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Stuff I Wish You’d Quit Saying: I Know EXACTLY How You Feel…


You don’t.

And I am not just referring to the odd mentions, “I know exactly how you feel, losing your foster child, I took care of a transitional rescue Dalmatian. When they placed him in a forever home, I thought I would die.”

I am not even decreasing the loss of a Dalmatian pup versus the loss of a child, I feel confident that was hard.

More I am addressing, we cannot fully believe or wholly understand how someone feels or how someone grieves.

It can’t be done.

Perhaps the issue is the desire to be familiar? I try to offer this grace when someone says, “I know exactly how you feel…” not from the analogous stance but the associative.

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I have hurt too.

I can identify in some way with what you’re experiencing.

I am so glad I am not alone in my agony.

However, I speak from experience when I say that the person in the throes of a grievance wants their hurt to be theirs alone. Yes, it ‘s good to know you are commiserated with, that you’ll be able to breathe again without forcing yourself to do so, but grief is also precisely private.

We dread pain, and those around us dread watching the grieving process. I stand by the belief that depression is real, but I believe depression is worsened or made greater by the societal credence that we must pick up and trudge on sooner rather than later.  And the religious or the pious pile onto the condition by insinuating that the state of grieving and depression is somehow is indicative of a lack of faith; that if you were only “closer” or “deeper in your faith walk,” you wouldn’t be so wrecked.


Don’t let anyone tell you your prescription Zoloft in any way negates your relational step with the Anointed.

He is the only one that FULLY KNOWS YOU and what you need.

At the core of grief is the personal impact a loss has on an individual.

When my brother-in-law died this was the response from so many people, “I know exactly how you feel, I lost my….” And your loss is tragic, and I am sorry. But my relationship with him was different from everyone else’s because no two people had the exact same relationship with him. Some who didn’t even know him grieved for each of us because they knew we were hurting. And that was their grief, and not the identity or the cohesion of anyone else’s suffering.

And yes, your brother-in-law may have died in a car accident.

But your brother-in-law wasn’t in the foyer of your home the night before his death visiting and laughing with your kids… and you were too tired to go out and say hi… one last time.

He wasn’t closer to one of your children than the others, and your worries aren’t identical to my concerns for that child, or my others.

Your brother-in-law wasn’t the precise character my brother-in-law was.

In the same way, you didn’t know my Grandma Mickey like I did. Or my sister and brother did, who knew her in  an even different communion than I knew her.

My relationship was different from your relationship with your mother-in-law.

My nephew.

That friend.

The loss of that job, contract, opportunity, relationship or community might be similar, again, I am so sorry for your hurt…

But you cannot possibly know exactly how I feel.

May your floors be sticky and your calling ordained. Love, Jami

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.  Psalm 147:3


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