There's a really freeing thing I learned to tell myself recently: I wish things were different.
That's it. Just that I wish things were different from the way they are in that moment. And just saying that has freed me from so much--from denial that something was happening, from anger at myself for ruminating on it, from being grumpy when I can't articulate my feelings. From wanting to change things I couldn't.
And it has done two things for me that probably seem like polar opposites: first, it has helped me accept my current situation, whatever it may be. And second, it has helped me understand how I want myself or the world to change, and to see how that change is actually possible.
Acceptance is not naming change as impossible. It is simply the only place to start.
So often, when something truly terrible happens to someone we love, we want so badly to fix it or distract them or make the situation go away. But when I think about what it really means to love someone, it's those silent moments we spend together in the truly terrible parts of life. The moments when we accept that things are this way. That no one can fix it, at least right away.
So if someone you know has experienced something recently that you can fix, remember that sometimes saying "This is all really terrible, but I love you so much" is exactly what they need.
That, perhaps, is the most miraculous thing about human intimacy. That when we can't do anything else, we are able to say to each other: I love you. This is hard. But you are never, never alone.