Since the loss of my son I have had many people try to "make things better" by giving me their theology, "kind" words, and sometimes just not realizing they didn't need to say anything. After talking to many other child/baby loss parents I realized that I wasn't alone in this problem. So, this is for anyone who ever wants to be a real blessing to other parents who will lose a baby/child.
I never have blamed my God for "taking" my Boaz. Could he have prevented it, yes I definitely believe that. Am I mad because he didn't? If I was I would have to be mad about a few other things too.
When God created us he gave us a free will to chose to do what we want. Right or wrong, helpful or hurtful. Over several thousands of years we have been making these choices, resulting in some problems on this earth. Pollution, poor eating r exercise habits, even "conveniences" such as microwaves and cars present a problem. How can we after generation after generation of such expect God to keep our bodies (or our children's) perfectly healthy when we have been using our own free will to ruin His creation since time began? We cannot have God's complete protection AND have our own will also, the two are incompatible! Is my God unmerciful because he doesn't override the evil in this world to prove to us He can? NO! Why did God give us a will of our own in the first place? Because he desires our fellowship, not because we have to, but because we also desire His fellowship. He gave us a free will so that he could have the pleasure of us choosing Him when we didn't have to.
Then there is the question that has been posed to me before...Why did Boaz have to die? He has "good" loving parents that take good care of him, yet there are children with horrible parents and they get to keep their babies. I agree in our human minds that's a hard one to swallow. I loved my son, I did everything I could for him. And I'd have done anything to keep him. But I never felt like I "deserved" to keep him while someone else didn't. Don't mistake that for the thought that I'm okay with it. I guess it's possible for someone to bury their true feelings so deeply that you may not realize they miss their child. But I have never met anyone at all who did not miss their child and long to have them back. In fact normally if I met someone and it has been 15+ years the only way for me to know is if they tell me. The way they talk about missing their child is so vivid and the grief is so strong that it seems it must have been recent, and I am learning that's the way grief is.
If you want to help someone who has lost a child there are some things you shouldn't do:
1. Never, ever tell them you know how they feel if you haven't lost a child, because I promise you have absolutely NO idea what they are going through. It doesn't matter if you've lost your parent, sibling, or best friend. You do NOT know how they feel.
2. Do not tell them they didn't "lose" their child because after all their child is in Heaven and if you know where something's at it isn't lost. They are having a hard time breathing at the moment! If you care then understand that you can not understand.
3. Do not decide how they should grieve. Not how deeply, or how long, or how publicly. It has been three years since my boy passed.... The other night as my boys were kissing me goodnight (at least the youngest ones) as the youngest left I felt an intense sense of missing...there should've been one more running in to kiss me, giggling as he did, and saying, "I love you too mommy"..but there wasn't. My soul ached and my eyes teared up. My arms never get that privilege again. I could see his shining eyes and infectious smile as he would have hugged me..and his beautiful blond hair and bouncy tripping step as he raced out after the others. But it will not be...
I am not depressed, I am mourning. Mourning the loss of my child's life, hopes & dreams, events and milestones we would have shared.
4. Do not tell me "at least you still have __ children". I personally have seven children living. When Boaz first passed my house was SO empty! I let the children have friends over all of the time just as I always had, but that house was still too empty. It doesn't matter what you think, it matters how I feel. You can't know, your children are still alive.
5. Do not tell me it will get better. If the grief is fresh then believe me I do not want it to get better. If its been a little while I have realized it probably isn't going to get better. But since you have never been there, chances are you have no idea what "better" means in this situation.
We know you're just trying to help, but take it from someone who's been there, it's not helpful. It only makes us see you in a different light...uncompassionate. Even an animal can sense when to have compassion, so when people don't it isn't that they don't know how, it's more of they won't. We can see that it takes too much effort and you know SO much that you've lost the ability. Compassion is not puffed up. It's okay with us if you don't understand how we feel or if you don't have the right words to say. Just listening is sometimes a blessed thing.
Still if you have lost a child and do not feel this way, understand that everyone grieves differently and that's okay. Some of you are grieving your pet you had to put down a month ago, forgive me if I don't see the comparison. People are complex, grieving can not be defined in your textbook, it's not four easy steps...it's a lifetime process. I WILL NEVER BE THE SAME. Every day there is something vital missing from my day. At every event there is one person missing out...and that missing is felt deeply by all of us. Every once in a while while we are doing something special one of the boys will remark, "Boaz would have liked that" or "Boaz would have laughed his head off". It hurts that they are missing him too, but it is so nice to know they remember him...that is comforting and I smile as the tears form in my eyes.
If you truly want to be a friend and want to help there are a few things you can do.
1. Listen without judging. Let them talk about their child, even if they only carried the child in their womb they had hopes and dreams for their child. Their feelings are real and normal.
2. Offer to do things for them, or just do something for them without asking. Take their other children for a few hours. Cook dinner and drop it by. Wash their clothes.
3. If you want to have a better idea of how they feel and what they are going through get a few books written by people who have lost a child and read them. Find a few blogs written by parents who have lost children and read them starting a little before they lost their child to present.
4. If they chose to confide in you and tell you how they feel, keep it to yourself. If they didn't broadcast it chances are they didn't want to. Realize they felt intimate enough with you to bear their heart. Respect that and realize it is a thing to be valued.
5. Realize that you understanding their grief is not what is needed to validate their feelings. Their feelings are valid, however off they seem to you.
I realize occasionally people quit living when their child dies. Quit judging every child loss parent by this. Realize it's not your job to correct them. If you want to continue to be a friend...refer to the above article.
6 months ago