5 Things To Never Say To A Mother Who Has Lost A Child & Why
5 Things To Never Say To A Mother Who Has Lost A Child & Why
My angel is gone for a decade, and my double blessings are 5 years, 2 months, 1 week & 3 days old.
With my son’s birthday nearly here, I have obviously been thinking about him and about those of you out there who are maybe in a similar position. Obviously, my own emotions are running high, and I know I am not alone in them. My heart goes out to you – one and all who are coping with a loss, especially the mamas. I know dad’s feel horrible pain, I am not trying to trivialize it, but I do believe nothing is worse than a mother’s pain. (I feel.) Don’t hate me for my feelings, please.
Below are just a mere fraction of the things that you hear as a parent who has lost a child (or more), but I chose 5 of the ones I find are common and most always upsetting. I hope that others reading this will now be informed about proper etiquette when dealing with fragile souls of we who have loved and lost a child or children. It isn’t something you will ever truly understand, nor would we ever wish for you to ever have to. Don’t pretend to know and simply watch your words. We don’t really want your pity, we just want you to be aware that we are fragile, not just for now or for a month or for a year to come. We are fragile for a lifetime!
1) ”Time heals all wounds.”
To an extent PART of this is true, but it doesn’t ever help to hear, and it’s not a typical wound that eventually heals up completely. That is a fallacy. Years pass by, and you do learn how to cope and learn how to do the ‘at one time’ unthinkable – survive basically without your loved one there with you. However, this pain doesn’t EVER fully heal no matter how much time elapses… be it 3 months, 3 years or 60 years. Some days painful memories seem as fresh as they were almost a decade ago when I lost my precious boy.
I miss him just as much today as I did back then. Do I eat more now, sleep better, have fewer nightmares and anxiety over what I went through in losing him? Yes. Do I get myself out of bed without being massively prodded? Yes. Do I open up the curtains and let the light come in now? YES. Have I learned to stop faking smiles and even learned how to smile and laugh as real emotions again? Yes. But does the pain ever leave my heart any second out of any day? Never.
Full healing implies you were hurt, but your pain, your wounds, your boo-boos are totally gone. The healing never stops when you lose a child. The scars are still there. You just learn to move on because you are forced to, point blank. There are no other choices in this life. Please don’t use this one on us. It isn’t at all helpful, just cliche’.
2) ”You have other children. That must help ease the pain, no?”
In my case, even though suffering from secondary infertility for a total of nearly 9 years, I do have more children, and I’m very happy for it. I do know I am blessed and that some are not as lucky, though I hope one day that they all are. (BABY DUST.) However, nobody can replace my son. He wasn’t a broken lamp shade that I could run out and buy another one of and things would be right as rain. He was a human being. He was a unique, special, one of a kind person. There are no substitutes. No amount of children makes that emptiness go away. He was my 1st, my rock, my forever hero. I may be much more busy now, absolutely, but he was and always will be irreplaceable.
3) ”Everything happens for a reason.”
I believe this in many aspects of life, but when a child, any child, passes away, I always question God, ”WHY?” Much less when he took my own child away to heaven. I was angry for a long, long time. Why my child? It did not seem fair, and I couldn’t ever see any good that could ever come out of losing your precious baby.
Yes, in some ways it MAY (and I use the word loosely, but not always) bring people closer and make them stronger on the inside, maybe. But at what price? Surely we would rather do these things and learn such lessons in a much easier way. I can never find ANY reason in this tragedy. In other life situations, yes.. in this one.. no! Therefore, don’t ever say this to a grieving parent. No parent should ever, nor wishes ever to outlive their own child. We’d go ourselves over that in less than a 1/2 a heartbeat.
If you don’t know what to say, say that ‘I am sorry for your loss’ or nothing at all. And ‘if you need me I’m here for you’ is nice, though unless this person has walked in your shoes, it doesn’t feel really helpful right off the bat, but it is far better than these other things.
4) ”At least he or she isn’t in any pain anymore. Be thankful for that.”
While you may personally find comfort in this knowledge down the line IF by chance your child did in fact suffer during his or her short lifetime, or maybe would have if it was during pregnancy and there was a grim prognosis for quality of life given, but it takes a long while to get to this point though. We could easily say in rebuttal, ”Well why did God allow my child to be so sick to begin with? If he/ she would not have been, they never would have had to suffer.”
