You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
You have recorded each one in your book.
What do I say?People often do not know what to say when someone is hurting, especially when the hurt comes from a death. When I was 18, my dad left our family, when I was 32 my mom died of cancer. I didn't know how to share these events with others, and if and when I did, responses ranged from sympathetic, to downright insensitive.
This has also been true with the diagnosis news of Kristin's baby. People have said some very strange and insensitive things to us (the grandparents). I'm known for being blunt and putting my foot in my mouth and I've probably said some things that are hurtful too. But, rather than focus on the hurtful comments, I will focus mostly on the various responses that have touched my heart and given me comfort during this time.
Friends indeed...It's very difficult to tell people this news. I told everyone at my work that I was going to join the ranks of those who are grandmas. That was the last day of school, and since then there has been the diagnosis. Since no one was at work at that time, I had to call my friends and let them know the news. Here are some of the responses that deeply touched my heart...
- One of the first friends I called could tell something was wrong from my voice. When I told her the news, all she could say was she was sorry, and she started crying with me. I was deeply touched and felt deeply loved. She was living the truth of a verse in 1 Corinthians 12 which says, "If one member suffers, all the other members suffer with it."
- Another best friend at work just had her first grand baby. When I called to congratulate her and tell her how beautiful the baby was she asked, "Is it ok that I talk about her? Does it hurt you or bother you that I have a grandchild?" How very sensitive, to think of me and my pain and want to help to ease the burden. (So far, it's not difficult when others have grandchildren. I want to rejoice with them!)
- Another friend at work said, "I can't imagine what you are going through. I tend to talk too much, so if I do tell me to be quiet and if you just need a hug come and tell me and I will give you a hug." Again, so compassionate. I have tears in my eyes while I'm writing this just knowing God has surrounded me with people who will care for me this year.
- A friend from church: This wonderful lady lost 2 children when she was young. She doesn't talk much about her loss and seems to have an amazing perspective of this since she is now retired and a grandmother herself. She told me she was thankful that she had the experience of being pregnant and feeling life grow inside of her. It is a comfort to see someone who has experienced such great loss be able to focus on the blessings amidst the loss. Those words give me hope.
- I clicked with a new gal from church over quilting. Since the diagnosis she has shared with me that she lost a baby. She is a great listener and a very kind and sensitive person. I thank God that he sent her to live in Maryland.
- Some other random people that have been kind were the manager of our house (as a side note, we just found out we have to move because the owners want to sell). We asked the manager for one more month to get it together, explained why we were in California, and then he softened. He and his wife also carried a baby to term with a fatal diagnosis. So he knows personally the pain we are talking about. Another random person was a jeweler we know. His son also lost his first born and he looked at us with such compassion and just said, "I'm so sorry. I know how difficult this is."
I am discovering that as I face this that a hug or simple words like, "I'm so sorry," are enough. That helps me to know you are thinking of me and especially thinking of Kristin and Glenn. Also, if I say I'm having a hard day, just leave it at that. That is my way of saying, I can't really cope with this emotionally today so just let me get my work done without really thinking.
Just two things of what not to say: (and I have been guilty of this, so I speak from experience.) Please don't tell me (and especially don't tell Kristin and Glenn if you know them) about someone else who had it much harder because their baby... You know what I mean, stories that are even sadder. It only increases the pain, and it doesn't acknowledge the pain that we are facing at this moment. Also, don't say, "I know someone who...and they have 3 healthy children now." I know those words are meant to be hopeful, but they again don't acknowledge the importance of this baby's life right now and how much we want to love and cherish every moment possible.
As I close, I'm including 2 links below. One is an article I read that gives great ideas on how to help those who are hurting. The other is Kristin's blog. Thanks for reading, thanks for caring.
Comforting hurting people