As most of you know this is the time of year that we lost our baby boy Landon. We had a lot of people who wanted to help us through this time but there really wasn't much they could do (unless they could give me my baby back). As I am getting ready to have a play date with another mother who lost her daughter, Abigail, I think back to that time. What words helped me? What words didn't help me?
This got me thinking...maybe people don't know what to say. Maybe they don't know what to do. Or maybe they don't know what not to do, what not to say.
I am no expert (there are plenty of those around) so take the rest of this with a grain of salt.
Here are some things I have found through my own grief and from the grief of the mothers I helped with the Pregnancy and Infant Loss Group. Again, I am no expert, just experienced.
What you probobly shouldn't say
- Count your blessings
- Be thankful for your other children
- You should/should not have another baby
- Aren't you glad you didn't have more time, it would have been harder
- You'll get over it soon
- You were happy yesterday so why are you sad today
- God needed an angel
- Why didn't you answer the phone/door/email
- I know how you feel
- Are you going to replace him with another baby
- If you would just get out of the house you'd feel better
- You should care about what people think
- Aren't you going to write thank you notes to every person who came to the service
- You need a therapist, you should still be sad - it was a couple months ago, that is a long time.
- Read this book, it will help you get over the death of your baby
- Calling the baby "the baby"
- I feel sorry for you, I can imagine how painful this is
What you COULD say
- I'm sorry
- How can I help
- I accept your grief and its okay if you don't want to talk about it.
- Here's my shoulder, cry on it if you need to
If you didn't notice the could say list is much shorter. When someone looses a baby there really isn't much you can do for them. Yes, meals are nice, cards are nice and well meaning friends and family are nice but even with these you still have to live in your grief. Some will find themselves wanting to be with their family, some their friends, some their faith and some just want to be alone. The hard thing for someone outside of it to realize is that you will weave in and out of these things for a long time.
Time heals all wounds? Well, kind of. Time does lesson the pain, lesson the depression and the saddness but the wound left by a child loss never completely heals. There isn't a day that I don't think about Landon and wish he was here. Oh, how I wish he was here...