maybe I will write about it, who knows. Truth is stranger than fiction.

    Also, I think its important to realise that bad stuff happens to us all, deserved or not, and we can get through it somehow.

    Thanks Kay for your comments I am going to try and do just that.

  4. "I think that Hardship can be one of the strangest gifts you will ever receive".
    Such a meaningful sentence. And so wise. It shows you have gone through hard times. I´m sorry about your sister and her diagnosis. My words always seem meaningless in such situations and all I can say is the I hope she finds HOPE again and I will be praying for that.
    I have not had a hard life, compared to such hardships and can´t really give any advice. But I think humor is a great way to carry you through it.

  5. Lilly I have always used humour, honesty and compassion in difficult situations.
    I feel humour really slices through the bullshit and allows us to speak in a more authentic way....humour keeps us real.
    Humour and honesty is what I used with my friend Dianne who lost her battle with cancer a couple of months ago.  We discussed the uncomfortable truths in a humorous way right up until she became unconscious.....we cried and laughed at the same time.

    I am sure you will find the words to help both of you through this difficult journey.
    Take care my friend and big hugs
    Peggy xxxxxx

    PS Oh I love that photo of the wave!

  6. Lilly your post is timely.  I just finished reading Jai Pausch's book 'Dream New Dreams'  and was struck by this quote towards the end of the book 'even though I may not know what my future holds, I should not give in to the fear of the unknown.  I have to trust.  I have to have faith...'  Her situation is different, but I thought these were good words to remember.

  7. Dear Lilly,
    There have been days in my life when words have failed me as well .. I've learned that merely 'being there' with a touch, a smile, a gentle embrace does help.  You, my dear .. will be able to provide quiet strength for you friend to draw on.  Stay well ...........

  8. OldOldLady Of The Hills30 June 2012 at 03:43

    For me, the best thing anyone can do for me when a horrific situation arises that feels insurmountable, is to LET ME HAVE MY FEELINGS. Don't try to take them away with so called 'words of wisdon', or homily's that stifle what one is feeling.....Encourage her, (me) to feel as bad as she needs to feel and just listen.  If you must say anything just a simple empathetic, 'I know', is all you need to say. Be there physically. Hugs, a touch on the arm---take her hand---but let her get it all out, for as long as she needs to and as often as she needs to.....And if she says...'This is shit'....agree--'I know it is'.....
    This is the greatest gift you can give her----The gift of having her feelings! 

  9. this was a godsend. & you are absolutely right. I was in a puddle of self-pity and thought my world would end. Its just what i needed to (hear)

  10. Beautifully said Lilly- amen to everything.  I've always loved this Hemingway quote- “The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places.”  

    I think you are so right- the validation is so important.  I think we all just want to feel heard, and to know that we matter.  

    I hope one day, when its right for you, you will share more about your own experiences.  I think you have so much to offer and would touch a lot of people!  Hugs sweet friend- thanks for such an honest and insightful post!

  11. Reading your meaningful post and comment section I'm short on words.  I certainly believe in humor.  At a funeral early this year for my uncle his daughter got up and shared stories.  Most were funny.  The humor helped me remember him.  Of course the situations are as different as the people involved.  There doesn't need to be many words.  It's a time of quality over quantity.

  12. Talking is therapeutic.  Listening is support.  It's not always easy to just.. listen.. we want to solve the problems, lighten the load, for the person going through difficult times, but it's often not in our ability to do solve the situation.  

    If we stop and listen, be the shoulder to cry on and the support to hold someone steady, that's the best you can do ... and it's a lot.Beautiful post.

  13. I really appreciate your comment Aleta as you it the nail on the head. I keep wanting to solve the problem and sometimes forget that its not my place and I need to step back. Thanks so much your words mean a lot and really made me think. xx

  14. Thanks Lisleman. I am best at the humour when it comes to these things too. I like your comment about quality, I will focus on that, thanks.

  15. Thank you, I am not sure who you are but I hope all these wonderful comments have helped you. You might like to also visit the commenters blogs too because they are great writers, every one of them. Thanks for visiting and stop by again.

