An Open Letter to All those to Whom I Offered Unsolicited Advice:

I am truly sorry. It was done with the best of intentions, I saw your pain and wanted to make it better. I wanted you to stop being in pain. I thought the way to help was to give you the benefit of my experience and wisdom. I see now how mistaken I have been in taking that approach. Actually, what you needed was a hug, a cup of tea and a genuinely listening ear. I am sorry that I failed you and will try harder from now on.

Lots of love


Roses


This letter is overdue. It comes out of a cup of tea a couple of Thursdays ago with Stephen W, an NLP coach as we spent the afternoon putting the world to rights and talking about the changing world of Personal Development. One of the things we discussed was what people need when they sit down and go "OMG life sucks."

Do they need interventions? Better coping strategies? A blank cheque? No. Actually, what they need is a friend. Some one to sit with them and listen without judgement or advice. People by in large, don't need fixing, they aren't broken. Life happens and people make the best decisions they can given their experiences up to that point and in the circumstances. 

By in large, I'm not broken. I don't need fixing. Life happened and I made the best decisions I could given my experiences up to this point and in these circumstances. I only know how to be Roses in this world. I don't know how to be you. I'm sorry if I tried to impose my experience on you in your time of need. 

It happened to me a couple of days ago. 

It was delivered with the best of intentions. The unsolicited advice. 

I was told I would only really be happy once I accepted the situation with Dave. Once I came to terms with the cancer and the inevitable outcome. Death I was told, comes for us all. We are all going to die.

As I said, the best of intentions.

Here's the thing. Since December, I've been living with the fear, sorrow, disappointment and grief. I don't have the cancer, it's not me fighting for my life. It isn't about me, and yet, it is. It is about how well I keep it together. How well I sort through my To Do List to do the crucial things first, the essential things next and to be able to shelve the important things so I can rest, until they become crucial or essential. It is about how well I can hold my courage, and then to be kind to myself, when fear overcomes and makes me want to run away to the other side of the world or into a book or ranting on Facebook, so I don't have to deal with my feelings. 

He talked about "acceptance". I think I'm going to have to sit him down and investigate his definition of acceptance. I know what's coming. I've been there before. I have been with three of my parents as they faded and died. Here's the thing, I don't like it. And I don't have to like it. Perhaps it's just a misunderstanding of the concept of acceptance on my part. Over the next few days, I'm going to explore it further. Acceptance is bandied around a lot, a bit like "closure". 

The thing is: I'm doing the best I can. If I think something will help, I do it. The fact of the matter is: this is a truly shitty situation and the only thing that will get me through this is by living in the moment and being open to what comes. I can't do any more. I physically and emotionally cannot. 

All his well-meaning advice did was make me feel more inadequate than I did before he opened his mouth, and resentful of his observations of my fragility and vulnerability. 

It made me aware of the times I have done that to my friends. I don't want to make that mistake again. I'm sorry. I truly am.

Comments

  1. Replies
    1. Masses of xxxx back to you too lovely!
      xxxxxxxx

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  2. Oh Rose! Do you know that I think of you every day? Not with pity, mind you, but a million thoughts about how I would be/feel/act in your shoes. I'm amazed at how you live in the present and still are able to grace us all with your special brand of humour. I'm not sure I could do that. Sending hugs, hugs and HUGS. xoxo LaDivaCucina

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're in my heart every day darling.

      I love your courage to speak it like it is. And you make me laugh so much.

      There's always something to laugh about, some times I end up having to look hard.

      xxx

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  3. There's just one Roses, and she's best at being herself.

    In my own humble experience "keeping it together" is the key.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "keeping it together"

      Perhaps 'it' doesn't want to be kept together. Perhaps 'it' would be better off in another room? Did you ever think of that?

      ;-)

      Delete
    2. In retrospect the "it" was mostly meself. Letting loose - I do not know what would have happened then. I just did what I had learned and did what was - as I felt - expected from me, what resulted in this "keeping together". And hence being there for others. It always was a role, and I not only accepted it, I played it and thought it was the right thing.
      It could have been totally different, but seriously, I do not know what would have happened else. I learned this role, by practice, enough chances.
      But I doubt that I could make it today. In the end it is not needed anymore, others may take over. And finally I have a chance to be meself, perhaps ?

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  4. Very true, unsolicited advice is usually inappropriate and annoying, and as you say, the one thing you really need is a sympathetic friend. In the end, only you can decide what's the best way of dealing with your situation, from your unique standpoint.

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  5. Anonymous4:54 pm

    Having lost a husband and sister quickly, and my parents slowly, I know how the grief and pain can and will flatten you at any moment. And how there will be times when you seem to have super human powers to get through the tough moments. Only to lose it completely later on.

    Oh honey, we all try to do our best with those we love and sometimes bumble through situations. Yes there are times when you may have offered advice instead of a shoulder to cry on or an ear to listen... I think we are all guilty of that. But I am certain your good intentions were obvious. Your heart is good and tender and open. Being Roses is the only being you can be. You offer massive love and hugs to all... and I offer them back to you. Ponita xoxoxo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh honey. I know so much about you and yet, so little.

      I didn't realise this was also your story. When I see you, I see your strength, compassion and humour. I hope I get to be more like you.

      I'm holding you so close right now.
      xxx

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  6. You have nothing to apologize for. You're only human. We all are, & humans don't always make the best choices nor communicate effectively. You do what's best for you in your situation. How you live life & the choices you make should be on your own terms, not anyone else's. So you be you, because we love you & like you just the way you are. You have to live life your way, because only you know what's best for you. And we support you, whatever you need, let us know & we'll do our best.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wonder if I'll ever get the hang of being human. Being human never came with a guide book and a lot of it seems to be made up on the spot.

      I love you too honey and I'm so glad you're my friend.

      Wish we were closer, I'd give you masses of hugs right now.
      xx

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  7. Mr Mago is right on the button : there is only one Roses.
    I've just made my wake-up coffee which would be cold be the time you got here. But "pop in " any time you feel like it.
    hugs.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's okay. I'll bring my own cup. It's the great thing about the internet, it's always time for coffee or gin...

      xxx

      Delete
  8. you send out love, sweetpea, and i am grateful for it and you. <3
    xoxoxoxo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you honey.

      One day, I will come and sit on your porch and bring wine to drink with you.

      xxx

      Delete
  9. Sometimes people dont know what to say ,so they end up saying to much.
    Sorrow blurs the boundaries between people ,i guess.
    Life is 100% Subjective .Words like" closure" & "acceptance" may not help cos they imply everything in our lives is both immediate & definable .
    Which,maybe, it aint ? XXX

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is hard to know what to say. The person who said to me "I think it's horrible what's happened. I don't know what to say, but I don't want be silent" touched me more than all the "right" sounding phrases.

      Life isn't neat and tidy. The more we try to make it so, the messier it gets.

      I put my dust pan and brush away.
      xx

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  10. I've never really felt comfortable with the words 'closure' and 'acceptance'. I think Tony is correct.... these things rarely come in an instant. There is no epiphany moment when something is finished with.
    Anyhow... hugs to you, my lovely.
    Sxx

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    Replies
    1. Hugs to you too darling.

      There's an assumption that the past becomes shut away, without the power to hurt with "closure" and I don't think that's true. Grief can leap out of nowhere, triggered by the smallest of things, and thwacks on the back of the head.

      As for "acceptance", I'm still pulling blank with that. I will be asking him about what the hell he meant. I don't think it means what he thinks it means.

      Hugs and hugs back to you darling one.
      xx

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