Tears are the silent language of grief. -Voltaire
Last week I spent five wonderful and intense days with my three brainstorming buddies here at Chautauqua, NY.
Our sessions were fruitful with ideas — some of them pure gems and others more hair-brained — flying all over the room. In between we ate delicious meals together, took walks, and just sat around and talked. The informal sharing of our lives was perhaps the best part of the week. Much of it was gossip about the writing world, as well as superficial fluff about the movies or television programs we’ve seen.
But, as we always do, we eased into deeper waters, telling each other about some of the most critical parts of our lives: loves, family, death. All of our hearts have been broken by the loss of loved ones. We talked about the pain but more importantly how we managed in cope when the pain was so great.
I mentioned to my friends an article I read recently, What To Do When Your Friend Loses A Baby. Many of us have lost a baby ourselves or lost a pregnancy, and we know how agonizing it can be. Most of us also know others who have lost a baby. But we can still get tongue-tied when it comes to knowing how to comfort someone who has gone through this nightmare. In our attempt to help, we’re afraid we may say the wrong words and cause pain rather than bring healing.
I do hope you’ll read the article, but here are some of the main points:
- Always say something. Don’t let fear keep you from reaching out in some way to the person who is suffering.
- Say the name of the child so that the mother will know that this was a very special person. Also, ask to see pictures of the child.
- Instead of asking, “Is there anything I can do?”, offer specific help, such as cooking a meal or washing clothes or taking your friend to lunch.
- Honor her baby publicly, such as in church or on Facebook.
There are other suggestions in the article as well, and keep in mind that these ideas can help with other losses as well. And always remember that a hug is one of the best healers of all.