Stuff I Wish You'd Quit Saying: I Know EXACTLY How You Feel... 1

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

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.

[clickToTweet tweet=”we cannot fully #believe or wholly understand how someone feels or how someone grieves” quote=”we cannot fully #believe or wholly understand how someone feels or how someone grieves”]

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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  1. Marisha on October 17, 2016 at 8:01 am

    This is so very true. All of it. I’ve struggled trying to explain this feeling to people and I haven’t been able to. Honestly I don’t want anyone to feel “exactly” like I feel – that would make my pain even worse. I live in a dark world of depression and every day is a different battle. That, however, does not change the fact that I cling to God each and every moment. It doesn’t mean I don’t trust Him. Thank you for your words – I needed them today.

    • jami_amerine on October 17, 2016 at 8:07 am


  2. Glenna McKelvie on October 17, 2016 at 8:57 am

    True! No one can judge how another grieves or walk their path!

  3. Regina Sullivan on October 17, 2016 at 9:39 am

    I totally agree! I hate when this was said to me. Or worse, you only lost your ________ but I lost my ________and that is soooo hard. Really, can I just have a moment here, or a month, or a year? We cannot compare our grief, illness, depression, or hurt to anyone else.

  4. Jackie on October 17, 2016 at 9:43 am

    After losing the love of my life, you were spot on with this! Thanks for reminding us, just like there are no words in situations like this, there are no emotions! ❤️

  5. Pat Bell on October 17, 2016 at 10:02 am

    And…we also need to be careful about immediately turning the spotlight to ourselves. I think most people mean well and are honestly trying to be helpful, but sometimes saying nothing is the best gift of all! The presence of a loving, caring person who doesn’t insist you turn from your loss to theirs is a rare gift.

  6. Keri on October 17, 2016 at 10:22 am

    I learned a long time ago to say “I can’t imagine what you are going through/feeling right now.” when the circumstances warrant it because I want them to know their pain must be excruciating and I can’t possibly comprehend as you put it how their relationships caused them to be affected. I don’t ever want them to feel belittled by my feelings of “knowing” or overrode by my similar events that have no bearing on their grief.

  7. denise on October 17, 2016 at 11:19 am

    I have 2 handicapped sons who are now 25 and 30. If I had a nickel for every time someone thought they knew what my life was like…..

    • jami_amerine on October 17, 2016 at 11:21 am

      I am so sorry Denise. No one can fathom.

  8. Lisa Williamson on October 17, 2016 at 8:12 pm

    This couldn’t have been more true.

  9. Holly on October 17, 2016 at 8:15 pm

    Amen Jami…Amen.

  10. cindi kidd on October 17, 2016 at 8:52 pm

    This could not have been posted at a more crucial time. My first born, 26 son, died unexpectedly last month. Yes, he was the first out of 6 kids but that does not lessen the grief. We had been dealing with anticipatory grief as my husband is dying of brain cancer. No one “exactly knows I feel” as most days I’m not sure how I feel! Brokenhearted, lost and frightened, you betcha. Asking God for strength everyday, and thanking God for another day with my husband, absolutely! Questioning why God took my son, daily! Thank you so much for your post, Cindi

    • jami_amerine on October 17, 2016 at 8:55 pm

      Cindi, I am so sorry. I will keep you and your family in my prayers. Jesus bless and keep you. Jami

  11. Amber Taube on October 17, 2016 at 9:08 pm

    Yes, I learned this lesson when we lost our son. It was difficult for me when someone who lost a baby they knew about for 3 days compared our suffering. I delivered and held a dead baby. And while I was in no way questioning the true tragedy of their loss, the comparison hurt. I held my son who had been dead for weeks inside of me while his fingers and male anatomy literally fell off. I had a nurse tell me my time was up because he was falling apart. It’s different. It had to be. And even if it wasn’t. It was mine alone, and someone else trying to minimize my pain for me was not welcome.

    Anyway, all that to say, I TRY to remember how this felt when relating to someone with a loss. I messed it up one time while still very much in the throes of my own pain. And I regret that still years later.

    • jami_amerine on October 17, 2016 at 9:11 pm

      I am so sorry Amber. That must have been so heart breaking. I am glad you got to hold your boy. Thank you for sharing your story. Jesus keep you, Jami

  12. Prairie Wife on October 18, 2016 at 9:57 pm

    So true, yet so hard to know what to say when we want to comfort others. I struggle all the time in situations like this, wanting to comfort and saying the wrong thing. I have found that nodding and listening is sometimes the best reaction…love to you and to all those struggling…

  13. TieceyKaye on October 22, 2016 at 9:04 am

    I have loved and let go close to 30 foster kids over the past decade. I have grieved over most of them. (I could write I wish you’d stop saying… about foster care, but that’s a different topic.) I haven’t forgotten any of them. It feels a little like losing a child (I think), over and over and over again mixed with horrific guilt about the ones I had to ask to be moved. I wade through a constant fog of grief, worry, and depression. I miss the newborn who knew only my voice and scent. I miss his siblings who came to me frightened and silent and learned to laugh. I miss the six siblings who had to split up and are still bouncing around the system. I miss my adopted children’s siblings who stayed with their first parents. I’m currently loving and pre-grieving three more tiny ones. I’m afraid this set returning is going to be the grief that finally breaks my heart wide open.

    • jami_amerine on October 22, 2016 at 9:06 am

      I am so sorry.

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