Everything was lost. Ruined by tainted flood water, with no hope of salvage.
I drove by my friend’s beautiful home that Hurricane Harvey had ravaged and stared at what was left, piled high outside on his front yard. It wasn’t my own personal loss, and yet, I felt very deep sorrow all the same.
I wasn’t there when a convoy of dump trucks arrived to unceremoniously load up ruined carpet, furniture, flooring, toys, and mementos and drive away, as though the remnants of the secure home that once stood there were nothing more than common trash.
Those remnants did have meaning, every piece had a story to tell, and now here I was, wondering what to say and how to comfort this family who had lost it all.
I’ve asked some of the victims of Harvey’s wrath what words and actions comforted them and which caused pain and distress. Here is what they told me:
DON’T say, “It could be worse.” In the middle of a dire loss, it’s hard to see how it could possibly get any worse.
DON’T say, “It was just stuff.” Ultimately, that is true. We have our loved ones who are safe and sound, but that pile of debris represented things both tangile and intangible: security, love, memories, and how do you replace Grandma’s hand-crocheted baby blanket, a wedding dress meant to pass on to the next generation, or a treasured collection? It’s easy to say, “It was just stuff,” when it wasn’t your stuff!
DON’T say, “This will make you strong.” How do you know? An event that makes one person strong may completely destroy another.
DON’T say, “Call if you need something,” and then just walk away. When your friend has lost everything that was significant to her, she needs a hug and some of your time, just to chat or Click to see the original article