What to say, when bad things happen to good people…

Most people are going through something. We get up in the morning, drink our coffee, get it together, and go. We do our jobs, attend to our duties, and the next day we do it all over again, leaving no one wiser of the turmoil inside. A strange thing happened the other day. I found myself in conversation with someone I hardly knew. By some odd twist, this person opened up to me and told me what was currently going on.

When bad things happen to good people, it leaves us dumbstruck. What do you say to someone, whose entire world changed in a cruel blink of an eye?

“Oh, I’m sorry to hear that,” I said and this person continued.
“That is terrible, and I can relate,” I said as I also exchanged some of my own experience.
And simply by listening and being compassionate I believe, I may have left this person feeling somewhat better.

Bad things. Good people.looking out of lonly window


In January of this year, my parents in law were murdered at their farm home. The culprit then burnt the house down to the ground. It’s a case which was splattered across our local newspapers for several weeks.

Very often of late, I’ve had the feeling someone did not want to speak to me because they did not know what to say to all the terribleness.

“It just felt wrong calling,” my insurance lady confessed when I asked her if she had read about the things which have recently re-shaped my life. If I hadn’t needed her to re-assess our portfolio, I would not have mentioned it at all.

But, what if …

Anger is all I can muster when someone tells me their devastating life story in an effort to manipulate me into getting what they want. It gives me no joy, making anybody feel guilty about things outside their control.

But it’s not about that.

Some friendships go down the drain because the person not going through the bad situation does not know what to say.

When it comes from a genuine place of kindness, it’s not so difficult.
So, what do you say, when you don’t know what to say?

It’s simple you start by saying, “hello.”
And the key is, you don’t stop saying, “hello.”

So, if you have a friend going through a tough time, don’t stop talking. Yes, there may be times when your friend won’t feel like company. There will be times of silence and of tears. And it is okay. For everything, there is a season. A time to laugh, a time to cry.

Compassion isn’t feeling guilty. It isn’t about judgment. It is feeling sad and angry in empathy with others suffering. It is an understanding that listening, and if appropriate hugging, are actions which do something about the turmoil another is facing.

3 thoughts on “What to say, when bad things happen to good people…

  1. Excellen tadvice.

    I’d like to say I’m sorry for what happened to your in-laws. The thing is though, “Sorry,” doesn’t seem to come close to covering it. That’s a terrible thing that happened, and it makes me sad that someone would do such a thing.

    I hope you had plenty of people who did say, “Hello,” even when they didn’t know what else to say.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It is very difficult to know what to say. But I agree that making sure you let the person know you are thinking of them, as you said, saying hello, is a great place to start. Sorry for your loss this year. I hope next year is much better.

    Anyway, Hello Sarina! It is nice seeing you here on WP again 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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