by Christine Sherrill
Sometimes I hear you say it. Sometimes I can see you think it.
“She’s just sad – give it time.”
“You’re just sad, but it’ll go away.”
Just sad is something you might feel when you get hurt.
Just sad is something you feel when your team loses.
Just sad is something that can be fixed and goes away.
And often I have said I am just sad.
But the word sad goes so much deeper than that. Being sad is a big umbrella that thus encompasses so much more.
Simply saying I’m just sad, or I’ve been sad, really doesn’t do my emotions justice.
You see, when your child dies, your sadness is so much more than being ‘just sad.’
For three weeks after the death of my daughter, I laid in bed, praying every day for God to “please take me.”
I cried, and I begged for God to take away my pain, my sadness, by ending my life. It didn’t make any sense to me why I should still bother living if what I longed for the most was gone.
After a while, my sadness transformed.
It was different, but still there.
It moved from the deepest despair and begging for death to questioning why I was alive, why did this happen, what am I supposed to do now?
It changed to pervasive flashbacks in the middle of a conversation that completely tore down the rest of the day.
It changed to crying in my car and fixing my makeup in the mirror before starting work.
It changed to sudden outbursts of tears that seemed to spring up from nowhere but were the result of society pushing you back into resuming your life.
The one where you work, cook, clean, and attempt to take care of yourself and others.
It changed to curling up under the covers and sobbing when you chose to confide in someone, and all they wanted to do was give you advice as though they too had ever felt the white-knuckled grip sadness had on your collar.
When I say I’m sad or when you talk to someone and say, “Oh, she’s just sad,” please know it goes far beyond a cheer up Hallmark card, your annoyingly sympathetic eyebrows, and your, “Let me know if I can help.”
I know you think it’ll go away.
I know you say I will find a new normal, that life will resume, and everything will move forward as it’s supposed to, that I’m sad right now, but eventually, I’ll be better.
The only people uttering these words are the ones who have never felt that SAD.
Please don’t tell me you understand what it’s like to be sad.
Please don’t tell me your cousin has depression and some medication or essential oils helped her.
Please don’t tell me you know someone who had a miscarriage.
None of these are helpful.
You see, the moment the doctor looks at you and flatly states, “There is no heartbeat,” or when they place your floppy, silent child on your chest, when the funeral home comes to pick up your baby, whose fleeting warmth you will never feel again or whose eyes you never had the chance to see, then you know what it’s like to feel sad.
Not JUST sad, but sad. Sometimes people are not ‘just sad.’