How to say it

I was at my mom's yesterday and found a book that she is reading called, "=====================================".  Since I have been criticized for being critical and it seems like nobody knows what to say and I am not supposed to tell you from my experience what to say and what not to say, I figured I pull a section from the book.  You can blame it on the author.  I still think this is important.  My biggest trigger (which is listed are many of the things that have hurt me as well as many of the things that have been a comfort) is when people act like everything is normal (at work, with family, with friends....especially in the weeks and months immediately following Max's passing.  Like NOTHING happened at all).  I can't even count how many times that alone has thrown me into darkness over the last ten months.  Hopefully, this will be helpful to you if you know someone who has experienced the death of a child.  (By the way, the book has right words for many, many situations.  If you are having trouble knowing what to say to someone in a particular situation, you might check it out)



Tiffany said...

so true

Sonia said...

I love how clear this message is - simple instruction about what to say and not to say. I am however sorry that you have to write this, and that there are still obviously people who don't get it. I hope for you that people follow it.

Still thinking about you, your family and lovely Maxie. Sonia x

Jennie said...

Thank you for opening my eyes on how to say what and when it is appropriate. I don't know you personally, in fact I found your blog via The Sullengers, who I have met before, but my heart aches for you each time I read your blog. Best wishes.

Chantel said...

"grief may not just be lengthy but may be ever lasting". I was thinking about this as I visited my Grandma's grave for Mem. Day. My Grandma lost two children. One at 5 yr to a brain tumor and the other at 19 yr. She got in a car accident on her honeymoon. My Grandma never stopped talking about them. Even 30 years later as her grandkids sat at her feet, it was important to her that we knew all about them. I wish I had realized how much it meant to her to talk about them and I would have asked more questions and let her talk but I was just a kid and never understood how much she still grieved. I'm sorry for your loss.

Unknown said...

Thank you for posting this excerpt-- it's very helpful. I also find your honesty to be very refreshing. If people aren't honest about their feelings, how will anyone learn to treat others with sensitivity in difficult situations? You are all in my thoughts. said...

Thank you. I copy and paste this and sent it to everyone in my email. I havent heard too many comments. In fact I can count the comments that were so hurtful with my hand. However, this weekend I visited a friend and among were other friends and even though we all believe we will see Jayden in a near future, it hurt me that he was not mentioned like okay you guys are playing with other babies you must not remember.... This was well put. Kira

Wordsthathelp said...

Dear Abby,
I’ve read several of your blog posts and was very sorry to learn about the terrible loss of your beautiful son Max. As a bereaved mom myself, and one that quickly became pregnant after the loss of my son, you have my heartfelt sympathy. I'm glad your mom purchased my book "How to Say It® When You Don’t Know What to Say: The Right Words for Difficult Times” and that it has been helpful. I’m uncomfortable about adding any additional stress but unfortunately, your blog post includes the content from the entire chapter on death of a child and infringes on my copyright. While I totally understand the desire to let others know how best to communicate with you, I would appreciate it if you would remove all the text from my book from your blog. In its place, you have permission to use the following blog post with the attribution:
When a Baby Dies
At a recent meeting, a business associate shared some dreadful news; a mutual acquaintance gave birth a few months ago and the baby died at seven weeks. She cried as she shared the news.

There is something profoundly tragic when a baby dies. The news is as shocking as it is rare; out of over 4 million births in the United States in 2006, 28,500 babies died before they were a year old.

You may have experience dealing with the death of adults and maybe children. But infant death is different and because of its rarity, you may not have much experience to draw from.
It’s important to support the bereaved. One of the best things you can do is to communicate, in person and in writing. Care and concern are very comforting and the bereaved will need it for a long time. When keeping in touch, don’t ask, “How are you?” They’re not going to tell you how awful they feel. What to say when you don't know what to say? “I just wanted to check in and say hello.” And ask, “Do you feel like some company?” or, “Can I bring you a coffee and stay for a visit?”

Expect that they’ll struggle with sadness for a long time. Don’t try to cheer them up or fix things. Don’t suggest what they should do or how they should feel. Instead, let them know that whatever they’re feeling, it’s okay. There is no roadmap in grief and everyone grieves differently and at their own pace.

It’s hard to be with someone in so much pain. But stay with them and keep in touch. Your willingness to listen is a gift as they will need to tell their story over and over again to make sense of it.

Your relationship will shift and become one-sided as they may be unable to engage in your life or meet your needs for some time to come. Don’t lose patience with their lingering grief. Lives do go on and eventually, their lives will too. If you remain a presence in their lives, your relationship will remain intact.
© Robbie Miller Kaplan from Comforting Words website

Wishing you the best health possible with your new baby.

And thank you for your understanding.
Robbie Miller Kaplan