I heard Lady Gaga's song "Til It Happens to You" for the first time yesterday. While it is about sexual assault, the words actually apply to so many situations. It resonated with me deeply as a bereaved mother. I ask all of you to listen to it (unless you are offended with the use of the hell word...though I find it quite fitting for this song).
Having dealt with a sick little boy for two years, and then a terminal one for 8 months, I received a lot of unsolicited advice. Word to the wise: it is not helpful. From being told treatments that WOULD work (go to Mexico!) to being told that I have to take some time for myself (unless you are offering to watch my kids while I do so your words are worthless). Having someone say "Take it one day at a time and enjoy every moment (easy for you to say, your child isn't dying). I could go on and on but my point is that while I remind myself that these comments are usually made with love or concern, they are not helpful. Unless you've been through it, you don't have any idea. The best advice for these situations is no advice at all. Offer prayers, or help, or a listening ear.
Even now, in my journey of grief (which WILL last a lifetime, there is no "getting over" the loss of a loved one), advice sometimes flows from someone's mouth that is more hurtful than helpful. And yet, I SAVOR the advice from other bereaved mothers. "Til it happens to you, what the h*$l do you know" is true.
This applies to pretty much any situation. Unless you've walked a mile in someone's shoes put all your criticisms, judgement, and "advice" aside. When you truly care for someone you will be a support for them, not a thorn in their side.
Now, go listen to this song!