It’s easy to blame God and lose faith when you lose someone THIS close to your heart, as God is the center of the universe.. the creator of all man. Don’t feel guilty for it. He understands why you feel as you do, for as long as you do. These words that are said to us do not comfort a grieving parent. They just make us wonder why this happened to our child in the 1st place. And nobody is thankful that their child is gone no matter what. It just never seems right to ever feel that way, regardless of if we even realize things down the line that we didn’t realize before.
I look back now, only in hindsight of course, and I can say I now feel a bit selfish for wanting to keep him alive here with me, and for me. I needed him. Without him I couldn’t move on. There would be no me without him. I would surely die of a broken heart. I could not ever let go and I wasn’t. I believed he was a miracle child. He was living for a reason and was going to be OK. So anything I had to do, including not signing a DNR to make sure he was brought back to me – I did that. Looking back did I only prolong his pain? I try not to think about it and just remember his smile and the way it felt to hold him in my arms, but sometimes I do feel guilty – yes.
I thought God had him here for a reason, and he was beating to odds and always smiling, and so how could I ever do what my mother and some horrible other people were telling me to do? Pray that God would take him to heaven. I was supposed to pray for my child to die while he was smiling and impacting the lives of many in such positive ways? Most especially mine. He was my rock, my reason for living, and in my denial I did believe he’d be healed and live a good, normal life. He didn’t act in pain much the way one would think he would. I didn’t see that side much at all. He was such a strong, happy-looking boy who was doing more than the doctor’s expected. That was a miracle right? I believed what I saw and not at all what doctor’s were saying about him, and eventually the actual reality of the situation. As a mom, how could I not believe my eyes? I don’t blame myself for that, but moms do blame ourselves for a lot. Even for things that are way out of our control.
So now do I get pings of selfish feelings from time to time over the past decade since he’s been gone – yes. 20/20 vision changes things. But if I could go back I can’t imagine that being able to let go would have been any easier than it wasn’t back then. This is my child! My best friend. My Life! I didn’t want to give up on him. I couldn’t give up on him. I certainly can’t imagine ever praying for anybody’s demise, much less my own child. My mom angered me greatly then. So watch your words when speaking to moms and dads of a lost child. (Or even a very sick one.) Leave the ‘at leasts’ out. They help nobody!
5) ”You’ve got to move on now.” Or ”Move on it’s been BLANK number of months or years.”
Or even the brazen, ”Get over it already.”
YUP, I have heard them all, but I heard that last one by my very own MOTHER not long ago. I don’t breakdown every day. My overall parenting to my living children now is not suffering from the loss I had years ago. Instead we incorporate my lost son into our other children’s lives. I do recommend this, honestly. It helps me a lot. We speak of him, we celebrate his birthday and let balloons go then and on the anniversary of his passing, as it helps me heal and deal with that painful day. I do what I do to remember him and celebrate his life instead of constantly mourning his loss. It is the way I know he would want it to be, and everybody is involved.
My little ones never met their eldest brother, but they love him a lot. It took a long while to get to this point. My mom thinks that is morbid and wrong, and I think that’s being real and they love and talk about their brother. We say prayers to him. They know he’s an angel, and I would never go back and do anything differently if I could. You do what you do FOR YOU and YOUR family. Don’t let anybody else try to call the shots or say what is right or wrong 👿 .
No parent is EVER going to ‘get over it’ so DO NOT say it please. It could be 1 year or 80 years gone by, but the loss of a child is the most painful, traumatic loss out of any loss that there is. Remember that when you speak please. Sometimes people don’t know what to say so these things just come out. Please know that words can be very hurtful and damaging to a grieving mother (and father to). It may cause tears, anger or both. That should be the last thing you are wishing to do.. cause further pain.
If you are close to a person in pain, please give her ample time to deal with the situation as best that she can, start to heal, somehow start learning how to live her life again, and just be supportive all of the while. Not for any set amount of time. Grieving is a process, but it never truly ends. We simply learn again how to survive and to function, while taking teeny baby steps along the way. You can just say, ”If you need any help with the kids, the house, someone to talk to — anything.. I am here for you.”
And do know (and it isn’t you) that for time a grieving parent may clam up and shut out family and friends for awhile. Some immediately need that support around them, while some wish to be left completely alone. Sometimes we need a little bit of both. We all react in different ways, but if she needs space, give it to her. If she needs you, make yourself available to her. It’s a loss you can never imagine experiencing, and one that none of us moms would ever wish upon our very worst enemy.
Thanks for stopping by! And always remember that true love never dies!
(And that it is not only OK, but it is healthy for you to cry!)
”This mortal world is for only a moment, but in heaven we’ll reunite our hands for an eternity. We will never be forced to let go – not ever again.” – Mama P.