Saturday, July 09, 2011

Don't Say Nothing

I know it is awkward. I remember feeling the same way. I've had others tell me they don't want to make me cry, that it is hard to know the right words to say. My brain can comprehend the fear, but my heart can't grasp the reasoning. If you have a friend, or even an aquaintance, going through the grieving process, don't say nothing.

First of all, there is no "right" thing to say, like there exists the perfect, magical phrase that will make the pain go away, or at least serve some higher purpose. And because everyone grieves differently, I can't say with certainty what any one person might desire to hear. But silence can be as painful as the worst, most insensitive comment.

Silence gives the impression that my pain doesn't matter. It makes me feel like your desire for comfortable conversation is more important than my life-shattering trial. And as much as I long for easy-breezy interaction, my heart won't allow it if you can't even acknowledge the bludgeoning my soul took with this death.

It doesn't have to be the first thing you say to me. It might not be the right moment, but don't ignore the trial altogether. A simple "I'm so sorry for your loss . . . I've been thinking and praying for you . . . Is there anything I can do?" is more than adequate. And don't worry about making me cry, knowing you care enough to talk to me about our trial makes up for any smeared mascara that may result.


Jennifer said...

Hi Donette,
I still read your blog from time to time. So sorry for your losses. My mother buried two children before my brother and I were born. One was completely full term, and I believe the other was about 6-7 months into the pregnancy. I can't get over how much strength she had to be able to go through something like that and to then go on and carry more children. Your strength inspires me as well. Strength that can only truly come from God, no doubt. He has brought you through this and will continue to bring you through it again and again...because as you know - even when the days get brighter, there is always that little one missing in your life. I pray for continued healing for you and your whole family. Thanks for sharing through your blog.
Jennifer Essington

The family Z said...

Thank you, Jennifer.

Rachel said...

Well said, sweet friend.

Gretchen said...

Donette -- you are SO right. Thanks for posting this. I hope your church family and friends are surrounding you guys with love and care. It feels like so long ago we were sitting at the camp ground talking about our pregnancies. I think of you ALL the time. Love ya!

Donette said...

Thanks for the comment, Gret. Our church family has been fantastic. After posting this I hoped it didn't come off as a rant, just advice on how to talk to a grieving friend.

As I told someone the other day, our church has been like receiving a tangible hug from God. It has been very supportive.

Donette said...

Oops! Looks like I logged in under a different address. So sometimes my comments will be under my name and sometimes under The family Z. Hope it's not too confusing!

Miscellaneous From Missy said...

Thanks for this advice, Donette. I'll use it for sure. I've been praying for you from time to time during my devotions or as God brings you to mind during the day, and I'm glad that your church has surrounded you with love.

anna said...

Hi Donette-I'm Gretchen's sister--and I follow your blog- You MIGHT remember me from MBBC. 3 semesters worth anyway. ! I am so so sorry to read of the devastating loss your family has had more than once, and can't even fathom it. I will say, having a loss in my life has allowed me to be more sensative to knowing the right words to say, when before I would have felt wrong in even commenting--as if I was being nosy... Now, I plow right on with the comment that I always want/wanted to hear. "what a huge loss". "I'm so sorry". Anything else that could be said is nothing in comparison to those words of acknowledgement of the loss..acknowledging that my life is now missing a huge piece! Praying for your sweet family, and your broken heart.
In Christ, Anna

Donette said...

Hi Anna,
Thanks so much for your advice. I think your response is a perfect thing to say. I love hearing what other grieving people appreciate being said. It is a huge loss, isn't it?! Thanks for commenting, and I do remember you!!:)