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Sunday, November 13, 2011

Things You Should Never Say to a Grieving Mother

   I am redoing this post because I may have hurt people's feelings with the original post, and that was not my intention. So, let me clear-up a few things before I start. I mentioned that ministers and people that were trained professionals said some really hurtful comments. What I meant by mentioning that was this: don't expect ministers to always know the right thing to say, just because they went to school doesn't mean they know how to deal with every situation. Lots of mothers that experienced a loss like I did have stopped going to church because a minister hurt their feelings by saying something that hurt them. I would never want someone to stop going to church, my Sunday School group really helped me heal after the boys died, and they are still a place of strength and support for me. All the people that said things to me that hurt my feelings had good intentions, they were trying to comfort me. The point of this is to help people in the future if they run across someone going through a loss like this. I can't tell you how therapuetic this blog is for me, it is as if when I write these things down, I am releasing all the anger, pain, and sadness that I have been holding on to for the past two years. The two year anniversary just passed, I can't believe it has been that long, I still cry in the shower for them, that is my safe place to grieve.
     There are five things that really stuck out to me that hurt my heart.

 1.  "Babies die every day, get over it." More than one person said this where I could hear, or said it to me, or they said just one half of this quote. They would remind me that babies die all the time, or they would tell me I needed to get over it. When I would hear this, I would think that yes babies do die every day, but not my babies. I have never experienced something like this and I was trying to move forward, I don't know if I will ever "get over it." I would never tell a grieving child that "mothers die everyday," because even if the mother they were grieving for was 100 years old, it is still that person's mother. We never want to lose the ones we love. Death is hard, period.
 2.  "If you were a good Christian, you would be happy your babies were dead and with Jesus," I really don't think this comment needs much explanation, but I believe all Christians to be good. I would challenge that person to switch places with me and lose their children, then they could tell me if they were happy. I know that this experience helped bring me closer to Jesus and treat Him like He really was my father. I finally had strong emotions towards Him and I talk to Jesus so much more now. I will never say I am HAPPY my babies died, it would be a lie.
 3. "You are so lucky, you have two little angels in heaven looking out for you."  Now, I honestly know that these people were being very kind to me, but I wanted my babies and still want my babies here on earth, not flapping around somewhere in the heavens. I never felt lucky that they died, it still brings me great sadness. I never really knew what to say to someone that said that to me. I would just remind myself that I might have said this same statement before my babies died.
 4. "This is all part of God's great plan for you."  I know that God has His plan and that He knew when I was in my mother's womb what would happen, however, these words brought me NO comfort. If I wasn't a believer, I am afraid these words would have pushed me away from Him. Once again, I must say that I knew people were trying to be nice, so I wouldn't get mad at the person, but it would actually make me a little madder at God. I would constantly talk to Him about His plan for me. What else did He have in store for me? At the time, I only believed there would be more pain in my future. At the time, it was really hard to find the "silver lining."
 5. "Trina, I am so SORRY." For me, this phrase made me very uncomfortable because the natural response to this phrase is, "it's okay," but it wasn't okay. I usually thought in my head, "why are you sorry?" I didn't understand why this had happened, and the only person I wanted to hear "I'm sorry," from was God. I needed Him to tell me that He was sorry. I know that God is not sorry and even now I can see how He was laying out the framework for my future, but I was hurting so much. Now, I never tell anyone that has lost someone that I am sorry. I tell them that I hurt for them and that I am praying for them, especially for healing of their heart.

    While there were lots of things that hurt my feelings, there were also lots of wonderful, thoughtful things done for us. We received tons of homemade meals. Paul's Aunt Celinda made us several meals after the funeral and then all the time during my pregnancy with Thomas. Paul's sister also cooked a few meals for us to help me out. One person in particular that touched my heart was Ann Fillipinni, I think the spelling is right! She is my Aunt Kay's boss and the leader of the Mother's Day Out Program at First Presbyterian Church where Thomas now attends. She made us a meal and gave me the sweetest card. She never had even met me, but she had heard through my aunt and felt the need to reach out to me. I told her when I signed Thomas up for her program that I wanted him to be around people like her that did such a great job of sharing the love of Jesus with others.
    My cousin that I talk about all the time Karen has a wonderful boyfriend, Neill. Neill is a doctor and always helps to explain things to me on my level and explain why a doctor might order certain tests, especially when I start getting scared. Neill was at the hospital all the time during the boys birth and short life. He helped me with so many questions and I kept thinking how lucky his patients are when they have to receive bad news because Neill is so kind-hearted and he really cares for people. He is very gentle and soft, yet he is a man's man at the same time. He has experienced two significant losses in his life as well. It was like, he understood me and he just stayed close. He came over almost every day with my cousin and he would just sit with me. He knew I didn't need to be alone. He knew that when I was alone, those bad thoughts starting creeping in and the crying would become uncontrollable. He sang my favorite worship song at the funeral. He sang it so beautifully, I hugged him for a long time after that song, he touched my heart. I am so glad that he uses the gifts that God gave him to help others. He is one of those people that is good at everything he does. I am thankful that my cousin picked such a wonderful man to bring into our lives. I still remember when she told me in her giddy little voice "I met the hottest guy at work, he is a doctor and he plays the piano, I think I really like him." He has made my cousin a better person and I believe she has made him a better person. I love them both and can't wait for them to get married and have lots of babies. They are going to be so smart and talented, and really cute. My cousin is already a great "mom" to all of our kids, so it will be a breeze for her to mother her own babies.
     The only advice I can give to you when dealing with grieving mothers is this, it is what my Momma taught me my whole life: Put yourself in their shoes and then decide if what you may say or do would hurt your feelings. Thanks for reading, I enjoy running into people that tell me they are reading my blog, this blog has helped my healing so much.

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