So about a month ago I posted this link on my Facebook page.
It's a mom and wife talking about what not to do when someone is facing something HARD. And as I reflect on it from time to time, there are a few things that I would say are different for me personally. So, with each person if the grieving is different what's the best way to respond? Sounds tough if people respond different to grief, and for those who are trying to help, right?
Sure. I was in that boat once. I had not lived very long. I was a young, married woman. I have gone through many different things. I've had to deal with trusting God plenty of times. But what I had not experienced yet (something that changes your life forever) is becoming a Mom.
It can't be explained. You just become one, and then you understand.
Once I became a mother my heart changed. Love is different. Heck, my sleep is different. :) I've learned so much in these past 9 months (+9 months of pregnancy) that I can't quite explain. However I know other moms can at least relate.
If I bring up tough labor pains, moms can relate.
Dealing with post labor hormones and getting your body back to normal. Oh boy you can relate.
Trying to decide parenting day-to-day decisions, you can understand.
But what if the parent(s) are in a situation that you can't necessarily relate with?
A child with a learning disability, a miscarriage, a stillborn, adoption complications, financial complications, divorce, etc? How do you respond or "be there" for them?
Today I can tell you a few ideas, but I have only dealt with one of the above examples. So take my words lightly and openly. Over a month ago I lost my baby through a miscarriage. Here are some thoughts on how to openly express your help through a crisis. Like this one.
1. Ask questions
Unlike the post I linked above where she said don't ask for details....I don't mind sharing. It actually helps me process and continually get stronger.
2. Don't use common phrases that all I can reply with is "duh"
Even though it's easy to say such things, try to stay away from using these phrases. ("It's part of God's plan" or "Your baby is with Jesus" or "in a better place" etc.) Unless I already bring that subject up, it's all ready obvious where my baby is, I don't need the reminder I never got to meet them.
3. Stay away from awkwardness
Just bring the subject up if you want to talk about it. If I'm not ready my response will show it, but me noticing you want to bring it up and see how I'm doing is just awkward, if you are not mentioning it. Just ask. How can you tell if I'm not up for explanations or updates? My response will be simply, "I'm fine or I'm doing better."
4. Maybe you're just not the person I want to give the details to, and don't take it personally.
Maybe I would just rather talk to someone who can relate. I'm sorry, but maybe you'll understand one day too. I hope you never have to, but just so you know.
5. Sometimes grieving is good, but I need help.
Maybe the person grieving a lost baby needs an afternoon coffee/ice cream date, a cooked meal, or someone to run errands with them. Some times company is the best medicine.
6. If you want to help, don't say "just call me" or "just let me know if you need anything."
Just say what you want to do to help. Or just seriously DO IT. I was so thankful to have people give me words of encouragement, let me know they were praying, gave me a real hug, their listening ears (without speaking their thoughts quickly), gifts, etc. Just doing what you want to do for someone who is hurting is better than telling them that you want to do something for them. A hurting person does not want to have to ask for help.
7. Give them time.
It's not like they can snap out of it quickly. If weeks have gone by and they are still grieving maybe give them a foot rub instead of letting them know in some way that you think they should be better by now.
8. Find something you can possibly relate to help understand their situation.
If you haven't lost a baby through miscarriage, maybe you have lost someone close to you before you thought it was "their time." Or maybe you know of someone who has, and you could get help from them. It's always the thought that counts.
9. If you still can't relate maybe the one thing in common you have with the person who is hurting-- is Jesus. Pray. Send the hurting Scripture. Be willing to pray some more. Ask for prayer requests. Seek their heart. Anything is better than being fearful in what to do.
Allow the hurting person to speak. Listen. You might be surprised.
A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his own opinion. (Proverbs 18:2)
A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. (Proverbs 15:1)
*These ideas are my own from my own experience whether I've had people respond in this way or not. It is not meant to be speaking up for one person in particular in their response for my miscarriage. This post is meant for others who can understand and need of healing, you are not alone. That's sometimes the best thing you can hear while grieving....you are NOT ALONE.
God's blessings on you and your little one.
Blessings to our sweet Taylor as well.