Do we get to decide who gets sympathy and who doesn’t? [026]

In the last 3 months, since breaking my leg, I have been very very lucky and have received a lot of sympathy, good wishes, amazing gestures and offers to help, as well as a lot of practical help from my extended family and those near me.sympathy

I needed the help – there were days, at the beginning, I couldn’t do anything for myself.

But, I’ve also received some (rare) less sympathetic comments.

Today I had one of those.

I haven’t set foot (or crutch) in a shop to do my weekly grocery shopping since my fall, so I have my shopping home-delivered on a weekly basis, if not twice. Some drivers see me opening the door on crutches and struggling with taking things out of the baskets and just help me out, no questions asked.

But often they ask me what happened to me.

“I fell l down the stairs carrying an empty suitcase while I was unpacking. Here, at home”.

They make a little comment, small talk perhaps, wish me well, and carry on with their day.

The best one I’ve had so far was: “At least you’re still smiling”, and that did make me smile. A lot.

I have no sympathy

But today I got another kind of comment. One that surprised me a little.

“Ah, I have no sympathy for those kinds of injuries!”

Me, already getting a bit defensive: “What, for people falling down the stairs?”

“Nah. For people trying to be clever!”

“Trying to be clever? I wasn’t trying to be clever. I was unpacking!”

“Yes, but you see, the way to do it is to push the suitcase from the top and let it slide down the stairs. It’s made for it – it’s got wheels!”

“Ehm… If I put it on the steps at the top and push it, it’ll just pick up speed, tumble down, and end up broken at the bottom”.

“Nah, they’re made for it! Look at how they bash them at the airport!”

Now, I’m a very logical thinker, and there’s nothing I like more than an argument that makes sense and a suggestion that I hadn’t thought about.

But this?!

Granted that hindsight is always a great think, but… really? You expect a suitcase to slide smoothly down the stairs? With the wheels??

Perhaps I’m missing a trick.

“You see”, he continues, “My dad tried to be clever once. We left the pub, it had snowed, and me and my brother were walking on the snow. My dad – he was 69 then – decided to take the icy path and fell. He broke his arm. I just laughed!”


But seriously, I was not trying to be clever. Efficient, maybe. Productive, maybe. Helpful, maybe.

But not clever.

And anyway, I just slipped. I guess I made a mistake, if you can call it that? I wasn’t trying to be anything. It was an accident.

I never for a second chose for this to happen. I wasn’t trying to be clever, and if I could take it back, I would in a heartbeat. Again, in hindsight, I would have left that suitcase well alone where it was.

It’s just one of those things. It happened.

I do deserve ‘some’ sympathy

But you know what? It hurts that you come into my house, even if it’s just for less than 10 minutes, judge me without even knowing anything about me or my family and blatantly tell me you have no sympathy for me.

Now, I promise I don’t need every single human on this planet to come and offer me sympathy.

But it doesn’t cost much to say a nice word to someone. Or say nothing at all, if you have nothing nice to say?

Are you implying that people who fall victim of ‘silly injuries’ (you know, the ones where they were trying to be clever) don’t deserve any sympathy?

This isn’t the first time I hear something like this about ‘silly injuries’ (although maybe not directed at me), but who gets our sympathy exactly?

Does the one who hurt themselves skiing or sky diving deserve it? Because it’s a high impact sport, and they were doing something sporty, brave and ‘cool’? Or are they to blame because they chose to take a risk? Were they being too clever maybe?

Does the one who crosses the road and is hit by a cyclist?

Does the one whose car is hit by a lorry when stopping at the traffic lights?

Who gets your sympathy? Who is deserving of it, exactly?

I just don’t get it – an injury is an injury, and this one happens to be quite a serious one too, for the fall that I had. We are only grateful that it can be fixed and that it is temporary, but the impact on my family has been considerable, for a number of months.


So let’s agree to disagree

On reflection, Mr Delivery Man, it’s YOUR sympathy to dish out, so you can give it to whoever you like.

I’m hurt, for now. And for now I do deserve a little bit of sympathy. When I’m better we can all laugh about it if you want. Just not yet.

And yes, there are MUCH bigger things in the world that my broken leg. There are people who are suffering A LOT more, and going through A LOT more.

And I think whoever is hurt, ill, upset, injured or suffering, especially if they’re in that situation through not choice of theirs, does deserve some sympathy. Just a couple of words will do. I’ve reflected about kindness and compassion before, and I stand by my words.

You obviously think that some people don’t deserve sympathy, and that’s your view.

So let’s just agree to disagree.

I’m sorry to hear that your dad broke his arm. That can’t have been nice, and I feel for him.

Run Jump Scrap!


  1. Mackenzie Glanville
    22nd December 2016 / 2:31 am

    I have never thought to push a suitcase down my stairs, does that mean I am dumb? I carry it too, so I guess I am trying to be ‘clever’? He sounds ridiculous!!!! I am so sorry you hurt yourself and I am sorry you had to meet an idiot like him too. Feel better lovely xx

    • Sara
      22nd December 2016 / 11:29 am

      Thank you Mackenzie! I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks it was a silly suggestion!!! I’m getting a lot better, finally! Thank you for your wishes and Merry Christmas! x

  2. 22nd December 2016 / 10:33 pm

    What a silly person, I think some people just have to have an opinion about everything even if what they say makes no sense. Don’t give it another minute of you attention. #TuesdayTreasures

    • Sara
      23rd December 2016 / 3:46 pm

      He he – I think you might have a great point there! Guess what, he came back again a few days later and had no recollection of the whole conversation! He asked me again what happened!

  3. 23rd December 2016 / 7:44 am

    That’s mental! I feel bad for that person’s poor dad 🙁 some people are so strange!


    • Sara
      23rd December 2016 / 3:48 pm

      I know! He was 69 as well (at the time) – I bet it’s not easy to recover from a broken arm at that age! Nothing to laugh about, right?

  4. RachelSwirl
    26th December 2016 / 10:46 pm

    You have my full sympathy, a few years back I was in a cast with a broken ankle and there was nothing funny about it! It made me life almost impossible for two months. I hope you get better asap!!! Thanks so much for joining up with #TuesdayTreasures.

    • Sara
      28th December 2016 / 12:08 pm

      Ah, I’m sorry about your ankle – hope you’re full healed. You’re right – there’s NOTHING funny about that!

  5. 12th January 2017 / 9:12 pm

    What a tosser (sorry). You did well to keep your cool hun. So if one of his crates fell on his head and gave him concussion as he was rushing, would he deserve no sympathy?! How odd. Hope your leg gets better soon and you can get back to normal. Thanks for sharing with #bestandworst x

    • Sara
      13th January 2017 / 7:05 pm

      He he, thanks Sarah. I’m getting there – I’m in pain and have a limp, which I hate, but at least I’m mobile again! Little steps..

  6. 16th January 2017 / 1:03 am

    You absolutely deserve sympathy! Everyone does! I heard something similar last night, my fellow bartender where i work had an awful hangover (alcohol poisoning actually) and threw up 10 times in the first two hour that i saw her….My manager, when she heard what her ailment was, said she had no sympathy. Now i know she did this to herself essentially, but feeling that awful deserves sympathy and a bit of concern at least! ugh, people. You have my sympathy, breaking a leg is simply terrible and so hard to recover from not mention it changes your entire lifestyle for sooooo long!

    • Sara
      16th January 2017 / 1:09 pm

      I know – it might be ‘self inflicted’, as they say, but I’m sure she never expected or wanted to go through that. Effectively that’s accidental! And you’re right, it’s not just sympathy! It’s concern as well!

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