"Thank heaven there is tomorrow. Because there is tomorrow, all our yesterdays have meaning and all our dreams have hope."

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Anonymous' Question

Q: What DON'T you want to hear after having a child pass away? I have a couple of friends/family who are dealing with their loss and I find myself saying nothing for fear of what I should and shouldn't say. I know that probably isn't the best thing to do, but I am guilty of it.


First of all, I think you are so kind to ask that question. So many times I have felt like the elephant in the room - people know what I am dealing with but are too scared to bring it up. I am so happy you asked this question.

Every individual is different, but I appreciate when people ask me outright about Gavin. That being said - I would try to read the clues the person gives you. If they bring up their child, I would recommend participating in the conversation. If the individual doesn't ever talk about the child, I would be more hesitant to ask questions or bring up the child. I say that only because I feel each experience with death is so unique and each person deals with it differently.

Unfortunately for those around us we keep them on their toes.

As for what NOT to say. . . I didn't like it when people would say, "At least you can have more." Or, "Having another one will make you feel better." No amount of children can compensate for the ache of missing one. It also hurt to hear when people would say, "At least he isn't struggling anymore." While I agree 100% with that statement - I felt like I was the one left suffering and they were disregarding the way I was feeling.

Unfortunately, grief is unstable. There isn't always the "right" or the "wrong" thing to say. It is a sticky situation for anyone around a bereaved individual. And I am so sorry for that.

My biggest suggestion is to kindly just ask how they are doing. You don't have to be specifically referring to their child. This way they can open up if they feel like it or they can avoid the subject if that is what they want to do.

Also, kind notes and emails are my favorite. I noticed that after Gavin passed away I didn't want to talk on the phone or have unexpected visitors. I kinda wanted to be alone. I received so many sweet emails and messages that made me feel thought of and loved. These people who did this were the ones I turned to later on when I DID feel like talking.

I hope that helps! :)


Laura Cates said...

I just came across your blog. I think that it's cool that you are answering other people's questions. I just lost my little girl, Heidi, in February at 23 weeks. Overall, I'm doing pretty well, but still having a hard time in some ways.
My question would be: How do you get over feelings of jealousy for other people? I have friends who are pregnant, and instead of being excited for them, I feel jealous of them that everything will work out for them. They get to look forward to having a new little baby in their home without any heartache. While I don't want others to have to go through the same thing I'm going through, I wish they had some sense of what I am feeling. Do you have any suggestions for dealing with these feelings?

Anonymous said...

I was wondering if you felt different while you were pregnant with Jack than you did with Gavin. Did you have that motherly instinct that one boy would be healthy? I am currently pregnant and have a feeling that there is something wrong with my baby. I may just be over-reacting.

Anonymous said...

Thanks! I appreciate your willingness to answer my question. Your answers helped me a lot and I now feel like I can say something that will at least show them I care and also not ignore the fact that they are suffering. You truly are an angel!