Put on your shoes…no, not your shoes, but the person you are about to say this to.
What did you hear?
My heart is overflowing with sadness as I reflect on three families in my community that have had to say good-bye to there little ones within the past month. One mom will not have the chance to hold her baby’s hand this side of Heaven, and two families were able to hold their baby, but will not hear their precious voice this side of Heaven for the babies were born still.
As you read this today, you more than likely know someone who has recently lost their little one and maybe this loss has even affected you personally. The hole that that is imprinted on each parents heart from the loss of their child does not magically disappear.
What do you say to a parent that has just lost their child and all of the dreams and expectations that come with a joyous addition to the family.
Here is a statement that I often hear and/or see written to families that have just endured heartache and loss: It could be worse. At least you still have your beautiful children at home. (spoken in love)
I cannot speak for others, as each person that has loved and lost will grieve in their own way, so for the remainder of the conversation I will personalize. Althought spoken with love the person you are talking to has a broken heart and one side effect that often comes with grief is that sometimes finding our next breath is difficult, sometimes it hurts so bad that being swallowed by a black hole sounds inviting. It truly is a blessing to have beautiful children that are here in the present with us, but that in no way lessons the void created by loss.
I have lost both a child that I wasn’t able to hold and buried my son and honestly they are two of the most devastating times in my life. Each type of loss brings with it a different type of sorrow. Losing my baby at 16 weeks gestation brought with it much sadness, many questions and a longing to know the little person that grew inside of me. To this day I can tell you how old my “baby” would be, the details of the pregnancy and the excitement and expectant joy that filled my heart as I anticipated meeting her.
Losing Mathias brought a different level of sorrow that I had not previously known. My grief was different, because I had the privalige to be Mathias’ momma here on earth for 7 precious months, but that does not make the pain of losing a child I did not know any less valid, just different. Society often puts expectations on the process of grief and in many ways this only makes grief harder. When someone reminds me of the children I have, I cry inside, because each child means the world to me. Please know that I love Samuel and Emerson with all my heart and if I lost one of them it would be completely devastating, and that pain would tear another hole in my heart. Loss hurts, no matter which way you spin it.
Grief is a package deal; I am learning that the pain, confusion, anger, and depression come in different waves with varying intensity and it is okay to experience each in its entirety. It is easy to put up a strong front, but if I allow myself be in the dark place and let my tears fall, each tear represents part of my brokenness. As God catches my tears and places them in a bottle (Psalm 56:8), healing begins one tiny tear at a time.
What is the answer to the age old question of what to say?
Sometimes silence is what we need, no words needed. Silence is difficult and it makes many uncomfortable, but it truly means the world to know that we are loved and cared for, and that it is okay to grieve. Yes, many of us have our children still here with us and we love and cherish them, but it will never erase the hole in our heart for the children that we miss, no matter if we hold there hand for one minute, 7 months, 40 years, or only dream of the hand we never held. I still cannot fathom why it happens, but I am thankful that I will see my babies again in Heaven.
Hugs to all of the moms and dads who are missing their little ones ♥