  16. Well out of anyone I know you my dear know how to handle hardship with some flair. I love, love that quote.

    I would like to write about this particular horror but not sure this blog is the right place for it as its normally associate with silly stuff. I am as over it as I can be but you carry it with you and learn to live with it like other undesirable stuff in our lives. We just have to remember none fo the bad stuff defines us though. We are who we are no matter what happens. Love you Vicky xx

  17. I know you have gone through some hard times of late Naomi so your words and experience mean a lot to me. "Let me have my feelings". That is something I need to focus on. Thankyou so much for the great advice. The gift of having her feelings - love it.

  18. Helen, thanks so much for your comments. I am not so good in these situations. I can do it for myself but for others I like to fix things (bit of a male trait I think). Sometimes things cannot be fixed being there is the priority as you say. Thanks xx

  19. Oh wow Christine, that quote of Jais is beautiful. I bet his book is powerful too. I am going to see if I can get it printed out and framed to give to my sister. I think her situation is very similar really. thanks so very much xx

  20. Thank you Peggy. Yes I will focus on humour and being a better listener. I will try and be like Des - he laughed about the most awful things he had to face. He used to be telling jokes as they were wheeling him into his twelfth operation over so many months. Kept laughing till the end. No wonder the hospital used to roll out the red carpet when he arrived. What an experience you had with your friend. And what a good friend you are too. xx

  21. Thanks Betty, yes sometimes I don't understand why some people have hardships, when they have done nothing to cause them. Mine was something else again but my sister has just had one serious illness after another first starting in her early 20s. Not fair. Not right but there it is. We will keep praying for her.

  22. Oh that is hard and your poor sister too. I agree that sometimes there are no answers and I am sure she has had to fight hard already just to get to this point. Listen hard to what she wants and feels and try and make the load a little lighter so she doesnt have to worry about the extraneous things and can focus on the things that matter. You can do it as you are a survivor and your own hero.

    1. Thanks Miss Sarah. Not a good prognosis for her and thanks for your sweet message.

  23. Jings, Lilly. Sometimes words are not enough. Just being there to listen, support and, yes, hug the person you hold dear can mean so much. I wish you both well and my thoughts are with you.

    1. Jings Mike, thanks for your comment. Appreciate the positive thoughts.

  24. Lilly , I am sorry for your friend and diagnosis . This resonates with me too. Your friend has a great support in you and that is going to mean so much more than a few words.

    1. Trish I am sure this does resonate given your current situation. Thanks for your comments and you too are very much in my thoughts and prayers. xx

  25. The most sinking feeling one can ever have is being duped by the very purpose you beat your heart for.

  26. Sometimes there are no words. You just have to be as loving for the person as ou can. My sister, who is 22 months younger than me, has sufferend with a devastating illness for years. She found out what it was in her early 20s. We have the same mother and father, were reared in the same household, ate the same food, etc., but she has struggled with this disease and had "last rites" said for her a couple of times. Now she is struggling with side effects from the medicine that has kept her alive. One of the things that has helped me, in addition to prayer, has been a line that Richard Pryor delivered in an old Bill Cosby movie. One character asks him, "Why me?" He replies, "Why not you, brother?" I've never said that to anyone but when I've had adversity it has helped me...I get what I get. I've pondered all of this in a few posts on my blog. Some people have money luck, beauty luck, relationship luck and some people have rotten luck. It is arbitrary and capricious and so unfair. Sending you my best wishes. I know your friendship and love will help.

    1. Thanks Can-Can, I had to keep re-reading your comment as it seems we have similar situations. I get what I get - I like that line. Really appreciate you advice and sharing your own experiences.

  27. There are time when no words are needed. Just being there with a hug will suffice. Things happen sometimes good, sometimes not. It's how we react...

    You did great!

    ..and what was that song by Kanye?

  28. Thanks YW, I guess it is how we deal with adversity that is important because we are all going to have to one way or another. Kanye' song - not sure, Stronger maybe?


Thanks for your comments.