We have experienced some really painful words during our grief. I really don't think that people intend to hurt us so, but they hurt just the same. I have been so thankful that on the days that people have said some really hard things, I have felt strong and okay. That doesn't mean that my head doesn't replay the words later and cause me some heartache, but overall, I am thankful that God has been able to renew my mind moment by moment as we grieve with hope.
I have found that so many people just want something to blame and be angry with, and where I understand that, the hardest part about people sharing is that for me, it feels like it all comes back to me. No matter what is said about how she died or what the causes could be, it was me carrying her, it was my body that she died in.
I just want to encourage people to try your best to walk in this situation and know that I too would love to blame myself and find something to be angry at, but there is no healing in that place. If you are needing to walk out the why and be angry, please try to think of the parents walking this out and feeling it so much more than you, and try to be understanding that what you might want to blame, will NOT help the parents in the situation. Just really think about what you might want to say to them and pray to ask God make the words sweet to their soul, something they will forget if it will cause them pain, or that they are in a strong enough place that the words will not cut deep. God is able to do immeasurably more than we think and we have seen it in our 7 weeks of grief and dare I say, peace and joy.
I wanted to put together a list of some things that have been helpful, hurtful and things to encourage you to consider if you ever find yourself helping a friend through this. No two people are alike, so everyone will walk this out different, but it might help to hear from one who has been there.
Things that have helped us have been:
- Just saying "I'm sorry for your loss"
- Give us a hug
- Let us cry
- Acknowledge our precious child - it might evoke tears, but just be okay with us crying
- Sharing how you have been impacted
- A Memorial to our daughter(s)
- Sharing your story if you have walked through something similar
- Books with HOPE
- remembering that it is more than the mom that is hurting and needing encouragement, hope and support
- Trinkets to remember our little one (for mom, dad and siblings)
- Still giving the gift you had intended for our little girl, we WILL cry, but it touches us to know the thoughts you had for her and us.
- Acknowledging that she was ALIVE and real
- People that just do what God has laid on their heart without needing our permission to do it
- Having food brought to us
- Understanding that we do not always want company
- Invitations extended to us to come to a home for dinner and company
- Invitations extended for an outing
- Being told that we are prayed for
- Having journals given to us
- Being given photo albums
- Praying with us
- (there is more I am sure)
- Expecting us to be over it already
- Telling us we can try again
- Telling us we could have done something different to change the outcome
- Saying it was due to my medical situations
- Saying it was her size/weight that caused her demise
- Expecting us to always answer the phone or want company
- Expecting us to call when we need "help"
- Call her on the phone and listen to her story over and over again
- Visit her in the home
- Offer to accompany her to a support group for pregnancy and infant loss
- Let her grieve in her way unless it is hurtful to others or herself
- Don’t be afraid to say her child’s name fearing that she may cry
- Let her and her family withdraw from baby showers, birthday parties and other festive events given by others for a length of time
- Purchase a Bible or other inspirational books to comfort her
- Purchase angel mementos or other gifts reminiscent of her baby
- Purchase scented candles, perfume or other fragrances reminiscent of the season her baby passed
- Purchase a soothing music cd or songs played at the babies service or songs of hope
- Don’t give advice because this can be interpreted in a negative way
- Take her for a walk in the park to breath in nature and photograph the beautiful sky while remembering her sweet child
- Send a “Thinking of You” card on the baby’s birthday
- Offer to babysit her other children so she can may time alone to grieve
- Bring meals for the family
- Light a candle on Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day
- Create a handmade pregnancy and infant loss ribbon for her refrigerator
- Help her create memorial scrapbook pages for her angel baby
- Help her create a memory garden at her home or church
- Write a special poem
- Help her with the funeral or memorial service arrangements
- Help her create a shadow box for mementos
- Purchase a journal for special words to her baby
- Create care packages for the charities honoring her infant
- Have a drawing done of their child in the arms of Jesus
- Have a special candle made, or vase engraved with information about their child that they can use for days to remember
- Make a birth certificate to recognize their baby was alive
Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit.
There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.
Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble.